Michael Zelniker

Michael Zelniker is a Canadian-born actor, director and screenwriter. He is best known for his performance as Red Rodney in Clint Eastwood's Academy Award-winning film, Bird (1988) and as Doug Alward in The Terry Fox Story (1983), for which he won a Genie Award for Best Supporting Actor at the 5th Genie Awards in 1984.[1]

Michael Zelniker
OccupationActor, Screenwriter, Director, Climate Activist
Years active1980s-2010s
Spouse(s)Dea Lawrence

Originally from Montreal, Quebec, Zelniker studied acting and theatre at Dawson College, Dome Theatre.[2]

He also appeared in the films Pinball Summer (1980), Ticket to Heaven (1981), Heartaches (1981), Bird (1988),[3] Glory Enough for All (1991),[4] Naked Lunch (1991),[5] Queens Logic (1991),[5]Mercenary (1996) and Snide and Prejudice (1997), and made guest appearances in the television series The Littlest Hobo, In the Heat of the Night, Murder, She Wrote, Profiler, Strong Medicine, The Dead Zone and Millennium.

He wrote the screenplay for the 1998 film Stuart Bliss, in which he also played the title character.[2] Stuart Bliss was also produced by Zelniker, and won Northampton Film Festival's Best of Fest Award in 1998.

Zelniker wrote, produced and directed Falling, which won Indie Fest USA International Film Festival's Best of Festival Award in 2012. In 2013 he began teaching Acting for Film, Chekhov Technique and Performing Shakespeare at the Los Angeles Campus of the New York Film Academy after teaching Acting for the Camera, Acting Technique and Shakespeare at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy from 2004 to 2013.

In 2018 Zelniker became a climate leader with the Climate Reality Project, trained by former Vice President Al Gore. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Los Angeles chapter.


  1. "Terry Fox Story wins best picture Genie". The Globe and Mail, March 22, 1984.
  2. "Blissful success: Former Montrealer Michael Zelniker is wowing critics and audiences with his new movie Stuart Bliss". Montreal Gazette, August 31, 1998.
  3. "'Bird' who gave jazz new wings". Vancouver Sun (1988), October 12, 1988.
  4. "Banting, Best earned their glory". Windsor Star, October 15, 1988.
  5. "Actor can only dream of Tangiers". Toronto Star, February 6, 1991.

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