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Joe Flanigan (born January 5, 1967) is an American television actor best known as Major/Lt. Colonel John Sheppard in Stargate Atlantis.


Early life

Flanigan was born Joseph Dunnigan III in Los Angeles, Californiamarker. He has said that his Dad left his mom "Like the day after I was born" and so his name was changed to Joseph Flanigan after he was adopted by his stepfather, John Flanigan. He has three brothers and four sisters. When he was six years old, his family moved to a small ranch near Reno, Nevadamarker, although his stepfather objected to his ranch being called a "small" farm. Joe responds, "The trouble is, it is a small farm."

From the age of 14, Flanigan attended a boarding school in Ojaimarker, Californiamarker where he appeared in the school's production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He later earned a history degree at the University of Coloradomarker where he was a world-class skier and appeared in Coriolanus. On the advice of a friend, he took acting to overcome his shyness but never planned on an acting career. He spent a year studying at the Sorbonnemarker in Parismarker as part of the Junior Year Abroad program and is fluent enough to joke around with French reporters in French.


After graduation, he pursued a writing career. He worked on Capitol Hillmarker and then briefly for several New York Citymarker publications, including Town & Country and Interview magazine. On the advice of some of his friends, he studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse, was coached by Gerald Gordon, and then moved back to Los Angelesmarker in 1994 to pursue an acting career.

Flanigan had guest roles in numerous television series including Profiler, First Monday, and Sisters, until he got his breakthrough with his current role on Stargate Atlantis as Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, the military leader of the Atlantis Expedition. He lives in Vancouvermarker, Canadamarker, where the series is filmed during the week, and flies to Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker during the weekends where his wife and children reside. He continues to write, and created the stories for the second season episode "Epiphany" and the fourth season "Outcast".

In September 2007,'s SciFi Wire service reported that, "Talent agency UTA filed suit on Sept. 24 against Stargate Atlantis star Joe Flanigan in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that the actor owes $99,225 in commissions, according to The Hollywood Reporter; Flanigan's manager, John Carrabino, told the trade paper about the lawsuit: 'I had no idea they did this. This is the first time I'm hearing about this.'" UTA filed a similar lawsuit against actor Wesley Snipes who was equally surprised. This suit was settled in December 2008.

Flanigan appears in Brooks Institute photographer John Russo's upcoming book About Face. Part of the proceeds are to be donated to Smile Train.

Personal life

Flanigan has been married to Katherine Kousi, an actress/painter, since 1996. They have three sons: Aidan, Truman, and Fergus. They reside in Malibumarker.

An avid outdoorsman, Flanigan enjoys downhill skiing, skate-boarding, surfing, rock climbing, tennis, motorbikes and mountain climbing. He took two prizes in the Waterkeepers' Alliance downhill ski competition at Lake Louise in January 2006, an event fellow Stargate lead Richard Dean Anderson has attended as well. However, Flanigan explains that he decided to stop mountain climbing after he froze his cornea on Mount Rainiermarker. He said at a convention that he realized as a father, "it was irresponsible of me to take those kinds of risks."

He is best friends with Stargate Atlantis co-star Jason Momoa which Momoa has said in many interviews and they often live together while shooting the show in Vancouver. They both live in Malibu separately during hiatus, and enjoy surfing together. He is also good friends with co-star David Hewlett.

He shares his birthday with Stargate Atlantis co-star Paul McGillion.


Year Film Role Other notes
1994 Surgical Strike Reed FMV game
Danielle Steel's Family Album Lionel Thayer
1995 Deadline for Murder: From the Files of Edna Buchanan Scott Cameron
A Reason to Believe Eric Sayles
Sisters Brian Cordovas 1995-1996
1997 The First to Go Peter Cole
Tell Me No Secrets Adam Stiles
Murphy Brown Scott Hamon Episode 10.8 "From Here to Jerusalem"
1998 Man Made Tom Trey Palmer
Dawson's Creekmarker Vince Episodes 2.4 "Tamara's Return" and 2.5 "Full Moon Rising"
Cupid Alex DeMouy Episodes 1.6 to 1.9
1999 The Force
The Other Sister Jeff Reed
Providence Dr. David Marcus Episodes 1.8 to 1.11
2000 Sherman's March Pete Sherman
Profiler Dr. Tom Arquette Episodes 4.12 to 4.15
2002 First Monday Julian Lodge
Farewell to Harry Nick Sennet
Birds of Prey Detective Claude Morton Episode 1.3 "Prey for the Hunter"
Judging Amy Tobin Hayes Episode 4.7 "Damage Control"
2003 111 Gramercy Park Jack Philips
Tru Calling Andrew Webb Episode 1.3 "Brother's Keeper"
Thoughtcrimes NSA Agent Brendan Dean
2004 CSI: Miami Mike Sheridan Episode 2.14 "Slow Burn"
2004-2009 Stargate Atlantis Major/Lt. Col. John Sheppard 100 episodes
2005 Silent Men Regis
2006 Stargate SG-1 Lt. Col. John Sheppard Episode 10.3 "The Pegasus Project"
2007 Women's Murder Club FBI Agent John Ash
2009 Warehouse 13 Jeff Weaver Episode 1.5 "Elements"
2010 Stargate: Extinction Lt. Colonel John Sheppard
Year Title Notes
2005 Stargate Atlantis TV Series episode 2.12 "Epiphany" (story)
2008 Stargate Atlantis TV Series episode 4.15 "Outcast" (story)


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