Lithgow in 2007
John Arthur Lithgow
October 19, 1945
Rochester, New York, U.S.
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
|Occupation||Actor, musician, poet, author|
Jean Taynton (1966–1980)
Mary Yeager (1981–present)
John Arthur Lithgow ( ; born October 19, 1945) is an American actor, musician, and author. Lithgow has received acclaim and many accolades in his career including two Tony Awards, five Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, an American Comedy Award, four Drama Desk Awards and was also nominated for two Academy Awards and four Grammy Awards. Lithgow was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame and American Theater Hall of Fame.
Lithgow is well known for his television roles as Dick Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun and Arthur Mitchell in Dexter as well as for his roles in films Obsession, Blow Out, The World According to Garp, Terms of Endearment, Twilight Zone: The Movie, Footloose, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, Harry and the Hendersons, Raising Cain, Cliffhanger, The Pelican Brief, Shrek, The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, Kinsey, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Homesman, Love is Strange and Interstellar.
On the stage, he appeared in many Broadway productions including the musical adaptation of Sweet Smell of Success and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. In 2007, he made his Royal Shakespeare Company debut as Malvolio in Neil Bartlett's production of Twelfth Night, making him one of the few Americans to work with RSC. He has also recorded music, such as the 1999 album of children's music, Singin' in the Bathtub, and has written poetry and short stories, such as Marsupial Sue, for children. His work for children earned him Grammy Award nominations and two Parents' Choice Silver Honor Awards.
Lithgow was born in Rochester, New York. His mother, Sarah Jane (née Price), was a retired actress. His father, Arthur Washington Lithgow III, was a theatrical producer and director who ran the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey. Because of his father's job, the family moved frequently during Lithgow's childhood; he spent his teenage years in Akron (living at Stan Hywet Hall) and Lakewood, Ohio.
Lithgow attended Harvard College, and graduated with an A.B. magna cum laude in 1967, in history and literature. He lived in Adams House as an undergraduate. Lithgow later served on Harvard's Board of Overseers. Lithgow credits a performance at Harvard of Gilbert and Sullivan's Utopia Limited with helping him decide to become an actor. After graduation, Lithgow won a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Also, after graduation, he served as the Director of the Arts and Literature Department at WBAI, the Pacifica radio station in New York City.
In 1973, Lithgow debuted on Broadway in David Storey's The Changing Room, for which he received both the Tony and Drama Desk Award as Best Featured Actor in a Play. The following year he starred opposite Lynn Redgrave in My Fat Friend, and in 1976 he starred opposite Meryl Streep in Arthur Miller's A Memory of Two Mondays. He was nominated for the Best Actor Tony Awards for Requiem for a Heavyweight (1985) and M. Butterfly (directed by John Dexter, 1988).
In 2002, Lithgow won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of J.J. Hunsecker in the Broadway adaptation of the 1957 film Sweet Smell of Success. In 2005, Lithgow was elected into the American Theater Hall of Fame for his work on Broadway. He was also nominated for a Best Leading Actor in a Musical Tony for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
It was announced in February 2014 that he would return to Central Park's Delacorte Theater and Shakespeare in the Park for the 2014 summer season in the title role of Shakespeare's King Lear directed by Tony Award Winner Daniel Sullivan. The production was the play's first there since 1973 and Lithgow's first time there since 1975, when he had played Laertes.
In Fall 2014, Lithgow returns to Broadway as Tobias in a revival of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance. He stars opposite Glenn Close, Martha Plimpton, Lindsay Duncan, Bob Balaban and Clare Higgins. Tony winner Pam MacKinnon directs the limited 18-week production running at the Golden Theatre.
In 1979, Lithgow portrayed Lucas Sergeant in Bob Fosse's semi-autobiographical movie All That Jazz. The character was loosely based on the real-life director/choreographer Michael Bennett, best known for his work on Dreamgirls and A Chorus Line.
In 1983 and 1984, Lithgow was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances as Roberta Muldoon in The World According to Garp and as Sam Burns in Terms of Endearment. Both films were screen adaptations of popular novels. Lithgow originated the character of Dr. Emilio Lizardo/Lord John Whorfin, an Italian physicist inhabited by an evil alien, which he played in the 1984 cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. In 1984, Lithgow also played a pastor who condemns dancing in Footloose. He later played the role of American space engineer Walter Curnow in 2010, the sequel to the science fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.
In 1983, Lithgow appeared in a remake of the classic Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" in Twilight Zone: The Movie as the paranoid passenger made famous on the television show by William Shatner. In an interview with Bill Moyers Lithgow reveals this role as his favorite of his film career. In 1991, he starred in the movie Ricochet opposite Denzel Washington as Earl Talbot Blake, a criminal seeking revenge against the policeman who sent him to prison. In 1992, he starred as a man with multiple personality disorder in Brian De Palma's film Raising Cain and the narrator in Doctor Seuss Video Classics: Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories, and in 1993, starred as the villainous Eric Qualen in the Sylvester Stallone movie Cliffhanger.
In 1987, Lithgow starred in the Bigfoot-themed family comedy Harry and the Hendersons. In 2002, he narrated Life's Greatest Miracle, a documentary about human embryonic development, while in 2004, he portrayed the moralistic, rigid father of Alfred Kinsey in that year's biopic Kinsey. In 2006, Lithgow had a small role in the Academy Award-winning film Dreamgirls, as Jerry Harris, a film producer offering Deena Jones (Beyoncé Knowles) a film role. He starred in a lead role in the science fiction film Rise of the Planet of the Apes.
As a voice actor, Lithgow voiced the evil Lord Farquaad in the Shrek movie franchise who also appears in Shrek, Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party, Shrek 4-D which was originally Shrek 3-D and used as an amusement park attraction and Shrek the Third. He also was in Confessions of a Shopaholic as Edgar West.
In terms of his television career, Lithgow is probably most widely known for his starring role as Dick Solomon in the 1996–2001 NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in the category Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series in each of the program's six seasons and won three times, in 1996, 1997, and 1999. His son Ian regularly appeared alongside him as Leon, one of his physics students.
Additionally, Lithgow has been nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special for The Day After (1983), and two Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Special for Resting Place (1986) and My Brother's Keeper (1995). Lithgow was approached about playing Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers, but turned it down. Lithgow starred with Jeffrey Tambor in the NBC sitcom Twenty Good Years.
Since 2006 he has starred in Campbell Soup Company's commercials advertising their Campbell's Select premium soup brand.
Lithgow has done extensive work for children, including several books and albums. Some of his book titles are Marsupial Sue, Marsupial Sue Presents "The Runaway Pancake," Lithgow Party Paloozas!: 52 Unexpected Ways to Make a Birthday, Holiday, or Any Day a Celebration for Kids, Carnival of the Animals, A Lithgow Palooza: 101 Ways to Entertain and Inspire Your Kids, I'm a Manatee, Micawber, The Remarkable Farkle McBride, Mahalia Mouse Goes to College and I Got Two Dogs. He also appeared as a guest on the Canadian children's program, Ants in Your Pants.
Lithgow launched into a career as a recording artist with the 1999 album of children's music, Singin' in the Bathtub. In June 2002, Lithgow released his second children's album Farkle and Friends. It was the musical companion to his book The Remarkable Farkle McBride, which tells the story of a young musical genius. Farkle and Friends features the vocal talents of Lithgow and Bebe Neuwirth backed by the Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra. In August 2006, Lithgow released The Sunny Side of the Street, his third children's album and first with Razor & Tie. This album features versions of classic songs from The Great American Songbook including “Getting to Know You” and “Ya Gotta Have Pep”. Produced by JC Hopkins, the album features guest appearances by Madeleine Peyroux, Wayne Knight, Sherie Rene Scott and Maude Maggart. Lithgow also makes occasional appearances on stage and television singing children's songs and accompanying himself on guitar.
On October 1, 2010, Lithgow appeared on Doug Benson's podcast Doug Loves Movies, along with fellow guests Paul F. Tompkins and Jimmy Pardo. He has also appeared on Chris Hardwick's show The Nerdist Podcast.
Lithgow voiced the character of Yoda in the National Public Radio adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. He provided narration for the IMAX film Special Effects: Anything Can Happen. He hosts Paloozaville, a children's Video on Demand program on Mag Rack based on his best-selling children's books. He appeared in the most recent Campbell's SelectSoups commercials, portraying a restaurant waiter serving "customers" in their own household. He often delivers commencement addresses at American universities. Lithgow also appears in Books By You, a children's computer game, and guides them through the steps to finish a pre-designed book.
In 2005, Lithgow became the first actor ever to deliver a commencement speech at Harvard University and received an honorary Doctor of Arts from his alma mater. He was featured at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 4–6, 2009 for performances of Mozart's Requiem with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He narrated some letters written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, some poems, and sections from the Book of Revelation in certain parts of the performance.
In 2011, he performed a dramatic reading of a Newt Gingrich press release on The Colbert Report and made a call to Colbert's annual Atone Phone "by mistake." He also voiced a South Carolina TV ad for Colbert Super PAC humorously attacking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
In September 2011, Lithgow was featured in a one-night only production of Dustin Lance Black's play, 8 — a staged reenactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage — as Attorney Theodore Olson to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.
|1972||Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues||John|
|1974||The Country Girl||Paul Unger||Television film|
|1978||The Big Fix||Sam Sebastian|
|1979||All That Jazz||Lucas Sargent|
|1979||Rich Kids||Paul Phillips|
|1980||The Oldest Living Graduate||Clarence||Television film|
|1980||Mom, the Wolfman and Me||Wally||Television film|
|1980||Big Blonde||Herbie Morse||Television film|
|1982||I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can||Mr. Brunner|
|1982||Not in Front of the Children||Richard Carruthers||Television film|
|1982||The World According to Garp||Roberta Muldoon|
|1983||Terms of Endearment||Sam Burns|
|1983||The Day After||Joe Huxley||Television film|
|1983||Twilight Zone: The Movie||John Valentine||Segment: "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"|
|1984||Footloose||Reverend Shaw Moore|
|1984||The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension||Dr. Emilio Lizardo / Lord John Whorfin|
|1984||2010: The Year We Make Contact||Dr. Walter Curnow|
|1984||The Glitter Dome||Marty Wellborn||Television film|
|1985||Santa Claus: The Movie||B.Z.|
|1986||The Manhattan Project||John Mathewson|
|1986||Resting Place||Kendall Laird||Television film|
|1987||Harry and the Hendersons||George Henderson|
|1987||Baby Girl Scott||Neil Scott||Television film|
|1988||Distant Thunder||Mark Lambert|
|1989||Traveling Man||Ben Cluett||Television film|
|1990||Memphis Belle||Bruce Derringer|
|1990||Ivory Hunters||Robert Carter||Television film|
|1991||L.A. Story||Harry Zell||Scenes deleted|
|1991||The Boys||Artie Marguiles||Television film|
|1991||At Play in the Fields of the Lord||Leslie Huben|
|1991||Ricochet||Earl Talbot Blake|
|1992||Raising Cain||Dr. Carter Nix|
|1992||Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories||Narrator|
|1993||The Wrong Man||Phillip Mills|
|1993||The Country Mouse & the City Mouse||Alexander|
|1993||The Pelican Brief||Smith Keen|
|1993||Love, Cheat & Steal||Paul Harrington|
|1994||World War II: When Lions Roared||Franklin Delano Roosevelt||Television film|
|1994||Silent Fall||Dr. Rene Harlinger|
|1994||Princess Caraboo||Professor Wilkinson|
|1994||A Good Man in Africa||Arthur Fanshawe|
|1995||Redwood Curtain||Laird||Television film|
|1995||My Brother's Keeper||Tom Bradley / Bob Bradley||Television film|
|1995||The Tuskegee Airmen||Senator Conyers||Television film|
|1996||Hollow Point||Thomas Livingston|
|1998||Johnny Skidmarks||Larry Skovik|
|1998||Officer Buckle and Gloria||Narrator|
|1998||A Civil Action||Judge Walter Skinner|
|2000||Don Quixote||Don Quixote de la Mancha/Alonso Quijano||
Also executive producer
|2000||Rugrats in Paris: The Movie||Jean-Claude||Voice|
|2002||Orange County||Bud Brumder|
|2004||The Life and Death of Peter Sellers||Blake Edwards|
|2007||Shrek the Third||Lord Farquaad||Voice|
|2009||Confessions of a Shopaholic||Edgar West|
|2010||Leap Year||Jack Brady|
|2011||Rise of the Planet of the Apes||Charles Rodman|
|2011||New Year's Eve||Jonathan Cox||Uncredited|
|2012||The Campaign||Glenn Motch|
|2012||This Is 40||Oliver|
|2014||Love Is Strange||Ben|
|2014||The Homesman||Reverend Dowd|
|2015||The Good Dinosaur||Poppa||Voice, filming|
|1977||Great Performances||Capt. Thorne||Episode: "Secret Service"|
|1984||Faerie Tale Theatre||Goldilocks' father||Episode: "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"|
|1986||Amazing Stories||John Walters||Episode: "The Doll"|
|1995||Tales from the Crypt||Dr. Oscar Charles||Episode: "You, Murderer"|
|1995||Frasier||Madman Martinez||Episode: "Someone to Watch Over Me"|
|1996–2001||3rd Rock from the Sun||Dr. Dick Solomon||139 episodes|
|2003||Freedom: A History of Us||Various roles||4 episodes|
|2004||My Life, Inc.||Jan van de Bunt||
Episode: " E=mc²: Einstein's Big Idea"
|2006–2008||Twenty Good Years||John Mason||13 episodes|
|2009||Dexter||Arthur Mitchell||12 episodes|
|2009||The National Parks: America's Best Idea||Himself||2 episodes|
|2009||30 Rock||Himself||Episode: "Goodbye, My Friend"|
|2011–2014||How I Met Your Mother||Jerry Whitaker||4 episodes|
|2011||Prohibition||HL Mencken||3 episodes|
|2013||Timms Valley||Ol' Gregory Timms||
|2013–2014||Once Upon a Time in Wonderland||Percy the White Rabbit||
|2014||Drunk History||William Randolph Hearst and George Washington (Benedict Arnold)||Episode: "Hollywood" and "Philadelphia"|
- 1973 The Changing Room
- 1974 My Fat Friend
- 1975 Trelawny of the \"Wells\" (revival)
- 1976 A Memory of Two Mondays
- 1976 Boy Meets Girl (revival; director)
- 1976 Secret Service (revival)
- 1976 Comedians
- 1977 Anna Christie (revival)
- 1978 Once in a Lifetime (revival)
- 1979 Spokesong
- 1980 Division Street
- 1982 Beyond Therapy
- 1985 Requiem for a Heavyweight
- 1986 The Front Page (revival)
- 1988 M. Butterfly
- 2002 Sweet Smell of Success
- 2003 The Retreat From Moscow
- 2005 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
- 2007 Twelfth Night, Royal Shakespeare Company
- 2008 All My Sons
- 2010 Mr. & Mrs. Fitch, Second Stage Theatre
- 2012 The Columnist, Manhattan Theatre Club
- 2012 The Magistrate, Royal National Theatre
- 2014 King Lear, The Public Theater
- Remarkable Farkle Mcbride (2000, Simon & Schuster)
- Marsupial Sue (2001, Simon & Schuster)
- Micawber (2002, Simon & Schuster)
- I'm a Manatee (2003, Simon & Schuster)
- A Lithgow Palooza (2004, Simon & Schuster)
- Carnival of the Animals, (2004, Simon & Schuster)
- Lithgow Party Paloozas!: 52 Unexpected Ways to Make a Birthday, Holiday, or Any Day a Celebration for Kids, (2005, Simon & Schuster)
- Lithgow Paloozas!: Boredom Blasters, (2005, Running Press)
- Marsupial Sue Presents "The Runaway Pancake", (2005, Simon & Schuster)
- Mahalia Mouse Goes to College, (2007, Simon & Schuster)
- I Got Two Dogs, (2008, Simon & Schuster)
Awards and nominations
- Alvin Powell, "Lithgow to speak at Afternoon Exercises: Actor, writer, humanitarian to grace Tercentenary Theatre", Harvard Gazette, 2005-04-07.
- HFPA Nominations and Winners HFPA Nominations and Winners
- "John Lithgow Biography (1945–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- "John Lithgow Biography – Yahoo! Movies". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- Breckenridge, Mary Beth (2013-04-19). "Actor Lithgow Revisits Akron Roots".
- NBC. "'"Former Akronite John Lithgow takes on killer role for 'Dexter. cleveland.com. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- Stupid mistake' changed John Lithgow's life – for the better < News"'". PopMatters. 2006-10-09. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- "Theater Hall of Fame inducts Thompson, Lithgow, others". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- "John Lithgow adds Houston Ballet dancer to his résumé,". The Houston Chronicle.
- Billington, Michael. "Theatre review: 'Twelfth Night', The Courtyard, Stratford-upon-Avon", The Guardian,September 6, 2007
- Cohen, Patricia. "Two Fathers Are Learning Lessons of 'All My Sons' ", The New York Times, November 12, 2008
- Hernandez, Ernio. "Blurb vs. Blog: Lithgow and Ehle are Gossipers 'Mr. & Mrs. Fitch', Opening Off-Broadway Feb. 22" playbill.com, February 22, 2010
- Jones, Kenneth. "John Lithgow Is David Auburn's 'The Columnist', Beginning Broadway Previews April 4" playbill.com, April 4, 2012
- Kozinn, Allan (2014-02-13). "'"Shakespeare in the Park Lineup: ‘Much Ado About Nothing' and ‘King Lear. The New York Times.
- "Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen". PBS. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- John Lithgow a Fatherly Figure for 'Planet of the Apes' Prequel
- "Trinity, a War Machine, and a Slumdog Eying Planet of the Apes: Rise of the Apes". Dreadcentral.com. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- TV: Showtime's 'Dexter' Posts Record-Breaking Ratings
- 2009 Golden Globe Nominees HFPA Nominations and Winners
- "2010 Emmy Nominations Include a Few Horror Favorites". Dreadcentral.com. 2010-07-08. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- Michael Ausiello (2011-02-17). "HIMYM Exclusive First Look: How Barney Met His Father". TVLine. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
-  booksbyyou.com.au
- Beth Potier, "Of mice and manatees: Lithgow charms all: Commencement address gives star treatment by actor, author", Harvard Gazette, 2008-06-16.
- Avery, Mary Ellen (9 June 2005). "Harvard awards 8 honorary degrees". Havard University Gazette.
- The Harvard Crimson Staff (9 June 2005). "Eight to Receive Honorary Degrees". The Harvard Crimson.
- "Honorary Degrees". Harvard University.
- Requiem' an extraordinary Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra tribute to Mozart - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review"'". Pittsburghlive.com. 2009-12-05. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- "John Lithgow Performs Gingrich Press Release - The Colbert Report - 2011-19-05 - Video Clip | Comedy Central". Colbertnation.com. 2011-05-19. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- "Atone Phone - John Lithgow Calls - The Colbert Report - 2011-28-09 - Video Clip | Comedy Central". Colbertnation.com. 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- "Colbert Super PAC Ad - Attack In B Minor For Strings". Colbertnation.com. 2012-01-15. Retrieved 2013-02-26.
- "Prop 8 Play On Broadway Makes Its Debut". The Huffington Post. 2011-09-20. Retrieved March 17, 2012.
- Official website
- John Lithgow at the Internet Broadway Database
- John Lithgow at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- John Lithgow at the Internet Movie Database
- John Lithgow at the TCM Movie Database
- John Lithgow at FEARnet
- Profile of John Lithgow – Downstage Center
- American Theatre Wing – 2005 interview
- 2006 bio article on Lithgow
- Razor and Tie Artist Page
- Razor and Tie Media Page
- TonyAwards.com Interview with John Lithgow
- John Lithgow speaks at the Oxonian Society November 15, 2007
- NYPL gallery of selected stage production photographs, 1967-1988