Aspired to be a professional dancer since childhood, much to the chagrin of his dockworker father.
At 21, he served as a choreographer for and performed as a dancer with the BBC's Young Generation dance troupe.
Worked as a choreographer for numerous shows, including The Muppet Show.
Earned the nickname "Nasty Nigel" for being a tough audition judge on the Brit TV show Popstars.
Best known for his work as executive producer on a variety of talent-based reality shows, including American Idol (and its UK predecessor, Pop Idol) and So You Think You Can Dance (on which he also serves as judge).
Co-founded the Dizzy Feet Foundation in 2009.
Founded Nigel Lythgoe Productions, a joint venture with 19 Entertainment, in September 2011.
Appointed an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II in her 2015 Birthday Honours.