Don McKellar biography

Don McKellar

Date of Birth: August 17, 1963

As a film director, Don McKellar first sprang onto the Canadian scene with his award-winning feature, Last Night (1998). Not only did McKellar win a slew of awards at home, including the Claude Jutra award at the Genie Awards, a Canadian Comedy Award for Film Directing, a Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Canadian Film and Best Canadian First Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival, but he also won the Award of the Youth at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Don was interested in performing at an early age and began with high school plays. He went to the University of Toronto to study English, but left just four credits short of graduating after founding a touring theater company. He wrote, directed and acted in their plays.

Don turned to screenwriting when he was approached by Canadian director Bruce McDonald, who was looking for a writer to collaborate on a film. Their first project to make it to the screen was Roadkill (1989), with Don also taking on the role of Russel, the Serial Killer and earning his first Genie nominations, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor. In 1991, McKellar played a supporting role in Atom Egoyan's The Adjuster and his first leading role in Highway 61, another collaboration with McDonald. His first Genie win was as Best Supporting Actor in Egoyan's 1994 film, Exotica.

Interested in directing for the screen, Don enrolled in the Canadian Film Centre's directing program and began making short films. While there, he was asked by Rhombus Media to co-write a biopic on legendary pianist Glenn Gould. Called 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993), the film starred Colm Feore as Gould and won several Genie Awards as well as Best Canadian Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival before going on to win awards at foreign film festivals.

Shortly after, he was approached by the CBC to write a series for the network. Don came up with Twitch City, a quirky 14-episode (2 season) sitcom directed by his old friend McDonald and starring McKellar, Callum Keith Rennie, Daniel MacIvor and Molly Parker.

Busy with both writing and acting, McKellar didn't direct a second feature film until Childstar (2004), which he also co-wrote. He played the role of limo driver Rick Schiller in the comedy, about a Hollywood child star who comes to Canada to shoot a film but runs away from the set.

In 2006 Don won a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, along with co-writer Bob Martin, for the Broadway musical The Drowsy Chaperone.

From 2014 to 2016, he co-starred in the HBO series Sensitive Skin, alongside Kim Cattrall.

Counted seventh on the list of the top 30 people in Canadian film by the now defunct Shift magazine, Don continues to live in Toronto. His late wife, actress Tracy Wright, died in 2010 just six and a half months after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Don McKellar Filmography

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