Chicago Fire’s Gary Cole celebrates his birthday

CHICAGO FIRE -- "Slamigan" Episode 610 -- Pictured: Gary Cole as Chief Carl Grissom -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC)
CHICAGO FIRE -- "Slamigan" Episode 610 -- Pictured: Gary Cole as Chief Carl Grissom -- (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/NBC) /

Chicago Fire recurring guest star Gary Cole celebrates his birthday Thursday, so we’re celebrating him and his character, new commissioner Carl Grissom.

Today is the birthday of Chicago Fire guest star Gary Cole, who portrays the show’s newly minted fire commissioner Carl Grissom. And while his character has been getting on our nerves, the actor is a very awesome guy with more than one connection to One Chicago.

Cole was introduced last season in the recurring role of Grissom, an old friend of Benny Severide’s who served as a mentor to Benny’s son Kelly (Taylor Kinney).

Grissom wanted to help Kelly move up in the ranks, but Severide wasn’t interested, which made Grissom turn against him briefly.

Though the two appeared to mend fences after a rescue, Grissom then went full bad guy when he competed with Chief Boden (Eamonn Walker) for the soon to be vacant job of fire commissioner, and won.

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He’s the kind of character we can’t wait to see the back of—but Gary Cole has done an unbelievable job playing him with just the right degree of smarminess and charm.

That’s important, because as much as Grissom is a villain, the audience has to understand why Severide looked up to this guy. If we don’t at least grasp the character, then it makes Kelly look stupid for holding him in such high regard (at least until this season).

And Gary Cole, in general, is a brilliant actor who’s been an excellent addition to One Chicago.

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You know him from many roles before he ever came onto Chicago Fire. Some 20 years ago, he was boss from hell Bill Lumbergh in Office Space. He’s also well-known for putting a live cougar in the car as Will Ferrell’s dad in Talladega Nights.

He’s had recurring roles in Veep, The Good Fight, and Suits and also provides the voice for a fan favorite character on Bob’s Burgers.

Oh, and let’s not forget his other One Chicago connection: playing the dad to a much younger Jesse Lee Soffer in The Brady Bunch Movie.

Gary Cole has done a lot over his career, and he’s been excellent in every role that he plays. As much as we can’t stand Carl Grissom, we’re also somewhat grateful for him because we get to see Gary Cole every week. With the new season just around the corner, we probably haven’t seen the last of Grissom, and that’s fine by us because that means more of a wonderful actor in our favorite fandom.

Next. See more of Gary Cole's most memorable roles. dark

Join us in wishing Chicago Fire‘s Gary Cole a happy birthday in the comments! Keep your eyes open for him when Chicago Fire season 7 begins next week.