Biography

Prior to becoming a leading man on the sitcom 3rd Rock From the Sun, this veteran actor had spent the previous two decades as a stage and screen supporting player. The son of a well-known theater producer, Lithgow earned a Tony Award for his 1973 Broadway debut in The Changing Room. Throughout the 1970s, he appeared in at least one show per year on the Great White Way while simultaneously popping up on the big screen in small roles. His Academy Award-nominated turn as a transsexual in 1982's The World According to Garp captured Hollywood's attention, and suddenly Lithgow became an in-demand screen actor. Throughout the 1980s and '90s, Lithgow used his chameleon-like talents to embody villains and victims, sadists and sad sacks, snagging his second Oscar nod for his sensitive turn in Terms of Endearment and generally earning critical raves whether appearing in movies of high quality (Pelican Brief) or high camp (Raising Cane). In the '90s Lithgow conquered a third medium, winning three Emmys during his tenure on 3rd Rock From the Sun. When the series ended, he returned to Broadway after a 14-year absence and won his second Tony for the musical The Sweet Smell of Success. In 2009, he joined the cast of Dexter for its fourth season as a devious serial killer, earning a Golden Globe in the process. When he's not acting, Lithgow has also authored a number of popular kids' books and recorded songs for children.

Fast Facts

  • Made his stage debut at age 6 in his father's production of Henry VI, Part III.
  • Received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. 
  • A 2004 Grammy Award nominee in the Best Spoken Word Album for Children category for his Carnival of the Animals.
  • Inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2005.
  • Has written children's books (among them Marsupial Sue and I'm a Manatee), recorded children's albums (including Singin' in the Bathtub and Farkle and Friends) and hosted children's concerts at Carnegie Hall.

Awards

  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Winner
  • 2002, Tony — Actor (Musical): Winner
  • 1996, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor for a Comedy Series: Winner
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Winner
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 1997, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Winner
  • 1986, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special: Nominee
  • 1973, Tony — Actor, Supporting or Featured (Dramatic): Winner
  • 1983, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 1988, Tony — Actor (Play): Nominee
  • 1996, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: Winner
  • 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Special: Nominee
  • 2005, Tony — Actor (Musical): Nominee
  • 2010, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Winner
  • 1997, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1986, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series: Winner
  • 1998, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2009, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 2010, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Winner
  • 1996, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2012, Tony — Actor (Play): Nominee
  • 1997, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series: Winner
  • 2015, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Male Lead: Nominee
  • 2000, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Nominee
  • 1999, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy: Nominee
  • 2000, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2001, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1995, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special: Nominee
  • 1982, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 1985, Tony — Actor (Play): Nominee

Relationships

  • Arthur Lithgow — Father
  • Jean Taynton — Ex-wife
  • Ian Lithgow — Son
  • Sarah Lithgow — Mother
  • Mary Yeager — Wife
  • Phoebe Lithgow — Daughter
  • Nathan Lithgow — Son

College

  • Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (BA in History and Literature, 1967)

Details

  • Birth Name: John Arthur Lithgow
  • Birth Place: Rochester, NY
  • Birthday: October 19, 1945, Libra
  • Profession: Actor
  • User Rating:4.58 out of 5 (26 ratings)
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