This sensitive actor made a big splash in 1971 in Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got His Gun" and Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show", but his initial career fanfare sputtered and he subsequently starred in TV productions and feature films of dubious artistry. Timothy Bottoms first performed on stage in his home town of Santa Barbara, CA, and toured Europe in 1967 as a member of the Santa Barbara Madrigal Society. He especially scored as Sonny, the football star who beds the coach's neglected wife (Cloris Leachman) in "The Last Picture Show". In 1973, Bottoms offered a good turn as a law student who locks horns with his authoritarian professor (John Houseman) in "The Paper Chase". He went on to appear as Mia Farrow's emotionally and sexually constricted husband in the remake of "Hurricane" (1979). More recently, after some hesitation, he reprised his role as the middle-aged, somewhat emotionally distraught Sonny in Bogdanovich's lackluster sequel "Texasville" (1990).
His TV work began in earnest in 1976 when Bottoms played King David, the Israelite warrior-psalmist in the miniseries "David" (ABC). That same year, he was a white-collar Wall Street type who goes to prison and becomes the "companion" of a lifer in order to survive in "The Moneychangers", an ABC miniseries. Bottoms portrayed a dying track star who spends his last days coaching a girls' track team in "A Shining Season" (CBS, 1979), and had the role of Adam Trask in the 1980 ABC miniseries of "East of Eden". In 1987, he made "Island Sons", an ABC movie-pilot that co-starred his actor brothers Joseph Bottoms, Sam Bottoms, and Benjamin Bottoms. He turned filmmaker in the 90s, making the documentary "Picture This: The Times of Peter Bogdanovich in Archer City, Texas," which aired on Showtime in 1991. By then, Bottoms was starring on the ABC Saturday morning series "Land of the Lost" (1991-93), playing a single father stuck in a prehistoric world. He has since played a private investigator in futuristic L.A. in the 1996 Showtime "Roger Corman Presents" movie "Death Game".