Don McKellar
Born (1963-08-17) August 17, 1963 (age 60)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Occupation(s)Actor, writer, filmmaker
(m. 2010; died 2010)

Don McKellar CM (born August 17, 1963) is a Canadian actor, writer, playwright, and filmmaker. He was part of a loosely-affiliated group of filmmakers to emerge from Toronto known as the Toronto New Wave.

He is known for directing and writing the film Last Night, which won the Prix de la Jeunesse at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, as well as his screenplays for films like Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, The Red Violin, and Blindness. McKellar frequently acts in his own projects, and has also appeared in Atom Egoyan’s Exotica and David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ and Crimes of the Future.

He is also known for being a fixture on Canadian television, with series including Twitch City, Odd Job Jack, and Slings & Arrows, as well as writing the book for the popular Tony Award-winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone. He is an eight-time nominee and two-time Genie Award winner.

Personal life

McKellar was born in Toronto, Ontario, the son of Marjorie Kay (Stirrett), a teacher, and John Duncan McKellar, a corporate lawyer.[1][2][3][4] He attended Glenview Senior Public School, Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute and later studied English at the University of Toronto's Victoria College.

McKellar married his longtime partner, Canadian actress Tracy Wright, on January 3, 2010. Wright died of cancer on June 22, 2010.[5]


McKellar was a founding member of Toronto's Augusta Company,[6] along with his future wife Tracy Wright and Daniel Brooks.

McKellar made his first screen appearance in 1989 in Bruce McDonald's film Roadkill, for which he also wrote the screenplay. McKellar's work on Roadkill earned him Genie Award nominations for best supporting actor and best screenwriter, attracting the attention of many in Canada. Roadkill also won the Toronto-Citytv Award for best Canadian feature.

McKellar collaborated again with McDonald for his 1991 film Highway 61, writing the screenplay and playing the starring role as the barber Pokey Jones. Again McKellar's work solicited wide praise, earning him a second Genie nomination for best screenwriter and a nomination for best actor. McKellar's most recent collaboration with McDonald spawned the cult classic television series Twitch City, in which McKellar played the starring role of Curtis, a television addict and shut-in.

Since his entry into Canadian cinema, McKellar has also been involved in numerous projects. He appeared in Atom Egoyan's films The Adjuster (1991) and Exotica (1994), the latter of which earned him the Genie for best supporting actor. McKellar collaborated with François Girard, authoring the screenplays for his films Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1992), and the Academy Award winning (Best Original Score) The Red Violin (1998), in which McKellar starred alongside Samuel L. Jackson. He also appeared alongside Jude Law and Jennifer Jason Leigh in David Cronenberg's 1999 film eXistenZ.

McKellar has emerged as a filmmaker in his own right; his directorial debut, Last Night (1998), which he also wrote and in which he also starred, garnered impressive critical acclaim, winning the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival and the Claude Jutra Award at the Genies. In 2001, he played the role of Oliver Tapscrew in the TV children's drama series I Was a Rat. His second film, Childstar, opened in 2004 at the Toronto International Film Festival to enthusiastic reviews.

McKellar also starred in the animated sitcom Odd Job Jack as the titular hero, Jack Ryder, which ran for four seasons between 2004 and 2007 on The Comedy Network.

McKellar has appeared in all three seasons of television's Slings & Arrows, as Darren Nichols, a theatre director. The show is co-written by Bob Martin, who collaborated with McKellar on the musical The Drowsy Chaperone. Martin and McKellar also cocreated the Canadian television sitcom Michael, Tuesdays and Thursdays, scheduled to debut on CBC Television in fall 2011.[7]

In 2006, he appeared in Ken Finkleman's miniseries At the Hotel. In June 2006 he won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical for The Drowsy Chaperone. He received a Gemini Award nomination for his role as socialist politician Clarence Fines in Prairie Giant: The Tommy Douglas Story.

McKellar hosted the CBC Radio One series High Definition. He co-starred in and wrote the 2008 screen adaptation of José Saramago's 1995 novel Blindness.

In 2016, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to Canadian culture as an actor, writer and director".[8]



Year Title Role Notes
1986 Roadkill Russel, the Serial Killer Also writer
1991 The Adjuster Tyler - The Young Censor
1991 Highway 61 Pokey Jones Also writer
1992 Giant Steps Real Estate Hucker
1993 Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould Concert Promoter Also writer
1993 Coleslaw Warehouse Short film
1994 Exotica Thomas
1994 Camilla Security Guard
1994 Arrowhead Ray Bud Short film; Mockumentary
1994 Dance Me Outside Writer
1995 When Night Is Falling Timothy
1996 Never Met Picasso Jerry
1996 Joe's So Mean to Josephine Mike
1997 Bach Cello Suite #4: Sarabande Max Short film
1998 Last Night Patrick Wheeler Also writer and director
1998 The Red Violin Evan Williams (Montréal) Also writer
1998 Elimination Dance Male Dance Partner Short film; also writer and director
1998 The Herd Himself Documentary
1999 Existenz Yevgeny Nourish
2000 waydowntown Brad
2000 You Tell Me Short film
2000 This Might Be Good Short film
2000 A Word from the Management Short film; writer and director
2001 The Art of Woo Nathan
2003 The Event Matt Shapiro
2003 Public Domain Host
2004 Clean Vernon
2004 Childstar Rick Shiller - the driver Also writer and director
2005 Where the Truth Lies Publishing Executive
2006 Monkey Warfare Dan
2007 Redacted Criminal Investigator (voice)
2008 Blindness Thief Also writer
2008 Green Door Ron Short film
2009 Cooking with Stella Michael Laffont
2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Director
2010 Trigger Brian
2010 This Movie Is Broken Writer
2011 I'm Yours Phil
2013 The Grand Seduction Director
2013 Treading Water Richard
2013 3 Days in Havana Pepe
2015 Zoom Horowitz (voice)
2016 Window Horses Dietmar (voice)
2017 Blood Honey Dr. Bert Morrison
2017 Meditation Park Gabriel
2018 Through Black Spruce Journalist Also director
2019 American Woman Newscaster 1 (voice)
2020 Target Number One Norm
2020 The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw Bernard Buckley
2021 The Middle Man Doctor
2022 Crimes of the Future Wippet


Year Title Role Notes
1994 RoboCop Dr. Newlove Episode: "Zone Five"
1995 Side Effects Elaine's Lover Episode: "Rust Proof"
1995 Taking the Falls Episode: "Elvis has Left the Building"
1997 In the Presence of Mine Enemies Paul Heller Television movie
1997 Once a Thief Sam Fransisco Episode: "Rave On"
19982000 Twitch City Curtis 13 episodes; also writer
1999 The Passion of Ayn Rand Alfred Television movie
2001 The Industry John Kalileah Episode: "Alan's Ex"
2001 Degrassi: The Next Generation Keith Barra 2 episodes
2001 I Was a Rat Oliver Tapscrew 3 episodes
2002 Trudeau Greenbaum Television movie
20032006 Slings & Arrows Darren Nichols 13 episodes
20032007 Odd Job Jack Jack Ryder (voice) 52 episodes
2005 Rick Mercer Report Food Court Patron Episode #2.8
2006 Prairie Giant Clarence Fines 2 episodes
2006 At the Hotel Woody Episode: "I F***ed Lou Reed"
2008 The Englishman's Boy Coster 2 episodes
2011 Republic of Doyle J.J. Murphy Episode: "A Stand Up Guy"
20112017 Michael: Every Day Creator, director, and executive producer
20142016 Sensitive Skin Al Jackson 12 episodes; also director and executive producer
2017 Saving Hope Dr. Amos Carver 3 episodes
2020 Hey Lady! Dr. Wolfe 5 episodes
2024 The Sympathizer Writer and executive producer


  1. ^ "The Film Reference Library". Archived from the original on 2007-12-24. Retrieved 2008-10-04.
  2. ^ "True to her craft until the end".
  3. ^ McKellar takes on Cannes at The Canadian Encyclopedia, accessed August 31, 2019
  4. ^ Parker, Charles Whately; Parker, Charles Wolcott; Greene, Barnet M. (2000). Who's who in Canada. ISBN 9780771577260.
  5. ^ "The Globe and Mail: Canadian, World, Politics and Business News & Analysis".
  6. ^ "True To Her Craft Until The End". The Globe and Mail, June 23, 2010
  7. ^ "Camelot & cover songs: Inside CBC’s new fall lineup" Archived 2013-01-29 at National Post, June 8, 2011.
  8. ^ "Governor General Announces 113 New Appointments to the Order of Canada".