California-born but Texas-raised Thomas Haden Church got his start in entertainment as a DJ in Brownsville, Texas, but acting was his main interest. After a couple of years of successful commercial work in the Lone Star State, he moved to California to pursue acting full-time and landed guest roles on several hit shows, including 21 Jump Street
, China Beach
, before snagging his breakthrough part as dimwit mechanic Lowell Mather on the sitcom Wings
in 1990. Church played lovable Lowell for six seasons before departing to headline his own Fox comedy, Ned and Stacey
, costarring a pre-Will & Grace
Debra Messing. Although short-lived, the underrated series allowed Church to expand his range as he played a despicable cad who still managed to be appealing. When the show was canceled, Church left Hollywood and bought a cattle ranch in Texas, but he still periodically popped up in supporting roles in uneven films, like George of the Jungle
, 3000 Miles to Graceland
. He also wrote, directed and acted in the 2003 pot comedy Rolling Kansas
. Church then semi-retired from showbiz, opting to stay home and raise cattle. However, he did go on the occasional casting call. He nearly landed the lead in Alexander Payne's drama About Schmidt
(the role went to Jack Nicholson), but Payne was so impressed with Church that he cast him as an aging, commitment-phobic playboy in the critically acclaimed indie Sideways
. Church's seriocomic turn earned him Oscar and Golden Globe nods and an Independent Spirit Award, and completely revitalized his career. Soon, he was working more than ever in high-profile projects, both on the big-screen (Spider-Man 3
) and TV, earning an Emmy for his sympathetic performance as a cowboy in the 2006 miniseries Broken Trail.
Despite a couple of misfires (All About Steve
, Imagine That
) since then, Church's career remains in full swing.Thomas Haden Church Fast Facts:
- Worked as a DJ at a Brownsville, TX, radio station.
- Big break was landing the part of dopey mechanic Lowell Mather on the airport comedy Wings in 1990.
- Played outlaw Billy Clanton in the 1993 cowboy flick Tombstone.
- Experienced a career revival and received an Oscar nomination for the acclaimed 2004 dramedy Sideways.
- Is a cattle rancher; first herded cattle at age 13.
- Runs four cattle ranches in Texas and a commercial beef operation.
- Thomas Haden Church Relationships:
- George 'Tex' Quesada - Brother
- Mia Zottoli - Wife
- Cody - Daughter
- Nancy Moreno - Sister
- Thomas Haden Church Awards:
- 2006 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries - Nominee
- 2004 Oscar: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role - Nominee
- 2004 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture - Winner
- 2005 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Nominee
- 2004 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role - Nominee
- 2007 Emmy: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie - Winner
- 2007 Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television - Nominee
- University of North Texas, Denton, TX (BA in Television and Film Production); attended Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX