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John Lithgow

John Lithgow

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Also Known As: John Arthur Lithgow Died:
Born: October 19, 1945 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Rochester, New York, USA Profession: actor, songwriter, director, singer, musician, playwright

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A versatile character player who was a familiar face in theater, film and on television, actor John Lithgow proved adept with a wide range of material spanning drama, comedy, science-fiction, family fare and thrillers. With a vast array of talents from which to draw, Lithgow ironically had difficulty translating his acting versatility into stardom. He had his start in the theater, performing in numerous Shakespeare productions before making the jump to features in the early 1970s; most notably as a relentless assassin in the Brian De Palma thriller "Blow Out" (1981). But it was his Oscar-nominated performance as a former football player-turned-transvestite in "The World According to Garp" (1982) that propelled him into the limelight, as well as his follow-up performance of the married but still needy lover of an also married Debra Winger in James L. Brooks' Oscar-winning tearjerker, "Terms of Endearment" (1983). Since that time, Lithgow moved smoothly from stage to screen, performing in a variety of different roles, though he occasionally was typecast as an all-too-evil villain in thrillers like "Ricochet" (1991) and "Cliffhanger" (1993). He became a surprise hit on television with the acclaimed...

A versatile character player who was a familiar face in theater, film and on television, actor John Lithgow proved adept with a wide range of material spanning drama, comedy, science-fiction, family fare and thrillers. With a vast array of talents from which to draw, Lithgow ironically had difficulty translating his acting versatility into stardom. He had his start in the theater, performing in numerous Shakespeare productions before making the jump to features in the early 1970s; most notably as a relentless assassin in the Brian De Palma thriller "Blow Out" (1981). But it was his Oscar-nominated performance as a former football player-turned-transvestite in "The World According to Garp" (1982) that propelled him into the limelight, as well as his follow-up performance of the married but still needy lover of an also married Debra Winger in James L. Brooks' Oscar-winning tearjerker, "Terms of Endearment" (1983). Since that time, Lithgow moved smoothly from stage to screen, performing in a variety of different roles, though he occasionally was typecast as an all-too-evil villain in thrillers like "Ricochet" (1991) and "Cliffhanger" (1993). He became a surprise hit on television with the acclaimed sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun" (NBC, 1996-2001), which earned the actor three Emmy awards and a lifetime of recognition. By the time he delivered his award-winning turn as a hard-to-catch serial killer on the acclaimed series "Dexter" (Showtime, 2006- ), Lithgow was considered to be one of the most esteemed and respected actors working in the business.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Interstellar (2014)
2.
 Homesman, The (2014)
3.
 Love Is Strange (2014)
4.
 Casting By (2013)
5.
 This Is 40 (2012)
6.
 Campaign, The (2012)
8.
 Leap Year (2010)
10.
 Dreamgirls (2006) Jerry Harris
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Yellow Springs, OH
1951:
Made stage debut at age six, in his father's production of "Henry VI, Part III"
1967:
Won a Fulbright Scholarship to study drama in England
1969:
Began stage career as a director with the McCarter Theatre (operated by his father)
1972:
Feature acting debut, "Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues"
1973:
Debuted on Broadway in David Storey's "The Changing Room"; won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards
1974:
Starred on Broadway opposite Lynn Redgrave in "My Fat Friend" and opposite Meryl Streep in Arthur Miller's "A Memory of Two Mondays"
1976:
First collaboration with Brian De Palma, "Obsession"
:
Starred as George S. Kaufman in a one-man off-Broadway show "Kaufman at Large"
1982:
Breakthrough role, playing the transsexual football player in "The World According to Garp"; earned first Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination
1983:
First leading role in a feature, the George Miller-directed remake of the classic Twilight Zone episode 'Nightmare at 20,000 Feet' in "Twilight Zone: The Movie"
1983:
Earned second Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his turn as a lawyer who enters into an affair with Debra Winger's character in "Terms of Endearment"
1984:
Played the moralistic anti-dancing, anti-rock pastor in "Footloose"
1985:
Earned a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor in the Broadway production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight"
1986:
Played Walter Burns in the Lincoln Center Broadway revival of "The Front Page"
1986:
Delivered an Emmy-winning turn as a bachelor whose life is altered when he buys 'The Doll'; a segment of the NBC anthology series "Amazing Stories"
1988:
Originated the lead role of a French diplomat in love with a Chinese opera singer in the Broadway production of "M. Butterfly"; earned a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor in a Play
1990:
Appeared (also sang and wrote music) in a music video for children, "John Lithgow's Kid-Size Concert"
1990:
Played Colonel Bruce Derringer in the World War II drama "Memphis Belle"
1992:
Offered a brilliant dual performance in the psychological thriller "Raising Cain"
1993:
Was the villain who hunted Sylvester Stallone in the action-thriller "Cliffhanger"
1996:
Cast as Dr. Dick Solomon, an extraterrestrial scientist and the High Commander on the NBC sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun"; received Golden Globe (1998, 1999), Emmy (1998, 2000, 2001) and SAG (2001) nominations for his role
2000:
Executive produced and had title role in the TNT production "Don Quixote"
2001:
Voiced Lord Farquaad in the animated feature "Shrek"
2002:
Played the role of J.J. Hunsecker in the Broadway production of Marvin Hamlisch's "Sweet Smell of Success"
2002:
Acted in the teen comedy "Orange County"
2004:
Cast in the Broadway production of "The Retreat from Moscow"
2004:
Portrayed the title character's moralistic, rigid father, opposite Liam Neeson in Bill Condon's "Kinsey"
2004:
Received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken word for <i>The World According to Mr. Rogers</i> and <i>Carnival of the Animals</i>
2004:
Portrayed Blake Edwards in the HBO movie "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers"
2005:
Starred in "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," the Broadway musical adapted from the 1988 movie starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin; received a Tony nomination for his role
2008:
Played Joe Keller in a Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons"
2009:
Joined the fourth season of the Showtime series "Dexter" as Arthur Mitchell, a serial killer
2011:
Cast as Barney's (Neil Patrick Harris) father on two episodes of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother"
2011:
Played James F¿¿¿¿¿¿¿ranco¿s Alzheimers-stricken father in "Rise Of The Planet of the Apes"
2011:
Cast in the ensemble romantic comedy "New Year¿s Eve," directed by Garry Marshall
2012:
Starred on Broadway in "The Columnist," by Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn
2012:
Featured opposite Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in "This Is 40," directed by Judd Apatow
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Princeton High School: Princeton , New Jersey -
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art: -
Harvard University: Cambridge , Massachusetts - 1967

Notes

"The things is that stage acting feeds you immediately. It stays fresh because you have the feeling every night that the audience is seeing the play for the first time. They're starting fresh and so are you. It's different every night." --John Lithgow to the Los Angeles Times, May 1, 1988.

"I've always had a sort of innate fear of becoming too well known in any one role. I'm a character actor, and the fun of that is being different every time." --Lithgow to Entertainment Weekly, February 2, 1996.

"It's perfectly logical that I should end up having one of my biggest successes playing an alien--I don't fit many molds. But I enjoy the position of outsider, and I love the comedy that can come from being an outsider." --Lithgow to US, May 1996.

"My plate is full all the time, but I never have the opportunity to choose from ten parts. I do turn down junk. I've played important parts in movies, but rarely the person the story is about. The joy is the work. You can get too hung up on where you are. I'm not preoccupied with the desire to be top banana, but I do want to play bigger parts." --Lithgow to Biography, September 1997.

On the success of his NBC sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun": "It's amazing they can keep a show this fresh for five seasons ... You must credit the writers. After all, the aliens now know how the Kleenex box works." --Lithgow to Parade Magazine, March 12, 2000.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Jean Taynton. Teacher. Married on September 10, 1966; divorced in 1980; mother of Ian Lithgow.
wife:
Mary Yeager. Professor. Second wife; married in 1981; mother of Phoebe and Nathan Lithgow.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Arthur W Lithgow. Producer. Regional theater actor; ran McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey; died of heart failure March 22, 2004.
mother:
Sarah Jane Lithgow. Teacher.
sister:
Robin Lithgow. Teacher.
son:
Ian Lithgow. Actor. Born c. 1971; mother, Jean Taynton; had recurring role on "3rd Rock From the Sun".
daughter:
Phoebe McCurtain Lithgow. Born on June 28, 1982; mother Mary Yeager.
son:
Nathan George Lithgow. Born on September 13, 1983; mother, Mary Yeager.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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