Michael Ironside

Michael Ironside

Ironside in December 2009
Born Frederick Reginald Ironside
(1950-02-12) February 12, 1950
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Occupation Actor, voice actor, producer, screenwriter, director, editor, playwright
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Karen Dinwiddie (m. 1986)

Frederick Reginald Ironside (born February 12, 1950) is a Canadian actor best known by his stage name Michael Ironside. He has also worked as a voice actor, producer, film director, and screenwriter in movie and television series in various Canadian and American productions. He is best known for playing villains and "tough guy" heroes, though he has also portrayed sympathetic characters. Ironside is a method actor, who stays in character between filming scenes.[1]

Early life

Ironside was born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Robert Walter Ironside and Patricia June (Passmore). His father was a street lighting technician and laborer[2] and his mother a housewife. He is of English, Irish and Scottish descent, and is one of five children.[3] Ironside attended the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and at age fifteen wrote a play, The Shelter, which won the first prize in a university contest.[4] He also won the Senior writing award at Riverdale Collegiate Institute in 1967.

In a January 2010 interview, Ironside stated in response to a question about his many roles in science fiction films that he has always been a big fan of science fiction and often received science fiction short story collections from his grandfather that he kept in a shoebox under his bed. He stated that his favourite science fiction novels are Dune by Frank Herbert and "anything involving adventure."


Ironside specializes in playing villains and tough-guys. One of his first roles was a memorable turn as evil telepath Darryl Revok in Scanners (1981), an early film by David Cronenberg. He played the role of a serial killer (Colt Hawker) in a 1982 slasher film directed by Jean-Claude Lord called Visiting Hours. He appeared as "Miler Crane" in The A-Team episode "Taxicab Wars" (1983). His breakthrough role was as cynical anti-hero Ham Tyler in the television miniseries V: The Final Battle (1984). He is also known for his roles in Top Gun (1986) as Naval Aviator Lieutenant Commander Rick 'Jester' Heatherly, Extreme Prejudice (1987) as Major Paul Hackett, Watchers (1988) as a conscience-free mutant assassin, and Total Recall (1990) as Richter, the murderous henchman of Ronny Cox's villain Cohaagen. Ironside played the villainous General Katana in the science fiction sequel Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) and, after a brief stint in ERs inaugural season, he was tapped to replace Roy Scheider as captain of the high-tech submarine seaQuest in the third season of seaQuest DSV as Captain Oliver Hudson. However, NBC cancelled the series after only thirteen episodes with Ironside as the star. In 1992, he starred as M. Emmet Walsh's brother in David Winning's thriller Killer Image. In 1997, Ironside was reunited with Total Recall director Paul Verhoeven for Starship Troopers. He appeared in The Perfect Storm (2000) and The Machinist (2004). He starred in the film Chaindance as a small-time crook, unable to make it on the outside, who was paired up with a handicapped man. Ironside recently starred as Resistance General Ashdown in Terminator Salvation, reunited with his co-star from The Machinist, Christian Bale.[5]

Ironside has also been recognized for his voice acting. He voiced comic book villain Darkseid in Superman: The Animated Series and its sequel, Justice League, to great accolade. In one episode of The New Batman Adventures, he voiced Batman in a Batman: The Dark Knight Returns sequence. Another part he played in the DC Comics universe was Lois Lane's father, General Sam Lane in three episodes of Smallville.

He has worked in video games as the voice of Tom Clancy's character Sam Fisher in the Splinter Cell games and is cast as the Global Defense Initiative's Lieutenant General Jack Granger in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. Ironside signed a 5-year deal to portray Captain Jonas Trager in the SpaceWorks Television science fiction series, Ice Planet but the show was not produced.

In 2009, he starred in The Beacon under the direction of Michael Stokes.[5]

In 2010, Ironside guest starred in Season 4, Episode 1 ("Friends and Enemies") of Burn Notice.[6]

In 2011, Ironside appeared in the film: X-Men: First Class, playing the Captain of the 7th Fleet. He appeared in Justified playing a supporting role as a Detroit hitman the following year. He also voiced the role of Ultra Magnus in season 3 of the Transformers Prime Beast Hunters television series in 2013.[5]

Ironside appeared in Walker, Texas Ranger as Nolan 'The Chairman' Pierce whose plan was to eliminate high level agencies such as the FBI, Texas Rangers, etc.

In 2015 he appeared in the acclaimed television series The Flash as Lewis Snart, the father of Captain Cold.

He is also making a guest appearance on a new internet anthology series called The Encounter on Christian movie website called the Encounter. He plays a judge who never shows any mercy who gives everyone who comes in front of him the maximum sentence. This airs on Pure Flix

Personal life

Ironside is married to Karen Marls Dinwiddie. Michael and Karen have two daughters: Adrienne Lynn Ironside (from Ironside's previous marriage) and Findlay Ironside (born 1998).

He has twice survived cancer – thyroid, then prostate.



  1. Brendan Frye (20 April 2010). "Michael Ironside talks Splinter Cell". Comic Gaming Magazine. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  2. "Michael Ironside". Canadianactors.info. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  3. Allis, Tim. "A Face You Can't Totally Recall? Bad Guy Michael Ironside Chased Arnold Schwarzenegger to Mars". People.com. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  4. "Michael Ironside Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  5. 1 2 3 "Exclusive: Michael Ironside Talks Turbo Kid". IGN. 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  6. "Burn Notice: "Friends and Enemies" Review". IGN. 2010-06-02. Retrieved 2014-01-16.

External links

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