Frederick Reginald Ironside (born February 12, 1950), known professionally as Michael Ironside, is a Canadian actor, voice artist, and filmmaker. A prominent character actor with over 270 film and television credits, he is known for playing villains and antiheroes, but has also portrayed sympathetic characters. He is best known for his roles in action and science fiction films, and had his breakthrough performance in the 1981 David Cronenberg film Scanners.

Michael Ironside
Ironside in November 2009
Frederick Reginald Ironside

(1950-02-12) February 12, 1950 (age 74)
Alma materOntario College of Art
  • Actor
  • filmmaker
Years active1977–present
Karen Dinwiddie
(m. 1986)

Ironside's other notable roles include Overdog in Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), "Jester" in Top Gun (1986), Richter in Total Recall (1990), and Rasczak in Starship Troopers (1997). His signature deep voice has been lent to various video games and animated television shows, most notably as Sam Fisher in the Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell franchise.

He is a four-time Gemini Award, a Genie Award, and a Canadian Film Award nominee.

Early life


Frederick Reginald Ironside was born in Toronto on February 12, 1950, the son of housewife Patricia June (née Passmore) and street lighting technician Robert Walter Ironside.[1] He has four siblings and is of English, Irish, and Scottish descent.[2] He attended the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. At age 15, he wrote a play called The Shelter, which won first prize in a university contest.[3] He also won the senior year writing award at Riverdale Collegiate Institute in 1968.[4]



One of Ironside's first roles was 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 the slasher film Visiting Hours (1982) and appeared in 1983 as Miler Crane in The A-Team episode "Taxicab Wars" as well as Overdog McNab in Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone.

Ironside's breakthrough role was as cynical antihero Ham Tyler in the television miniseries V: The Final Battle and its following 19-episode series (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 ER's 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 1993, he played Dial, the main antagonist of Free Willy. In 1994, Ironside starred as Luck Hatcher in the western Dead Man's Revenge. In 1995, Ironside had a brief cameo as Lt. Col. Stone in Major Payne. 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 disabled man. Ironside starred as Resistance General Hugh Ashdown in Terminator Salvation, reunited with his co-star from The Machinist, Christian Bale.[5] In 2003, Ironside guest starred in season 3 episode 20 ("Twilight of the Idols") of Andromeda.

Ironside voiced comic book villain Darkseid in the DC Animated Universe, including Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. He later reprised the role in the 2018 video game Lego DC Supervillains and the 2020 DC Universe/HBO Max web series Harley Quinn. 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.

Ironside has worked in video games as the voice of character Sam Fisher in the Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell games and Jack Granger in Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. He signed a five-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 the TV series Walker, Texas Ranger as 'The Chairman'.

In 2015, he appeared in the television series The Flash as Lewis Snart, the father of Captain Cold. Also in 2015, he starred as the main villain Zeus in the cult hit film Turbo Kid.

In 2016, he portrayed General Douglas MacArthur in the 4-part miniseries Tokyo Trial.

In 2018, he played J. P. Morgan in 4 episodes of TNT's The Alienist.

In 2021, he portrayed Eddie Williams, the father-in-law and boss of Hutch Mansell in the film, Nobody.

In 2022, he played Don Lucas in the Hulu miniseries The Dropout.

Personal life


Ironside married Karen Dinwiddie in 1986. They have one daughter together (born 1998) and he has another daughter from a previous marriage.[1][7]

Ironside has survived cancer of the bowel, prostate, and thyroid.[8]




  1. ^ a b "Michael Ironside". Canadian Actors Info. Archived from the original on December 28, 2005. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  2. ^ Allis, Tim (July 16, 1990). "A Face You Can't Totally Recall? Bad Guy Michael Ironside Chased Arnold Schwarzenegger to Mars". People. Vol. 34, no. 2. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "Michael Ironside Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Michael Ironside_1968_Grade_11_Poem2.jpg by Rainer Bessel". PBase. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  5. ^ a b c Tinnin, Drew (January 26, 2015). "Exclusive: Michael Ironside Talks Turbo Kid". Dread Central.
  6. ^ Fowler, Matt (June 2, 2010). "Burn Notice: "Friends and Enemies" Review". IGN. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  7. ^ "Michael Ironside Acteur, Interprète" [Michael Ironside Actor, Performer]. Première (in French). Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  8. ^ Ironside, Michael (April 13, 2018). "Ghost Recon Wildlands: Michael Ironside Talks Splinter Cell Crossover | UbiBlog | Ubisoft [NA]". Ubisoft (Interview). Interviewed by Chris Watters. YouTube. Retrieved April 14, 2018.