John Lithgow

Academy Award-nominated American film and TV actor John Lithgow gained notoriety with his roles in "The World According to Garp" (1982), "Terms of Endearment" (1983), "3rd Rock from the Sun" (NBC, 1996-2001), and "Dexter" (Showtime, 2006-2013). Lithgow, who was born in Rochester, New York in 1945, was raised in a family that was heavily involved in the theater. His mother was an actress, while his father scraped together a living by managing various small theaters throughout the Midwest. Due to the nomadic nature of his father's career, the Lithgows moved around a lot when John was still a young boy. He spent a great deal of his childhood in parts of Ohio, primarily Yellow Springs and Akron, while his father managed local and college theaters, in addition to running Shakespeare festivals. When John was 16, his father took a job running the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey. So, for the first time in John's life, he had a place he called home. He attended high school in Princeton, and later earned a scholarship to Harvard. Although the theater was a vital part of Lithgow's life growing up, he never saw acting as a vital career choice, and instead went on to study literature and history at Harvard. Lithgow attended Harvard intent on working in visual arts one day. In later interviews, he mentioned how he loved painting and dreamed of one day becoming a painter. During his week at Harvard, however, Lithgow got involved with an acting group on campus and before long was performing in stage productions put on by the university. After a few roles on stage, Lithgow's mind was made up: he was going to become an actor. Lithgow graduated from Harvard magna cum laude in 1967, and shortly after won a Fulbright scholarship to study acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. His experience in London proved to be transformative for Lithgow, and by the time he returned to the states he was ready to take the acting world by storm. Lithgow made his Broadway debut in 1973's "The Changing Room," which earned him his first Tony Award for Featured Actor in a Play. He would appear in several more plays throughout the 70s and 80s, most notably Arthur Miller's "A Memory of Two Mondays" and Rod Serling's "Requiem for a Heavyweight." His stage performances were met with universal praise by critics, but it was the big screen where Lithgow would truly make his mark. Throughout the 1970s, Lithgow gradually made a name for himself in Hollywood with critically-acclaimed performances in films like "Obsession" (1976) and "All That Jazz" (1979). In the decade that followed, however, Lithgow became a bona fide movie star, thanks to a string of memorable roles in several high profile films. These films included "Blow Out" (1981), "The World According to Garp," "Terms of Endearment," "Footloose" (1984), "The Manhattan Project" (1986), and "Harry and the Hendersons" (1987). Lithgow continued working steadily in films throughout the mid-90s, sometimes appearing in up to five films a year, as he did in 1993. By 1996, however, Lithgow had become exhausted by the constant travel that being a movie actor required. So he decided to venture into TV, seeing as it was a stable acting job that required no travel. In 1996 Lithgow began appearing as Dr. Dick Solomon, an alien posing as a human man, on the NBC science-fiction sitcom "3rd Rock from the Sun." The show was a hit with both audiences and critics, with Lithgow taking home three Emmy Awards during the show's six season run. After "3rd Rock from the Sun" ended in 2001, Lithgow earned praise for his roles in films like "Kinsey" (2004) and "Dreamgirls" (2006), but it was his guest starring role on "Dexter" in 2009 that would truly wow people. Lithgow played the serial killer Arthur Mitchell, also known as the "Trinity Killer," during the show's fourth season. His role as the villain earned widespread acclaim and as a result Lithgow took home an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. By the 2010s, Lithgow had been acting in films and movies for nearly 50 years, but had shown no signs of slowing down. In addition to earning critical praise for his roles in films like "Interstellar" (2014) and "Beatriz at Dinner" (2017), he also played the iconic British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on the Netflix historical series "The Crown" (Netflix, 2016- ). By the end of the decade, Lithgow had been working harder than ever. In 2019 alone he appeared in four films: "Late Night," "The Tomorrow Man," "Pet Sematary," and "Bombshell." In the latter film, Lithgow played Roger Ailes, the powerhouse cable news mogul who ran Fox News from 1996 to 2016. "Bombshell" premiered in late 2019.