Who Is Kiefer Sutherland?

Kiefer Sutherland was born on December 21, 1966, in London, England, to famed actor Donald Sutherland. He quickly rose to fame in the 1980s via his roles in acclaimed films like Stand by Me, The Lost Boys and Young Guns, before enjoying more success with Flatliners, A Few Good Men and The Three Musketeers. Sutherland later made his mark on television in the role of Jack Bauer on the immensely popular espionage drama 24. Along with starring on TV shows like Touch and Designated Survivor in recent years, Sutherland has released a pair of country music albums.

Early Life

Kiefer Sutherland was born Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland on December 21, 1966, in London, England. Kiefer and his twin sister, Rachel, were born to acting parents Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas, who divorced in 1971. After the divorce, Kiefer and his mother moved from their home in Los Angeles to Toronto, where he attended Catholic boarding school until he was 15.

Films & TV Shows

'Stand by Me,' 'The Lost Boys'

Sutherland's interest in acting took him to the stage at an early age, in a production of Throne of Strow. In 1983, he appeared in his first feature film, Max Dugan Returns, alongside his father. He went on to star in coming-of-age films like The Bay Boy (1985), Rob Reiner's Stand by Me and the vampire thriller The Lost Boys (1987), before joining Emilio Estevez, Charlie Sheen and others in the popular western Young Guns (1988). Around this time, Sutherland founded Stillwater Productions, named after a river that ran through his Montana ranch.

'Flatliners,' 'A Few Good Men'

In 1990, Sutherland earned national attention for his role in Flatliners, a psychodrama co-starring Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin and Julia Roberts. After clashing with Tom Cruise in the blockbuster A Few Good Men (1992), he headlined the big-name ensemble cast of The Three Musketeers (1993). That same year, he made his directorial debut with the television drama Last Light, in which he also starred as a prison inmate.

'Dark City, 'Ground Control'

The late 1990s showcased Sutherland's preference for dark, intensely psychological scripts. In 1997, he starred in the modern film noir The Last Days of Frankie the Fly and the science fiction-mystery film Dark City. He released his second self-directed TV movie, Woman Wanted, in 1999, and also starred in that year's thriller Ground Control. Sutherland then shifted gears in 2000 for Picking Up the Pieces, a satirical comedy infused with screwball humor.

Playing Jack Bauer in '24'

In 2001, Sutherland began his celebrated run as counter-terrorism agent Jack Bauer on the hit series 24. The show quickly became must-see TV, leading to Emmy and Golden Globe wins for its lead actor. Following several acclaimed seasons, Sutherland returned as Jack Bauer in the made-for-television movie 24: Redemption, in November 2008. The show's seventh season aired in 2009 and continued on for two more seasons, becoming the longest running American espionage drama in TV history. Not being able to turn away from the success of 24, Fox announced in 2013 that it would return in limited-series form as 24: Live Another Day. The series aired in 2014 to rave reviews.

'Touch,' 'Designated Survivor'

Sutherland pivoted to a new TV role with the 2012 launch of Touch, his character of Martin Bohm discovering the unusual powers of his special-needs son. The show fizzled out after two seasons, but Sutherland returned to the small screen in 2016 with Designated Survivor. At the beginning of the series, his character of Thomas Kirkman, the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, gets pushed into the presidency when an attack kills the sitting president and Congress during a State of the Union address. After airing on ABC for two seasons, Designated Survivor was picked up by Netflix for season 3 in 2019, but was not renewed for a fourth season.


After more than three decades of screen roles, Sutherland began devoting more energy to his musical interests. He released his first album, the country-flavored Down in a Hole, through his Ironworks label in August 2016. The artist followed with a second country album, Reckless & Me, in April 2019.

Relationships, Children & Personal

In 2017, Sutherland became engaged to his actress/model girlfriend Cindy Vela.

From 1987 to 1990, the actor was married to Camelia Kath, with whom he had a daughter, Sarah Jude. Afterward, he was famously engaged to Julia Roberts, but the couple never married. Sutherland then tied the knot with Kelly Winn in 1996; the couple separated in 1999, and Kiefer officially filed for divorce in 2004. In 2008, the divorce was finalized.

In September 2007, Sutherland was arrested in West Los Angeles after making an illegal U-turn and failing a field sobriety test. Already on probation for a 2004 drunken driving arrest, he pleaded no contest and served 48 days in jail.

Sutherland fell on the steps of a bus while touring Europe to promote Reckless & Me in summer 2019, resulting in a rib injury that forced him to cancel the remainder of his tour.


  • Name: Kiefer Sutherland
  • Birth Year: 1966
  • Birth date: December 21, 1966
  • Birth City: London
  • Birth Country: England
  • Gender: Male
  • Best Known For: Actor Kiefer Sutherland, son of Donald Sutherland, rose to fame via films like 'Stand by Me,' 'The Lost Boys' and 'Flatliners.' He later starred on the long-running TV series '24.'
  • Industries
    • Drama
    • Television
    • Comedy
  • Astrological Sign: Sagittarius

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  • Article Title: Kiefer Sutherland Biography
  • Author: Biography.com Editors
  • Website Name: The Biography.com website
  • Url: https://www.biography.com/actors/kiefer-sutherland
  • Access Date:
  • Publisher: A&E; Television Networks
  • Last Updated: August 19, 2019
  • Original Published Date: April 2, 2014