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Sullivan Stapleton (born 14 June 1977)[1] is an Australian actor who is best known for his roles in the SKY (BSkyB)/Cinemax/HBO television series Strike Back, Animal Kingdom and 300: Rise of an Empire. He is currently starring in the NBC crime drama Blindspot which premiered on September 21, 2015.

Sullivan Stapleton
Sullivan Stapleton by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Stapleton in 2013
Born (1977-06-14) 14 June 1977 (age 42)[1]
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Years active1994–present

Stapleton played the lead role, Greek leader Themistocles, in the film 300: Rise of an Empire (2014).[2] He was honoured on 24 October 2013 with a Breakthrough Award at an exclusive Australians in Film Benefit Dinner held in Los Angeles.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Stapleton was born in Melbourne, Victoria.[4] He was eight years old when he and his younger sister, actress Jacinta Stapleton, six at the time, joined an acting and modelling agency. The idea first came to their aunt who signed her kids with the agency. She then asked her nephew and nieces if they would like to join and their mother signed them in. Stapleton's younger brother Joshua Stapleton also launched into acting in early childhood following his brother's footsteps yet along with pursuing talents in Dance and Musical Theatre[5][6]

His picture caught the attention of a director who then invited him to be in his short film (about high school dropouts at a party where girls were dying, without the graphic violence). Pleased by his performance, the director qualified him as gifted and encouraged him to pursue acting.[6]

Stapleton received training at Melbourne's St. Martin's Theatre. He studied drama and theatre at Sandringham Secondary College (in Sandringham, Victoria, Australia).[7]


He launched his career in Australia.[7] He got his actors' union card at the age of 9 (in 1986) and at the age of 11 he started working in ads.[8] His first onscreen acting performance was in the 1994 Australian TV-movie Baby Bath Massacre as Adrian.[7][9] Between acting jobs, Stapleton did several types of work: modeling, cleaning animal cages in a pet shop, working as a grip (taking care of the camera equipment) in a considerable number of films and TV productions. He starred in 2 episodes of Blue Heelers in May 2003 as Gethin Fox. (The Elephant Princess, Rush, Tangle)[8] in front and behind the camera, working on building sites, and assisting carpenters.[6][7][8][10][11]

Before landing a role as Josh Hughes in Australian soap opera Neighbours in 1998, he appeared in a string of little-seen features and homegrown dramas.[9] Other notable roles include Justin Davies in the Australian televised serial The Secret Life Of Us (between 2003 and 2005),[12] Fearless in the motion picture December Boys (released in 2007), special agent Wilkins in the mainstream feature, The Condemned (an American action film distributed in 2007).[13] But it was with Stapleton's performance in the Academy Award nominated film Animal Kingdom, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, that he made an international breakthrough.[6][9][12]

When Animal Kingdom won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival interest in him sparked on two continents[8] and his career has taken him across the globe.[10] He made his second appearance in the Underbelly, an Australian true crime drama television series. This time he was the lead character, Colin McLaren in Underbelly Files: Infiltration, an endurance test and the first challenging shoot of his career.[8] Previously he played Pat Barbaro in Underbelly (episode Suffer the Children) in 2008.[8][10]

In early 2014, Stapleton was in Thailand for the filming of the TV series Strike Back. In February on a night out in Bangkok after work, he fell off a tuk-tuk (a type of motorised rickshaw) and suffered a head injury that left him in a coma.[14] Shooting for the show was paused for six months to allow his full recovery. Airing of the final season was also pushed to 2015.[15][16]



Year Title Role Notes
1996 River Street Chris
1998 Amy Wayne Lassiter
2000 Bored Olives Dom
2003 Darkness Falls Officer Matt Henry
2004 Everything Goes Jack Short movie
2007 The Condemned Special Agent Wilkins
2007 The Bloody Sweet Hit Carl Short film
2007 December Boys Fearless
2010 Animal Kingdom Craig Cody Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
2010 Centre Place James Ballintyne
2011 The Hunter Doug
2013 Gangster Squad Jack Whalen
2014 300: Rise of an Empire Themistocles
2014 Kill Me Three Times Nathan Webb
2014 Cut Snake Pommie Nominated—AACTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Australian Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated—FCCA Award for Best Actor
2017 Renegades Matt Barnes [17]
2019 Ride Like a Girl Darren Weir


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Baby Bath Massacre Adrian Television film
1996–2003 Blue Heelers Gethin Fox/Anthony Hood/Ian Shannon Episodes: "Father's Day: Part 1", "Father's Day: Part 2" (as Gethin Fox), "Victims" (as Anthony Hood), "Second Innings" (as Ian Shannon)
1997 Good Guys Bad Guys Paul Morello Episode: "A Bilby in Rat's Clothing"
1998 Raw FM Bucky Episode: "Raw'n'Sore"
1998 Neighbours Josh Hughes Recurring role; 10 episodes
1998 The Genie from Down Under 2 Surfer #2 Episode: "The Cold Shoulder"
1998 Halifax f.p. Hamish Episode: "Afraid of the Dark"
1997–1998 State Coroner 'Bullbar' Benson/Darren Pyke Episodes: "Sunday in the Country" (as 'Bullbar' Benson), "Final Approach" (as Darren Pyke)
1999 Witch Hunt Craig Thomas Television film
1999 Pigs Breakfast Television series
1999 Stingers Matt Wilmott Episode: "Dance With the Dragon"
2000 Something in the Air Wayne Taylor Episodes: "The Best Man", "The Things We Do", "The Big Match", "Return of the Prodigal"
2000 Green Sails Infante Television film
2001 My Brother Jack Young Joe Television film
2002 MDA Ben Quilty Episodes: "Rites of Passage", "One Small Step"
2003–2005 The Secret Life of Us Justin Davies Main role; 24 episodes
2005 Little Oberon Martin Television film
2006 McLeod's Daughters Drew Cornwell Episode: "Winners & Losers"
2007–2009 Satisfaction Josh Recurring role; 13 episodes
2008 Underbelly Pat Barbaro Episode: "Suffer the Children"
2008 Canal Road Jack Logan Episodes: "Episode 2", "Episode 5", "Episode 10"
2008 Rush Yuri Episode: "Episode 12"
2009 Carla Cametti PD Matt Brodie Recurring role; 6 episodes
2009 Sea Patrol Geoff Kershaw Episode: "Guns"
2010 The Odds Wade Television film
2010 Lowdown Oliver Barry Episode: "Bonk Bonk, Who's There?"
2011 Underbelly Files: Infiltration Colin McLaren Main role; television film
2011–2018 Strike Back Sgt. Damien Scott Main role; 42 episodes
2015–present Blindspot Kurt Weller Main role; 89 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  2. ^ Douglas, Edward (6 March 2014). "300: Rise of an Empire -2014". Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  3. ^ "'Next big thing' Sullivan Stapleton and Jacki Weaver to be honoured at Australians in Film reception". 28 August 2013. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  4. ^ "Jacinta Stapleton with mother Jackie and brother Sullivan at DECEMBER BOYS - Melbourne Premiere photos by". Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  5. ^ "Jacinta Stapleton article: She'll Never Eat a Custard Pie Again". 19 June 1999. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d "Sullivan Stapleton: Strike Back features lots and lots of flesh | Metro News". 12 August 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d "Sullivan Stapleton Biography." TV Guide. CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Enker, Debi (10 February 2011). "How a little LA interest goes a long way". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "Sullivan Stapleton Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Yahoo!. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  10. ^ a b c Groves, Don (5 November 2012). "Stapleton breaks out after Animal Kingdom". Special Broadcasting Service. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  11. ^ Dennehy, Luke (18 September 2011). "A chance to build his career". Herald Sun. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  12. ^ a b "Sullivan Stapleton | Biography and Filmography | 1977". 6 November 2015. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Sullivan Stapleton Biography". Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  14. ^ "'Strike Back' Alum Reveals Details Behind Final Season Delay: Sullivan Stapleton Was in a Coma".
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (26 February 2014). "Cinemax's 'Strike Back' To Go On Hiatus After Sullivan Stapleton Off-Set Injury". Deadline. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Sullivan Stapleton fell from tuk-tuk in Thailand | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV | Daily Express". Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  17. ^ "Luc Besson Finds New Action Hero? EuropaCorp Sets Sullivan Stapleton For 'The Lake'". Retrieved 12 November 2015.

External linksEdit