Callum Keith Rennie
Date of Birth: September 14, 1960
Callum Keith Rennie was born in the city of Sunderland, England, to Scottish parents. When he was four, the family moved to Edmonton, Alberta. After high school, when Rennie received a $5,000 student loan to further his education, he decided instead to take a vacation with the money. Afterwards, he earned a living with a variety of odd jobs, including bartending, cooking, and laying railroad tracks.
Friends of his who ran a radio show at the University of Alberta asked Rennie to do some voice work. The experience made him decide to pursue acting as a career. After doing some stage work, Rennie headed to Toronto to make it, but when his big break didn't come, he tried Vancouver instead, where he took acting classes at the Bruhanski Theatre Studio. However, Rennie's alcoholism was beginning to catch up with him. He'd begun drinking heavily in his teens and ended up in the hospital after chugging a 26-ounce bottle of vodka, but the incident didn't deter him.
Drinking was beginning to affect him more than ever and at one point, after being hired for a play in Vancouver, he stopped showing up for rehearsals, earning him a poor reputation among theater directors. Then in 1993, when he got into a drunken fight in a bar and a shard of glass entered his left eye and retina, the event was an eye-opener, so to speak. Rennie claims he has not had a drink since then.
His career began to pick up and he made his television debut on the fantasy series Highlander in 1993. Guest appearances on The X-Files, Lonesome Dove, The Commish and Nikita followed. He began to get roles in independent Canadian films before landing his first role in a major motion picture with Timecop (1994), starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. He continued to play roles in small independents along with the occasional bit part in American films shot in Vancouver. In 1996, he won the recurring role of Johnny Johannson on the TMN series My Life as a Dog, and though he won a Gemini award for Best Performance in a Children's or Youth Program for his work on the show, the series only lasted one season.
However, his big break came soon after, when he was hired as David Marciano's replacement on Due South opposite Paul Gross. Rennie instantly became a star in Canada. However, he prefers to keep a low profile and for the most part, continues to act in independent, small budget films such as Last Night (1998), for which he won his first Genie award for Best Supporting Actor. He received a second Genie for Best Supporting Actor for his work in Normal (2008). He teamed up again with his Due South co-star Paul Gross in the western comedy Gunless (2010).
Rennie also makes the occasional foray into television, such as the short-lived CBC-TV series Twitch City and the American cable series Californication.