John Lithgow

John Lithgow Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: John Arthur Lithgow

Birth Date: October 19, 1945

Age: 78 years old

Birth Place: Rochester, New York

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.

Credits

Art Happens Here

Host
Special
2024

CabriniStream

Actor
Mayor Gould
Movie
2024
89%

Conclave

Actor
Cardinal Tremblay
Movie
2024

Dick Van Dyke: 98 Years of MagicStream

Self
Special
2023

The Road Less Travelled

Self
Docuseries
2023

Killers of the Flower MoonStream

Actor
Prosecutor Leaward
Movie
2023
93%

SharperStream

Actor
Richard Hobbes
Movie
2023
69%

Sherri

Guest
Talk
2022

The Old ManStream

Actor
Harold Harper
Series
2022
97%

Live in Front of a Studio Audience

Actor
Mr. Drummond
Special
2021

CBS Mornings

Guest
News
2021

Common Ground With Jane Whitney

Guest
Show
2021

Emily @ the Edge of Chaos

Voice
Sir Isaac Newton
Movie
2021

Perry MasonStream

Actor
Elias Birchard "E.B." Jonathan
Series
2020
79%

Perry Mason FREE

Actor
Elias Birchard "E.B." Jonathan
Show
2020

GMA3: What You Need to Know

Guest
Show
2020

The Kelly Clarkson ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2019

The Investigation- A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts

Actor
Show
2019

Strahan & Sara

Guest
Show
2019

Pet SemataryStream

Actor
Jud Crandall
Movie
2019
56%

The Tomorrow ManStream

Actor
Ed
Movie
2019
42%

Late Night

Actor
Walter Lovell
Movie
2019

BombshellStream

Actor
Roger Ailes
Movie
2019
68%

On Broadway

Self
Movie
2019

Firing Line with Margaret Hoover

Guest
News
2018

James Cameron's Story of Science FictionStream

Guest
Docuseries
2018
83%

The Great Celebrity Bake Off: Stand Up To Cancer

Contestant
Show
2018

Life on Mars

Host
Show
2018

Daily Blast Live

Guest
Show
2017

Live with Kelly and Ryan

Guest
Talk
2017

Trial & ErrorStream

Actor
Larry Henderson
Series
2017

Trial & Error: Extras

Actor
Larry Henderson:
Show
2017

Pitch Perfect 3Stream

Actor
Fergus
Movie
2017
28%

Daddy's Home 2Stream

Actor
Don
Movie
2017
21%

Beatriz at DinnerStream

Actor
Doug Strutt
Movie
2017
76%

The CrownStream

Actor
Sir Winston Churchill
Series
2016
86%

The Crown: Behind the Palace Doors

Actor
Sir Winston Churchill
Show
2016

Paloozaville Cook

Actor
Show
2016

Harry

Guest
Talk
2016

Today's Take

Guest
Show
2016

Ode to Joy: Beethoven's Symphony No. 9

Narrator
Show
2016

The AccountantStream

Actor
Lamar Blackburn
Movie
2016
52%

Miss SloaneStream

Actor
Senator Ronald Sperling
Movie
2016
76%

The Pulitzer at 100

Self
Movie
2016

Ode to Joy

Narrator
Show
2015

The Daily Show with Trevor NoahStream

Guest
Talk
2015

The Late Show With Stephen ColbertStream

Guest
Talk
2015

Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter

Guest
Show
2015

The Late Late Show With James Corden

Guest
Talk
2015

Variety Studio: Actors on Actors

Guest
Show
2014

Filmens verden: Interstellar

Actor
Show
2014

El cine de La 2

Actor
Show
2014

Projections of America

Narrator
Show
2014

The Roosevelts: An Intimate HistoryStream

Voice
Docuseries
2014

Late Night With Seth MeyersStream

Guest
Talk
2014

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy FallonStream

Guest
Talk
2014

InterstellarStream

Actor
Donald
Movie
2014
73%

Love Is Strange

Actor
Ben
Movie
2014

The Homesman

Actor
Rev. Alfred Dowd
Movie
2014

The Jungle Bunch 2: The Great Treasure Quest

Voice
Movie
2014

Projections of America

Narrator
Movie
2014

DreamWorks Shrek Stories

Actor
Show
2013

Once Upon a Time in WonderlandStream

Voice
White Rabbit
Series
2013
63%

Classical:Poetry

Actor
Show
2013

omg! Insider

Guest
Show
2013

DreamWorks Spooky Stories

Actor
Show
2012

Live! With Kelly and Michael

Guest
Talk
2012

Shrek's Thrilling Tales

Voice
Lord Farquad
Show
2012

Finding Your RootsStream

Guest
Reality
2012

Paloozaville Craft

Actor
Show
2012

Moyers & CompanyStream

Guest
Talk
2012

CBS This Morning

Guest
Show
2012

The Campaign

Actor
Glenn Motch
Movie
2012

This is 40Stream

Actor
Oliver
Movie
2012
51%

The Jungle Bunch: The Movie

Voice
Maurice
Movie
2012

LIVE with Kelly

Guest
Talk
2011

The Chew

Guest
Talk
2011

Q With Jian Ghomeshi

Guest
Show
2011

Vine Talk

Guest
Show
2011

Rise of the Planet of the ApesStream

Actor
Charles Rodman
Movie
2011
82%

ConanStream

Guest
Talk
2010

The Talk

Guest
Talk
2010

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight

Guest
Show
2010

LouieStream

Guest Star
Funny Man
Series
2010
93%

Leap YearStream

Actor
Jack
Movie
2010
93%

The Project

Guest
Show
2009

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Talk
2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

Actor
Edgar West
Movie
2009

The Macabre World of Lavender Williams

Actor
God
Movie
2009

Classical Baby (I'm Grown Up Now): The Poetry Show

Voice
Himself
Show
2008

Twenty Good Years

Actor
Dr. John Mason
Show
2006

30 RockStream

Guest Star
John Lithgow
Series
2006
78%

DexterStream

Actor
Arthur Mitchell
Series
2006
71%

DexterStream

Guest Star
Arthur Mitchell
Series
2006
71%

The One Show

Guest
Show
2006

Paloozaville

Actor
Show
2006

etalk

Guest
Show
2006

DreamgirlsStream

Actor
Jerry Harris
Movie
2006
79%

Heroes of Comedy

Guest Star
Show
2005

The Colbert Report

Guest
Talk
2005

How I Met Your MotherStream

Guest Star
Jerry Whitaker
Series
2005
84%

Entertainment Tonight Canada

Guest
Show
2005

Tavis Smiley

Guest
Talk
2004

KinseyStream

Actor
Alfred Sequine Kinsey
Movie
2004
90%

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

Actor
Blake Edwards
Movie
2004

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

Guest
Talk
2003

Orange County

Actor
Bud Brumder
Movie
2002

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

ShrekStream

Voice
Lord Farquaad
Movie
2001
88%

Don Quixote

Actor
Don Quixote de La Mancha/Alonso Quixano
Movie
2000

Don Quixote

Co-Executive Producer
Movie
2000

Rugrats in Paris: The Movie

Voice
Jean-Claude
Movie
2000

Don Quijote

Actor
Movie
2000

Don Quijote

Executive Producer
Movie
2000

Officer Buckle and Gloria

Narrator
Show
1999

The Early Show

Guest
Show
1999

Johnny Skidmarks

Actor
Sergeant Larry Skovik
Movie
1998

HomegrownStream

Actor
Malcolm/Robert Stockman
Movie
1998
44%

A Civil ActionStream

Actor
Judge Walter J. Skinner
Movie
1998
63%

The View

Guest
Talk
1997

Theater Talk

Guest
Show
1996

3rd Rock from the SunStream

Actor
Dr. Dick Solomon
Series
1996

Hollow Point

Actor
Thomas Livingston
Movie
1996

Special Effects

Narrator
Movie
1996

My Brother's Keeper

Actor
Tom Bradley / Bob Bradley
Movie
1995

Redwood Curtain

Actor
Laird Riordan
Movie
1995

The Tuskegee AirmenStream

Actor
Senator Conyers
Movie
1995
86%

The Tuskegee Airman

Actor
Senator Conyer
Movie
1995

Cortina de Secuoyas

Actor
Movie
1995

World War II: When Lions Roared

Actor
Show
1994

II Guerra Mundial: Quando os Leões Rugem - Volume 2

Actor
Show
1994

Traición Sin Límites

Actor
Movie
1994

La Traición II

Actor
Movie
1994

Love, Cheat & Steal

Actor
Paul Harrington
Movie
1994

Princess Caraboo

Actor
Professor Wilkinson
Movie
1994

Silent FallStream

Actor
Dr. Rene Harlinger
Movie
1994
26%

A Good Man in Africa

Actor
Arthur Fanshawe
Movie
1994

FrasierStream

Guest Star
Madman Martinez
Series
1993
95%

FrasierStream

Guest Voice
Madman Martinez
Series
1993
95%

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Narrator
Show
1993

Love, Cheat and Steal

Actor
Movie
1993

CliffhangerStream

Actor
Eric Qualen
Movie
1993
68%

The Wrong Man

Actor
Phillip Mills
Movie
1993

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble

Narrator
Movie
1993

The Pelican BriefStream

Actor
Smith Keen
Movie
1993
54%

Raising Cain

Actor
Carter/Cain/Dr. Nix/Josh/Margo
Movie
1992

Charlie RoseStream

Guest
Talk
1991

The Boys

Actor
Artie Margulies
Movie
1991

RicochetStream

Actor
Earl Talbot Blake
Movie
1991
74%

At Play in the Fields of the Lord

Actor
Leslie Huben
Movie
1991

Ricochet: Venganza Sin Límites

Actor
Movie
1991

L'ambition ou la mort

Actor
Movie
1990

The Last Elephant

Actor
Robert Carter
Movie
1990

Memphis BelleStream

Actor
Lt. Col. Bruce Derringer
Movie
1990
68%

Ivory Hunters

Actor
Robert Carter
Movie
1990

The SimpsonsStream

Guest Voice
Self
Series
1989
85%

The Joan Rivers ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1989

Tales From the Crypt

Actor
Series
1989
82%

Out Cold

Actor
Dave
Movie
1989

Traveling Man

Actor
Ben Cluett
Movie
1989

Distant Thunder

Actor
Mark Lambert
Movie
1988

Harry and the Hendersons

Actor
George Henderson
Movie
1987

Big Foot et les Henderson

Actor
Movie
1987

Baby Girl Scott

Actor
Neil Scott
Movie
1987

Juego Mortal

Actor
Movie
1986

Resting Place

Actor
Maj. Kendall Laird
Movie
1986

The Manhattan ProjectStream

Actor
John Mathewson
Movie
1986
50%

Amazing StoriesStream

Actor
Series
1985

Amazing Stories: The Movie II

Actor
John Walters
Movie
1985

Santa Claus

Actor
B.Z.
Movie
1985

FootlooseStream

Actor
Reverend Shaw Moore
Movie
1984

The Glitter Dome

Actor
Sgt. Marty Wellborn
Movie
1984

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th DimensionStream

Actor
Doctor Emilio Lizardo/Lord John Whorfin
Movie
1984
66%

2010

Actor
Dr. Walter Curnow
Movie
1984

Mesmerized

Actor
Oliver Thompson
Movie
1984

The Day After

Actor
Joe Huxley
Movie
1983
83%

Twilight Zone: The Movie

Actor
John Valentine
Movie
1983

Terms of EndearmentStream

Actor
Sam Burns
Movie
1983
81%

Le Jour après

Actor
Movie
1983

Not in Front of the Children

Actor
Richard Carruthers
Movie
1982

The World According to GarpStream

Actor
Roberta Muldoon
Movie
1982
71%

Blow OutStream

Actor
Burke
Movie
1981
87%

Big Blonde

Actor
Movie
1980

Mom, the Wolfman, and Me

Actor
Wally
Movie
1980

The Oldest Living Graduate

Actor
Clarence
Movie
1980

CBS News Sunday Morning

Guest
News
1979

Rich Kids

Actor
Paul Philips
Movie
1979

The Big Fix

Actor
Sam Sebastian
Movie
1978

Secret Service

Actor
Capt. Thorne
Movie
1977

Obsession

Actor
Robert Lasalle
Movie
1976

Good Morning America

Guest
News
1975

Saturday Night LiveStream

Host
Series
1975

The Country Girl

Actor
Paul Unger
Show
1974

Bill Moyers Journal

Guest
News
1972

Great PerformancesStream

Host
Franchise
1972

Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues

Actor
John
Movie
1972

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny CarsonStream

Guest
Talk
1962

Today

Guest
News
1952

News aboutJohn Lithgow

John Lithgow

‘Art Happens Here’: John Lithgow Offers Artistic Pursuits for His Characters From ‘Dexter’ & More (VIDEO)

William Shatner and John Lithgow on 3rd Rock from the Sun

John Lithgow & William Shatner Pulled Epic Prank on ‘3rd Rock From the Sun’ Set (VIDEO)

emmy-predictions-2024-drama-series-actor-actress
Emmys

2023 Emmy Predictions for Drama Series & Performances: Matt Roush’s Picks

Lily Gladstone, Robert De Niro, and Leo DiCaprio in 'Killers of the Flower Moon'

‘Killers of the Flower Moon’: How to Stream Hit Movie on TV

Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown

As ‘The Crown’ Ends, What Are Its Former Stars Up To?

'Killers of the Flower Moon' stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, and Jesse Plemons on TV

‘Killers of the Flower Moon’: Where to Watch the Stars on TV

The Old Man Jeff Bridges
Review

Roush Review: This ‘Old Man’ Is One Lethal Dude

Jeff Bridges in The Old Man on FX

‘The Old Man’ Trailer: Jeff Bridges Stars in Action-Packed FX Thriller (VIDEO)

Jeff Bridges at Living In the Future's Past Premiere

Jeff Bridges’ ‘The Old Man’ Series Reveals FX Premiere Date

'Dexter: New Blood,' Showtime, Michael C. Hall as Dexter

‘Dexter: New Blood’ Becomes Showtime’s Most-Watched Series Ever

Diff'rent Strokes and Facts of Life live

All the Must-See Moments From ‘Facts of Life’ & ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ Live

The Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes Live casts Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Hart, and Kathryn Hahn

Who’s Playing Who in the ‘Diff’rent Strokes’ & ‘Facts of Life’ Live Episodes (PHOTOS)

Jennifer Carpenter attends the May It Last: A Portrait Of The Avett Brothers

Jennifer Carpenter to Return for Showtime’s ‘Dexter’ Revival

Dexter Season 4 Finale Michael C Hall John Lithgow Trinity Killer

‘Dexter’ Revival: John Lithgow Is Returning as the Trinity Killer

John Lithgow - Trinity Killer - Dexter

Our Favorite ‘Dexter’ Adversaries Ahead of the Show’s Killer Revival

Teri Hatcher in The Great Celebrity Bake Off

8 of Our Favorite ‘Great Celebrity Bake Off’ Star Turns, From Teri Hatcher to James Blunt

Jeff Bridges attends a Big Lebowski at Screening TCM Classic Film Festival

FX Sends Support to Jeff Bridges After Lymphoma Diagnosis

John Lithgow in Perry Mason Episode 4
Spoiler Alert

John Lithgow Delivers a Masterful Performance in ‘Perry Mason’ Episode 4 (RECAP)

Shea Whigham and Matthew Rhys in Perry Mason
Review

Roush Review: Rhys Rocks in a Bold New Twist on ‘Perry Mason’

Perry Mason ATX Panel
Preview

Watch the ‘Perry Mason’ ATX Panel, Including Robert Downey Jr.’s Cameo! (VIDEO)

John Lithgow - Trial & Error

Already Miss ‘Trial & Error’? Check Out Its Web Spinoff, ‘Murder Now’

Trial & Error - John Lithgow, meet the crew

‘Trial & Error’ Stunt Double Turns John Lithgow Into an 8-Wheeled Roller-Skating Demon

Best Lines of the Week - March 17-23

Best Lines on TV This Week (March 17-23): ‘No. I Said I was Done With You. I Meant That.’

Trial & Error
Review

Roush Review: John Lithgow Guilty of Scene-Stealing in ‘Trial & Error’

John Lithgow - NBCUniversal Events - Season 2017

John Lithgow on His Roller-Skating (and Possibly Murderous) Poet in the Comedy ‘Trial & Error’

Claire Foy and Matt Smith in The Crown

Roush Review: The Woman Behind ‘The Crown’

Powerless - Season Pilot

NBC Orders ‘Trial & Error’, DC Comics Comedy ‘Powerless’ to Series

Actor 180-Bryan Cranston

Actor 180s: 10 Stars Who Proved Their Versatility With Wildly Different Roles