Born in Canada, John Ireland was raised in New York. Performing as a swimmer in a water carnival, he moved into the legitimate theater, often appearing in minor roles in Broadway plays. Ireland was often featured as a heavy in films. During the early 1950s, Ireland often starred as the emoting, brooding hero, almost exclusively in "B" pictures. From the mid-'50s on. he appeared mainly in Italian "quickie" features and showed up occasionally in supporting roles in major pictures. In his later years, he owned and operated a tiny restaurant, Ireland's, in Santa Barbara, California.