Zeljko Ivanek Biography

(Best Known for His Role as ‘Ray Fiske’ in the TV Series ‘Damages’)

Birthday: September 15, 1957 (Virgo)

Born In: Ljubljana, Slovenia

Zeljko Ivanek is a Slovenian-American actor and producer. Ivanek’s journey into acting began with community theatre in Palo Alto, where he took part in local plays. Recognizing his passion for acting, Ivanek attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He made his TV debut with a minor role in 1981 and continued appearing in supporting roles for the rest of the decade. At the same time, he was also a popular stage actor and played roles in many award-winning plays such as ‘The Pillowman’ and ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs.’ In the 1990s, he starred in many leading and recurring roles in TV series such as ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ and ‘Oz’. However, he became a well-known name only in the 2000s after appearing in a string of popular blockbusters such as ‘Hannibal’, ‘Black Hawk Dawn’, ‘Argo’, and ‘Seven Psychopaths’. These movies made him an international figure, and his performance won several awards. More recently, he was seen in the drama ‘Madame Secretary’ as a leading actor and appeared in the hit movies ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ and ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’.

Quick Facts

Age: 66 Years, 66 Year Old Males

Born Country: Slovenia

Actors American Men

Height: 5'7" (170 cm), 5'7" Males

Ancestry: Croatian American, Slovenian American

City: Ljubljana, Slovenia

More Facts

education: Yale University, London Academy Of Music And Dramatic Art

Childhood & Early Life
Željko Simic-Ivanek was born on 15 August 1957, in Ljubljana, PR Slovenia, FPR Yugoslavia. His family immigrated to California in 1960. He spent his childhood years shuttling between California and Yugoslavia.
He graduated from Ellwood P. Cubberley High School in 1975 and later pursued a degree in arts from Yale University. In 1980, upon graduating from Yale, he attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art as he was passionate about theatre. Even as a child and teen, he performed in community plays.
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Zeljko Ivanek made his debut on TV in ‘The Edge of Night’ as Sammy Wheaton in 1981. In the next year, he appeared in a string of movies such as ‘Tex’, ‘The Soldier’, and ‘The Sender.’ However, he had to contend with minor roles in the beginning.
Around the same time, he started appearing in plays such as ‘Cloud Nine’, ‘The Pillowman’, and other popular productions. He continued to act on stage and screen for the remainder of his career. His popular performances include ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’ and ‘The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial.’
Throughout the 1980s, Ivanek was mostly seen in supporting and guest roles. He was notable for his roles in ‘Great Performances’ (1983) , ‘The Sun Also Rises’ (1984), ‘Mass Appeal’ (1984), ‘American Playhouse’ (1987), ‘Rachel River’ (1987), and a recurring role in the miniseries ‘Echoes in the Darkness’ (1987).
In 1990, he appeared as Joel Lassen in the TV series ‘L.A. Law’ and later played the role of Willy in the hit biography drama ‘Artificial Paradise.’ Next year, he was seen in the TV movies ‘Aftermath: A Test of Love’ and ‘Our Sons.’
He received his first recurring role in 1993 when he was cast as ASA ED Danvers in the hit crime mystery ‘Homicide: Life on the Street.’ He was seen in over 30 episodes across six seasons.
Ivanek’s career slowly expanded in the mid-1990s as he started receiving more roles. He was seen in a variety of genres, including the TV movies ‘New Year’, ‘Truman’, and ‘My Brother’s Keeper’. He also appeared as a supporting actor in the TV series ‘The X-Files’, ‘If Not for You’, and ‘Murder, She Wrote.’
In 1996, he managed to feature in several movies, including ‘White Squall’, ‘Courage Under Fire’, ‘After Jimmy’, ‘Infinity’, and ‘The Associate.’ He also embarked on another recurring role as Governor James Devlin in the series ‘Oz’, a role he played for 27 episodes over eight seasons.
In 1997, he was mostly seen on TV in series such as ‘Chicago Hope’, ‘Frasier’, ‘Millennium’, ‘Players’, ‘All McBeal’, and ‘C-16: FBI.’ His movie credits from the year include the critical hit ‘Donnie Brasco’, the comedy drama ‘Julian Po’, and the drama ‘Ellen Foster.’
1998 saw him working across TV and film. He played the role of Jack Walker in the hit ‘Nowhere to Go’ before appearing in the miniseries ‘From the Earth to the Moon.’ He was also seen as a guest actor in ‘Trinity’ and later played the role of Bill Crowley in ‘A Civil Action.’
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In 1999, he appeared as Mel Berman in the TV movie ‘Dash and Lilly’. Later, he played the character of Dr. Whitman in the Scott Hicks mystery romance ‘Snow Falling on Cedars.’ In the new millennium, he had roles in movies such as ‘Dancer in the Dark’ and ‘Sally Hemings’ as well as a guest role in ‘ER.’
In the early 2000s, he had popular roles in hits such ‘Black Hawk Down’ (2001), Hannibal (2001), as ‘Unfaithful’ (2002), and ‘Dogville’ (2003). These movies were critical and commercial blockbusters.
He also appeared in TV series such as ‘The Job’ (2001), ‘Crossing Jordan’ (2002), ‘The Twilight Zone’ (2002), ‘Queens Supreme’ (2003), and ‘The West Wing’ (2003). Ivanek played the role of Andre Drazen, a recurring character in the crime drama ‘24’ for fifteen episodes in 2002.
In 2004, he was seen in the global success ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ as Vaughn Utly. He also appeared in an episode of ‘The Jury’ and ‘Touching Evil’ the same year. In the following year, he had roles in TV series like ‘NYPD Blue’, ‘CSI’, and ‘The Inside’. He also featured in the movies ‘Manderlay’ and ‘Hate’.
Ivanek spent the next couple of years picking roles carefully. He was seen in popular series like ‘Lost’ (2007), ‘Bones’ (2006), and ‘House’ along with hit movies such as ‘In Bruges’ (2008) and ‘Live Free or Die Hard’ (2007).
In the final years of the decade, Ivanek starred in many recurring roles. He was seen as Emile Danko in ‘Heroes’ (2009), JJ in ‘Big Love’ (2009-2010), as Ray Fiske in ‘Damages’ (2007-2010), and as Dr. Linus Wagner in ‘The Mentalist’ (2008-2010).
In 2011 and 2012, Ivanek starred in movies such as ‘Tower Heist’ (2011), ‘Argo’ (2012), ‘The Words’ (2012), ‘The Bourne Legacy’ (2012), and ‘Seven Psychopaths.’ These big-budget productions were hits at the box office, and they made Ivanek a famous figure.
He also starred in a recurring role as Dr. Stafford White in the series ‘The Mob Doctor’ and later as Dr. Calvin Horn in ‘Revolution.’ He also had guest appearances in series such as ‘White Collar’ (2013), ‘Banshee’ (2014), ‘The Americans’ (2014), ‘Legends’ (2014), ‘Banshee Origins’ (2014) and ‘True Blood’ (2014).
In 2014, he was cast as Russell Jackson in Barbara Hall drama ‘Madam Secretary’ for Amazon. He starred alongside Téa Leoni, Tim Daly, and Patina Miller and appeared in six seasons from 2014 to 2019. Despite the show’s poor performance toward the end, Ivanek’s role was noticed by many.
In 2015, he appeared in four episodes of ‘Suits’ as Eric Woodall. He was also seen in the drama mystery ’12 Monkeys’. In 2016 played the role of the Pentagon scientist in the popular film ‘X-Men: Apocalypse.’
In 2017, he was seen in the Martin McDonagh crime drama ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ in 2017. The movie was a global hit and was nominated for several Oscars. Ivanek, too, won several nominations and won the Screen Actors Guild Award.
Major Works
Zeljko Ivanek is most remembered for his strong performances in movies, such as ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’, ‘Seven Psychopaths’, and ‘Argo’. These notable roles have won him several awards, nominations, and generous praise from the critics.
Family & Personal Life
Zeljko Ivanek remains very reserved about his private life and has not revealed any information about his relationships. However, he maintains that he is single and is currently unmarried.


Primetime Emmy Awards
2008 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Damages (2007)

See the events in life of Zeljko Ivanek in Chronological Order

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