Sivakumar came into the industry in 1965 as a supporting actor. In the late 1960s as a lead hero he has starred in few notable Tamil movies such as Kandan Karunai, Thunivae Thozhan and Uyarndha Manidhan. Between 1965 and 1974 he was pre-dominantly playing supporting roles, in the films with M.G.Ramachandran (2 films), Gemini Ganeshan (7 films), Shivaji Ganeshan (14 films) and R.Muthuraman (11 films) in the main lead roles. He has acted in supporting roles alongside Jayalalitha in 7 films which includes Yarukkum Vetkam Illai, Thirumangalyam, Kavalkaran, Shakti Leelai, Ganga Gowri, Motor Sundram Pillai, Annai Velankanni and was romantically paired opposite her in Kandan Karunai and Shri Krishna Leelai. He started getting offers as the solo lead hero from 1974. Some of his successful films with him in lead role in the 1970s include Gumasthavin Magal, Sollathaan Ninaikkiren, Arangetram, Vellikizhamai Viratham, Panathukkaga, Melnaattu Marumagal, Pattikkaattu Raja, Then Sindhudhe Vaanam, Thangathile Vairam, Bhadrakali, Aattukara Alamelu, Bhuvana Oru Kelvi Kuri, Kadavul Amaitha Medai, Enippadigal. The director duo of Devaraj and Mohan directed Sivakumar in lead role in 9 films - Ponnukku Thanga Manasu, Annakili, Uravadum Nenjam, Kavikkuyil, Sainthadamma Sainthadu, Chittu Kuruvi, Rosaappo Ravikkai Kaari, Poonthalir and Isai Paadum Thendral. In fact Kamal Hasan and Rajnikant have played supporting roles in the films with Sivakumar in the lead role between 1972 and 1982.
From 1973 to the early1990s, Sivakumar was a leading actor in Kollywood, acting in successful movies like Annakili, Rosaappo Ravikkai Kaari, Vandichakkaram and Sindhu Bhairavi. He has acted in nearly 200 films till date. He has co-starred with many leading Tamil actors such of three generations, including Sivaji Ganesan, M. G. Ramachandran, Gemini Ganesan, S.S.Rajendran, R. Muthuraman, A. V. M. Rajan, Jaishankar, Ravichandran, Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Vijayakanth, Sathyaraj, Sarath Kumar, Prabhu Ganesan, Karthik Muthuraman, Mohan, Arjun Sarja, Ajith, Vijay, Vikram and Surya Sivakumar. He is a two-time winner of Filmfare Awards for his performances in Rosaappo Ravikkai Kaari, and Vandichakkaram . He is a two time recipient of Tamil Nadu State Film Awards for best actor in films Avan Aval Adhu and Agni Sakshi . His roles in Marupakkam and Sindhu Bhairavi showed his versatility as an actor, with the former winning the Golden Lotus Award for Best Feature Film. In the late 1990s, he ventured into television serials, and is well known for his role as Raadhika's husband in the famous TV serial Chithi.
In recent times, he has ventured into public speaking, giving his opinion on various subjects, including Hindu theology. He has been praised for the fluency and style of his speeches. He has given speeches on Ramayana and Mahabharata, each in 2 hours and 15 mins at Vellalar College for Women, Erode.
Sivakumar is married to Lakshmi and the couple have three children; two sons who are actors, Surya Sivakumar and Karthik Sivakumar, and a daughter Brindha. He is a devout Saiva Hindu and a devotee of Lord Sri Murugan. Sivakumar's elder daughter-in-law, Jyothika is a leading Kollywood actress.Ethanai Manidhargal (1997)Chithi (1999-2001)Annamalai (2002-2005)
Sivakumar is a three-time recipient of Filmfare Awards and a two-time winner of Tamil Nadu State Film Awards.
Filmfare Awards1979 – Best Actor Award for Rosaappo Ravikkai Kaari1980 – Best Actor Award for Vandichakkaram2007 – Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
Tamil Nadu State Film Awards1979 – Best Actor Award for Aval Adhu Avan adhu1982 – Best Actor Award for Agni Sakshi