A likable and dependable leading man on film, television and stage, actor D.B. Sweeney specialized in roles that combined emotion with physical prowess, such as his ill-fated "Shoeless" Joe Jackson in John Sayles' "Eight Men Out" (1988) or the ex-hockey player who turns to figure skating in "The Cutting Edge" (1992). He also found a niche in fantasy and science fiction projects like "Fire in the Sky" (1993) and the television series "Strange Luck" (Fox, 1995-1996), "Harsh Realm" (Fox, 1999-2000), and "Jericho" (CBS, 2006-08).
Born Daniel Bernard Sweeney in Long Island, NY on Nov. 14, 1961, Sweeney initially pursued baseball as a career, but a motorcycle injury ended that dream, directing him towards acting. After graduating from Tulane University, he earned a BFA in Drama from the Tisch School of the Arts and landed work in theater, starting with the 1983 Broadway revival of "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial" with Michael Moriarty as Captain Queeg. His television debut came in the 1985 film "Out of the Darkness," about the pursuit of David Berkowitz, a.k.a. the "Son of Sam." Supporting roles in episodic television and teen-oriented pictures like "Fire with Fire" (1986) followed before his big break in Francis Ford Coppola's "Gardens of Stone" (1987), as a fresh Marine recruit eager to see action in Vietnam. Critics singled out Sweeney's performance, leading to a string of leading roles in major and independent productions. The best of these were "Eight Men Out" - for which Sweeney trained with the Kenosha Twins for a season and switched from right-handed to left-handed batting - and the WWII aviation drama "Memphis Belle" (1990) as the doom-and-gloom navigator of the title B-17 bomber. He also played lovelorn cowpoke Dish Boggett, who seeks to win over Lorena Wood (Diane Lane) in the 1989 TV-miniseries "Lonesome Dove" (1989), and won over the hearts of teenage girls as the tough but tender hockey player who becomes the reluctant partner of spoiled skater Moira Kelly in "The Cutting Edge" (1992).
Sweeney's first turn with the fantastic came in "Fire in the Sky" (1993), an occasionally harrowing feature based on fact about the investigation into Travis Walton's (Sweeney) alleged abduction by a UFO. Sweeney's performance as a man who finds it difficult to make anyone believe he has experienced a life-changing and terrifying event was the film's strongest element, and he was soon tapped to bring believability to other science fiction projects. "Strange Luck" was a short-lived attempt to tap the wildfire popularity of "The X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002), with Sweeney as a photographer with an uncanny talent for turning up whenever unexpected events occur. He was the best friend of a former military assassin turned supernatural avenger in the film version of Todd McFarlane's "Spawn" (1997), and played an injured soldier who enters a computer simulated world in Chris Carter's "Harsh Realm."
Sweeney also delivered solid performances in a variety of other genres: he was Dorothy Dandridge's unscrupulous husband Jack Denison, who contributed to her financial and emotional downfall in "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" (1999), and lent his voice to two animated features, "Dinosaur" (2000, as lead creature Aladar) and "Brother Bear" (2003), as well as to the Fox Sports Network's Emmy-nominated documentary series, "Beyond the Glory" (2001-05). Sweeney also tried his hand at several dramatic network series, including the crime drama "C-16: FBI" (ABC, 1997-98) and as a husband and father in a troubled marriage in the acclaimed family series, "Life As We Know It" (ABC, 2004-05).
In 2006, Sweeney made his debut as co-writer, producer, director and star of "Two Tickets To Paradise," an independent comedy-drama about a trio of friends in their early forties who embark on a road trip in an attempt to reclaim some of their youthful glories. The film was met with positive response at numerous film festivals, which bestowed several awards for directing and performing on him in 2006 and 2007. If the praise went to Sweeney's head, he was too busy to show it. He guested as a friend of Dr. Gregory House whose daughter is suffering from hallucinations on "House" (Fox, 2004-12), and "Jericho" as a hard-nosed security team member. He also co-starred in the indie feature "Yellow" (2007) as a doctor who helps an aspiring dancer (Rosalyn Sanchez) achieve her dream, and was top-billed in the comedy "Entry Level" (2007), as a former chef who finds his skills undesirable when he is suddenly thrust into the job market.
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First professional stage appearance and Broadway debut, "The Caine Mutiny Court Martial"
Made TV acting debut in CBS movie "Out of the Darkness"
Guest starred on ABC's "Spenser: For Hire"
Made feature acting debut with a one-line role in Sidney Lumet's "Power"
Played an idealistic, gung-ho Vietnam enlistee in Francis Ford Coppola's "Gardens of Stone"
Portrayed the tragic Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Eight Men Out"
Played Dish Boggett on the CBS miniseries "Lonesome Dove"
Cast in "Memphis Belle," about the 25th and last mission of an American B17 bomber based in England during WWII
Played a has-been ice hockey player opposite Moira Kelly in "The Cutting Edge"
Portrayed Travis Walton, a man claiming to have been abducted by extraterrestrials, in "Fire in the Sky"
Starred on the short-lived Fox series "Strange Luck"
Returned to series TV, co-starring on ABC drama "C16: FBI"
Appeared opposite Halle Berry in HBO biopic "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge"
Co-starred on Fox sci-fi drama "Harsh Realm"
Landed recurring role on family drama "Once and Again" (ABC)
Voiced character of Sitka in Disney animated film "Brother Bear"
Appeared on CBS mystery drama "Jericho"
Directed by Spike Lee in "Miracle at St. Anna"
Guest starred as a U.S. Marshal on "Criminal Minds" (CBS)
Had a recurring guest role on "Major Crimes"
Voiced Aang on "The Legend of Korra"
Cast opposite Liam Neeson in action sequel "Taken 2"
Had recurring role of Larry on "Two and a Half Men"
Was the narrator on reality series "Mountain Men"
Cast as James Longstreet on miniseries "To Appomattox"
Played Reardon on "Ice"
Landed a role on HBO's southern-noir miniseries "Sharp Objects"