Kiefer Sutherland facts: Actor's age, family, wife, children, movies and career explained

24 June 2024, 12:55

Kiefer Sutherland in 2020
Kiefer Sutherland in 2020. Picture: Getty

By Tom Owen

Kiefer Sutherland is one of Hollywood's greatest TV actors of the 21st century.

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Born into a family of acting royalty, he has established himself as a force to be reckoned with, delivering powerful performances in both film and television.

From his early days in iconic 80s classics like Stand By Me and The Lost Boys to his groundbreaking role as Jack Bauer in the hit series 24, Sutherland's contributions to the entertainment industry are both significant and diverse.

Beyond acting, his talents extend to music and directing, showcasing his multifaceted artistry and dedication to his craft.

  1. How old is Kiefer Sutherland and who are his parents?

    Kiefer Sutherland and his mother Shirley Douglas in 2005
    Kiefer Sutherland and his mother Shirley Douglas in 2005. Picture: Alamy

    Kiefer Sutherland was born on December 21, 1966, in London, which makes him 57 years old as of 2023.

    He is the son of two renowned actors, Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas.

    Actor Kiefer Sutherland was Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with father Donald, in 2008
    Actor Kiefer Sutherland was Honored with Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with father Donald, in 2008. Picture: Getty

    Kiefer has a twin sister named Rachel Sutherland, who works as a post-production supervisor in the film industry.

    His mother Shirley passed away in 2020, while his father Donald died aged 88 in 2024. His parents were married from 1966 to 1970.

    Kiefer also has several half-siblings from his father's other relationships. His half-brothers are Rossif Sutherland, Angus Sutherland, and Roeg Sutherland. Rossif and Angus are both actors, while Roeg works in the film industry as well. These siblings are from Donald Sutherland's marriage to French Canadian actress Francine Racette.

    He is also a half-brother of Thomas Emil Sicks, who was born to Shirley and her first husband Timothy Emil Sicks.

  2. How did he get his start in acting?

    Kiefer Sutherland in 1986
    Kiefer Sutherland in 1986. Picture: Getty

    Kiefer Sutherland got his start in acting during his teenage years, influenced by his family's strong ties to the entertainment industry.

    He made his film debut in 1983 with a small role in Max Dugan Returns, a movie directed by Herbert Ross and starring his father, Donald Sutherland.

    However, his breakthrough came in 1984 when he landed a significant role in the Canadian film The Bay Boy, directed by Daniel Petrie. His performance earned him critical acclaim and a Genie Award nomination, establishing him as a promising young actor.

    This early success paved the way for his prominent roles in iconic 80s films such as Stand By Me and The Lost Boys, setting the stage for his enduring career in Hollywood.

  3. What are his most famous roles in TV and film?

    Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24
    Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer in 24. Picture: Alamy

    His most famous TV role is as Jack Bauer in the action-packed series 24, which ran from 2001 to 2010 and was revived for a limited series in 2014.

    His portrayal of the relentless and resourceful counter-terrorism agent earned him widespread acclaim, including an Emmy Award, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

    In 2016, he starred in the TV series Designated Survivor as Tom Kirkman, a low-level cabinet member who becomes President of the United States after an attack kills everyone ahead of him in the line of succession.

    In film, Sutherland's notable roles include:

    1. Stand By Me (1986) - He played Ace Merrill, a menacing bully in this coming-of-age classic directed by Rob Reiner.

    2. The Lost Boys (1987) - He starred as David, the charismatic leader of a gang of vampires in this cult horror film.

    Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys
    Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys. Picture: Alamy

    3. Young Guns (1988) and its sequel Young Guns II (1990) - Sutherland portrayed Josiah Gordon "Doc" Scurlock, a member of Billy the Kid's gang in these popular Westerns.

    4. A Few Good Men (1992) - He took on the role of Lt. Jonathan Kendrick, a strict and morally rigid Marine officer in this legal drama starring Tom Cruise.

    5. Flatliners (1990) - He played Nelson Wright, a medical student experimenting with near-death experiences in this sci-fi thriller.

    6. Phone Booth (2002) - Sutherland played the mysterious and menacing caller who traps Colin Farrell’s character in a phone booth.

    7. Dark City (1998) - He starred as Dr. Daniel Schreber, a pivotal character in this science fiction noir film directed by Alex Proyas.

    8. A Time to Kill (1996) - He portrayed Freddie Lee Cobb, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, in this courtroom drama based on John Grisham’s novel.

    9. The Three Musketeers (1993) - Sutherland played Athos, one of the titular musketeers, in this action-adventure film.

  4. Who is Kiefer Sutherland's wife and does he have kids?

    Kiefer and ex-wife Camelia in 1988
    Kiefer and ex-wife Camelia in 1988. Picture: Getty

    Kiefer Sutherland was previously married to Camelia Kath from 1987 to 1990, and they have a daughter named Sarah Sutherland, born in 1988.

    Sarah Sutherland is an actress known for her role as Catherine Meyer in the television series Veep.

    Kiefer's daughter Sarah Sutherland in 2016
    Kiefer's daughter Sarah Sutherland in 2016. Picture: Alamy
    Julia Roberts & Kiefer Sutherland in 1990
    Julia Roberts & Kiefer Sutherland in 1990. Picture: Getty

    Kiefer was also engaged to Julia Roberts in the early 1990s, but the engagement was called off just days before the wedding.

    Later, he married Kelly Winn in 1996, but they separated in 1999 and divorced in 2004.

    He began dating model and actress Cindy Vela in 2014, and they became engaged in 2017.

    Kiefer Sutherland and partner Cindy Vela in 2024
    Kiefer Sutherland and partner Cindy Vela in 2024. Picture: Getty
  5. Is Kiefer Sutherland also a singer?

    Kiefer Sutherland - Something You Love (Official Video)

    Yes, Kiefer Sutherland is also a singer and musician!

    He launched his music career in the mid-2010s and has released several albums. His debut album, Down in a Hole, came out in 2016 and features a blend of country and rock music.

    Following this, he released his second album, Reckless & Me, in 2019, which received positive reviews for its heartfelt lyrics and authentic sound.

    Sutherland has toured extensively to promote his music, showcasing his talent as a singer-songwriter and adding another dimension to his artistic career.