Henry Ian Cusick Biography

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Birth Name: Henry Ian Cusick
Born: 04/17/1967
Birth Place: Peru

Born April 17, 1969 in Trujillo, Peru to his Scottish and Peruvian mother, Cusick grew up in a bilingual household that spoke English and Spanish, and moved several times during his adolescence and teenage years. The family made stops in the Caribbean archipelagic state of Trinidad and Tobago and Madrid, Spain, before settling in Newton Mears, near Glasgow, Scotland, when Cusick was 15 years old. An aspiring actor in his youth, Cusick enrolled for training at the Royal Scottish Academy of Drama and Music, only to reportedly get kicked out during his second year. Undeterred, he joined the acclaimed Citizens' Theatre in Glasgow, where he landed his first leading role opposite Rupert Everett as Dorian Gray in a production of Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray." From there, Cusick played the lead in "Hamlet" and was Horner in the Restoration comedy "The Country Wife," while appearing in productions with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Edinburgh International Festival, including "Othello," "The Birthday Party" and "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof."

Cusick received considerable acclaim for his leading role in "Torquato Tasso" (1995) at the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh, which earned him a nomination for the Ian Charleson Award, which was given to classical actors under 30 years of age. He made sporadic appearances on British and Scottish television, playing Henry Green in an adaptation of "Richard II" (1997), and in the late-1990s, had a nine-episode arc on the long-running medical drama "Casual+y" (BBC One, 1986- ). After an uncredited appearance in the romantic mystery "Possession" (2002) directed by Neil LaBute, Cusick had a recurring role on the acclaimed comedy "The Book Group" (BBC 4, 2001-02), and gained more visibility as the famed and ultimately tragic 19th-century paleontologist Gideon Mantell in "The Dinosaur Hunters" (2002), a fascinating documentary about the early days of dinosaur research that was produced by BBC 4 and aired in the United States on public television. Cusick landed his first feature lead when he portrayed Jesus in "The Gospel of John" (2003), a three-hour epic for which he drew upon his devout Catholic upbringing for perspective. Back to the small screen, he landed an episode of the popular detective drama "Midsomer Murders" series (ITV, 1997- ), which preceded a successful transition to U.S. television.

Cusick made an immediate impression on American audiences with his performances as Desmond Hume on the cultural phenomenon, "Lost" (ABC, 2004-2010). Hired by producer Carlton Cuse after a chance encounter at the home of a mutual neighbor, Cusick embraced the role of Hume and its complexities whole-heartedly, finding himself quickly among the show's most popular players. A former member of the Royal Scots Regiment of the British Army who sets sail on a race around the world to forget about a woman he loves (Sonya Walger), Hume was shipwrecked on the show's mystery island and indoctrinated into the procedure of re-setting the countdown clock which could bring about the end of the world. His discovery by the show's castaways sent seismic ripples through their ranks; not only did Jack (Matthew Fox) recognize him from late night workout sessions back in Los Angeles, but Locke (Terry O'Quinn) fell prey to the same obsession over the countdown clock that had beset Hume. The finale of the second season found Hume destroying the hatch that contained the computer, but with the launch of the third season, he was alive, and apparently, in possession of psychic powers, as demonstrated by an impromptu lightning rod he built to save Claire (Emilie de Ravin).

Cusick's intense performance earned "Lost" its sole Emmy nomination for acting in 2006 and the audience response to his character ensured that he would join the cast as a series regular in its third season. As his character became more infused with the island and lives of its other castaways, Cusick quickly became a fan favorite and earned extensive critical praise, particularly following his long-awaited connection with Penny over the phone in "The Constant," which was hailed as one of the best moments on the show's six seasons. In addition to his duties on "Lost," Cusick appeared in the supernatural feature "Half Light" (2006) starring Demi Moore, and the dark fantasy "9/Tenths" (2006) with Gabrielle Anwar. Meanwhile, he delivered another memorable small screen turn on "24" (Fox, 2001-2010), where he played German intelligence officer Theo Stoller in two season five episodes, as his character bumped heads with Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) in their mutual attempts to track down terrorist information broker Collette Stenger (Stana Katic). Back on the big screen, he played the target of a genetically-engineered assassin (Timothy Olyphant) in "Hitman" (2007), and went on to appear in two 2009 episodes of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (NBC, 1999- ). After "Lost" ended its run in 2010, Cusick landed a guest starring role on another J.J. Abrams creation, "Fringe" (Fox, 2008- ), where he played an FBI agent from the year 2036. He returned to regular series status with Shonda Rhimes hit drama, "Scandal" (ABC, 2012- ), but left after the first season since his character - according to Rhimes - was not receiving sufficient screen time.

By Shawn Dwyer




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