Kyle Chandler rose to fame as Coach Eric Taylor on ‘Friday Night Lights’ and went to star in ‘Bloodline.’
Born in New York in 1965, Kyle Chandler majored in drama at the University of Georgia. He enjoyed success as the lead of the 1990s TV shows Homefront and Early Edition, his career reaching new heights the following decade with his performance on Friday Night Lights. Chandler has since appeared in the films Zero Dark Thirty and Argo, and earned accolades as a star of the Netflix series Bloodline.
Born on September 17, 1965, in Buffalo, New York, Kyle Chandler worked as an actor for nearly 20 years before finding fame with Friday Night Lights in 2006. He grew up as the youngest of four children and spent his early years near Chicago, where his father worked as a pharmaceutical salesman. When he was 11 years old, he moved to a small town in Georgia. The move proved to be difficult for the young Chandler. He told Best Life magazine that "I couldn't fit in, and I wanted so badly to find a reason for that."
Chandler lived with his parents on 22 acres of land, where they bred Great Danes and operated a kennel. In an interview on NPR's Fresh Air, he explained that his parents "were very successful with the breeding and the showing of them. Hence, I was always in a motor home, traveling around the country, going to these dog shows as a kid." At age 14, he suffered a tremendous loss when his father died of a heart attack.
Chandler attended the University of Georgia in Athens, where he majored in drama. Dropping out before he completed his degree, Chandler successfully auditioned for ABC, landing a deal with the network and a ticket to Los Angeles. He later told The Hollywood Reporter that "I was just dumb enough to think that I could pull it off, and then once I got out there and started making enough money to live, I thought, 'OK, I might be able to do this.'" Chandler found work as a bouncer to help make ends meet while he tried to get his career off the ground.
Critically Acclaimed Actor
While nothing of note materialized from his ABC contract, Chandler enjoyed his first taste of television success with a recurring role on the Vietnam War drama Tour of Duty in 1990. He moved from supporting player to lead actor the following year with Homefront, playing a soldier returning home after serving in World War II. Around this time, he also appeared the 1992 film Pure Country with singer George Strait.
In 1996, Chandler began starring in Early Edition as Gary Hubson, a character who mysteriously receives advance copies of the following day's news and tries to change the course of events. The unconventional show proved to be popular with viewers, lasting for four seasons. After several short-lived series, Chandler earned praise for his guest-starring role on the hit medical drama Grey's Anatomy beginning in 2006. He even received an Emmy Award nomination for his work on the show.
Around this time, Chandler took on his most famous role to date. He played Coach Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights, a drama about Texas high school football team. The show was based on the book of the same title by Buzz Bissinger. Connie Britton played the coach's wife, Tami, and she and Chandler made a compelling on-screen couple. Chandler explained on Fresh Air that the two actors clicked instantly. "I think we shook hands, said hello, and within 10 seconds were already starting to barb on each other."
During his time on Friday Night Lights, Chandler also bonded with Taylor Kitsch over a love of motorcycles. Kitsch played Tim Riggins, one of the players coached by Chandler's character. The show earned a devoted following, and the entire cast received accolades for their convincing and engaging performances. The series picked up numerous Emmy Award nominations over the years, as well as a win for Chandler in 2011.
After Friday Night Lights ended in 2011, Chandler appeared in supporting roles in several acclaimed films, including Zero Dark Thirty (2012), Argo (2012) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). In 2015, Chandler returned to series television with Netflix's Bloodline. In the hit dramatic thriller, the actor plays John Reyburn, a detective who tries to stay within the law while dealing with a dysfunctional family. Chandler earned another Emmy Award nomination in the summer of 2015 for his work on the show.
Outside of acting, Chandler is devoted to his family. He and his wife, Kathryn, have two daughters, Sydney and Sawyer.