12/15/1970 (50 years old) Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Michael Shanks grew up playing hockey in British Columbia and dreamed of turning pro. But he gave up his icy ambition to concentrate on his education. In college, he initially studied business but switched to theater and later apprenticed at the prestigious Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, where Shanks cut his acting chops on the classics before segueing to TV guest spots in the early 1990s. His big break came in 1997 when he landed the role of Dr. Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1. Although Shanks' 10-year stint on the series kept him busy, he still found time to pursue outside projects, including numerous TV-movies (Door to Door, Under the Mistletoe) and guest appearances, notably on another sci-fi series, Andromeda, where he met his future wife, Lexa Doig. Shanks left Stargate SG-1 after its fifth season to pursue other interests, but the fan outcry was so overwhelming he returned as a series regular in Season 7. In 2007, he guest starred on 24 and later notched extended appearances on Burn Notice and Smallville.