John Lithgow

Actor, Director, Singer
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 ... Read more »
Born: 10/19/1945 in Rochester, New York, USA

Filmography

Actor (121)

The Accountant 2016 (Movie)

Lamar Black (Actor)

Best of Enemies 2015 (Movie)

(Himself)

How I Met Your Mother 2011, 2013 - 2014 (Tv Show)

Actor

Interstellar 2014 (Movie)

Donald (Actor)

Late Night with Seth Meyers 2014 (Tv Show)

Guest

Love Is Strange 2014 (Movie)

Ben (Actor)

Once Upon A Time In Wonderland 2013 - 2014 (TV Show)

Actor

Sangre 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Homesman 2014 (Movie)

Reverend Alfred Dowd (Actor)

Prohibition 2011 - 2012 (TV Show)

Voice

The 34th Annual Kennedy Center Honors 2011 - 2012 (TV Show)

Presenter

The Campaign 2012 (Movie)

Glen Motch (Actor)

This Is 40 2012 (Movie)

Oliver (Actor)

Casting By 2011 (Movie)

Interviewee (Actor)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2011 (Movie)

Charles Rodman (Actor)

Cosby 1995 - 2001, 2009 - 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Dexter 1995 - 2001, 2009 - 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Leap Year 2010 (Movie)

Jack (Actor)

The 2010 Creative Arts Emmy Awards 2009 - 2010 (TV Show)

Presenter

30 Rock 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

Confessions of a Shopaholic 2009 (Movie)

Edgar West (Actor)

The 62nd Annual Tony Awards 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Twenty Good Years 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)

Actor

Dreamgirls 2006 (Movie)

Jerry Harris (Actor)

Einstein's Big Idea 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Narrator

The 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

Kinsey 2004 (Movie)

Alfred Seguine Kinsey (Actor)

The 58th Annual Tony Awards 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

The 57th Annual Tony Awards 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Life's Greatest Miracle 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Narrator

Orange County 2002 (Movie)

Bud Brumder (Actor)

3rd Rock From the Sun 1995 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Actor

Shrek 2001 (Movie)

Lord Farquaad (Voice)

Culture Shock 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Narrator

Rugrats in Paris - The Movie 2000 (Movie)

of Jean-Claude (Voice)

50th Emmy Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

A Civil Action 1998 (Movie)

Judge Skinner (Actor)

Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Homegrown 1998 (Movie)

Robert (Actor)

Johnny Skidmarks 1998 (Movie)

Sergeant Larry Skovik (Actor)

The 52nd Annual Tony Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Gold Rush 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Narrator

Christmas in Washington 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The 1996 Emmy Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The Screen Actors Guild Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

The West 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Voice

47th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The 50th Annual Tony Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The Second Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

46th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

American Cinema 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Frasier 1995 (Tv Show)

Actor

You, Murderer 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

A Good Man in Africa 1994 (Movie)

Arthur Fanshawe (Actor)

Love, Cheat & Steal 1994 (Movie)

Paul Harrington (Actor)

Princess Caraboo 1994 (Movie)

Professor Wilkinson (Actor)

Silent Fall 1994 (Movie)

Dr Harlinger (Actor)

50th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Cliffhanger 1993 (Movie)

Qualen (Actor)

The Pelican Brief 1993 (Movie)

Smith Keen (Actor)

Raising Cain 1992 (Movie)

Carter/ Cain/ Josh/ Margo (Actor)

The 64th Annual Academy Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

At Play in the Fields of the Lord 1991 (Movie)

Leslie Huben (Actor)

Ricochet 1991 (Movie)

Earl Talbot Blake (Actor)

Memphis Belle 1990 (Movie)

Colonel Bruce Derringer (Actor)

Night of 100 Stars III 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The 11th Annual ACE Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

The Ivory Hunters 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Out Cold 1989 (Movie)

Dave (Actor)

The 43rd Annual Tony Awards 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Distant Thunder 1988 (Movie)

Mark Lambert (Actor)

The 42nd Annual Tony Awards 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Harry and the Hendersons 1987 (Movie)

George Henderson (Actor)

The 41st Annual Tony Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Mesmerized 1986 (Movie)

Oliver Thompson (Actor)

The Manhattan Project 1986 (Movie)

John Mathewson (Actor)

Santa Claus: The Movie 1985 (Movie)

B Z (Actor)

2010 1984 (Movie)

Walter Curnow (Actor)

Footloose 1984 (Movie)

Reverend Shaw Moore (Actor)

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension 1984 (Movie)

Lord John Whorfin (Actor)

Terms of Endearment 1983 (Movie)

Sam Burns (Actor)

Twilight Zone - the Movie 1983 (Movie)

Valentine (Actor)

I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can 1982 (Movie)

Mr. Brunner (Actor)

The World According to Garp 1982 (Movie)

Roberta Muldoon (Actor)

Blow Out 1981 (Movie)

Burke (Actor)

All That Jazz 1979 (Movie)

Lucas Sargeant (Actor)

Rich Kids 1979 (Movie)

Paul Philips (Actor)

The Big Fix 1978 (Movie)

Sam Sebastian (Actor)

Secret Service 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

Obsession 1976 (Movie)

Robert LaSalle (Actor)

The Country Girl 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

95 Worlds and Counting (TV Show)

Narrator

Baby Girl Scott (TV Show)

Actor

Don Quixote (TV Show)

Actor

Mom, the Wolfman and Me (TV Show)

Actor

My Brother's Keeper (TV Show)

Actor

Redwood Curtain (TV Show)

Actor

Resting Place (TV Show)

Actor

Secret Service (Movie)

(Actor)

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (Movie)

Narrator (Voice)

The Boys (TV Show)

Actor

The Day After (TV Show)

Actor

The Glitter Dome (TV Show)

Actor

The Oldest Living Graduate (TV Show)

Actor

The Tuskegee Airmen (TV Show)

Actor

The Wrong Man (TV Show)

Actor

Traveling Man (TV Show)

Actor
Art Department (1)

Love Is Strange 2014 (Movie)

Artwork (Art Director)
Music (1)

Love Is Strange 2014 (Movie)

("(Baby) You've Got What It Takes") (Song Performer)

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 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.

Relationships

Ian Lithgow Actor

Son
Born Feb. 3, 1972 Acted together on NBC's "3rd Rock From the Sun"

Arthur Lithgow

Father
Managed McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ Died of heart failure 2004

Sarah Lithgow

Mother

Phoebe Lithgow

Daughter
Born June 28, 1982; mother, Mary Yeager

Nathan Lithgow

Son
Born Sept. 13, 1983; mother, Mary Yeager

Robin Lithgow

Sister

Jean Taynton

Wife
Married Sept. 10, 1966 Divorced 1980

Mary Yeager

Wife
Married 1981

EDUCATION

Harvard University

Cambridge , Massachusetts 1967
President of Gilbert and Sullivan Society; graduated magna cum laude; was in the same dorm as former Vice President Al Gore and actor Tommy Lee Jones

London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art

Awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the prestigious institution

Princeton High School

Princeton , New Jersey

Milestones

2012

Featured opposite Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann in "This Is 40," directed by Judd Apatow

2012

Starred on Broadway in "The Columnist," by Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner David Auburn

2011

Played James Franco’s Alzheimers-stricken father in "Rise Of The Planet of the Apes"

2011

Cast as Barney's (Neil Patrick Harris) father on two episodes of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother"

2011

Cast in the ensemble romantic comedy "New Year’s Eve," directed by Garry Marshall

2009

Joined the fourth season of the Showtime series "Dexter" as Arthur Mitchell, a serial killer

2008

Played Joe Keller in a Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons"

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

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

Portrayed Blake Edwards in the HBO movie "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers"

2004

Received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken word for The World According to Mr. Rogers and Carnival of the Animals

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"

2001

Voiced Lord Farquaad in the animated feature "Shrek"

2000

Executive produced and had title role in the TNT production "Don Quixote"

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

1993

Was the villain who hunted Sylvester Stallone in the action-thriller "Cliffhanger"

1992

Offered a brilliant dual performance in the psychological thriller "Raising Cain"

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"

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

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"

1985

Earned a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor in the Broadway production of "Requiem for a Heavyweight"

1984

Played the moralistic anti-dancing, anti-rock pastor in "Footloose"

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"

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"

1982

Breakthrough role, playing the transsexual football player in "The World According to Garp"; earned first Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination

1976

First collaboration with Brian De Palma, "Obsession"

1974

Starred on Broadway opposite Lynn Redgrave in "My Fat Friend" and opposite Meryl Streep in Arthur Miller's "A Memory of Two Mondays"

1973

Debuted on Broadway in David Storey's "The Changing Room"; won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards

1972

Feature acting debut, "Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues"

1968

Began stage career as a director with the McCarter Theatre (operated by his father)

1967

Won a Fulbright Scholarship to study drama in England

1951

Made stage debut at age six, in his father's production of "Henry VI, Part III"

Starred as George S. Kaufman in a one-man off-Broadway show "Kaufman at Large"

Raised in Yellow Springs, OH

Bonus Trivia

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"The thing 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." – 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, Feb. 2, 1996

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"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 magazine, September 1997

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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 2000

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