Terry O’Quinn

Terry O'Quinn Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: Terrance Quinn

Birth Date: July 15, 1952

Age: 71 years old

Birth Place: Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan

Throughout his decades-long career, intense character actor Terry O'Quinn made his mark playing men of determination - everything from law officers and military men to captains of business. Following his film debut in "Heaven's Gate" (1980), O'Quinn moved back and forth with ease between film and television, landing roles in TV movies like "Right to Kill?" (ABC, 1985) and "Roe vs. Wade" (NBC, 1989), while appearing in features like Stephen King's "Silver Bullet" (1985) and "Young Guns" (1988). He achieved cult popularity with "The Stepfather" (1987) and "The Stepfather 2" (1989), playing a sociopathic killer who murders his family. O'Quinn had noted supporting roles in studio films as well, playing Howard Hughes in "The Rocketeer" (1991) and Mayor Clum in "Tombstone" (1993) before landing a regular role as a mysterious ex-FBI agent on the mystery drama series, "Millennium" (Fox, 1996-99). But after a recurring role as FBI Director Kendall on "Alias" (ABC, 2001-06), O'Quinn became a favorite of series creator J.J. Abrams, who asked the actor to join the ensemble cast of the mystery sci-fi hit, "Lost" (ABC, 2004-2010). For six seasons, the actor captivated viewers as the faith-based Locke, who routinely butted heads with his other castaways while earning his place among fans as one of the most intriguing and popular characters on the series. At long last, O'Quinn had risen from a relatively unknown supporting player to a major Emmy Award-winning star.

Born Terrence Quinn in Newberry, MI on July 15, 1952 - he changed his surname to avoid confusion with model and fireman-turned-actor Terry Quinn - he developed an interest in acting while in high school. After attending Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, MI and the University of Iowa, O'Quinn began pursuing work as an actor on stage in regional and national theater. While appearing in a play in Baltimore, MD, he landed a supporting role as an Army captain in Michael Cimino's revisionist Western, "Heaven's Gate" (1980) and contacted a local trainer named Lori for riding lessons. While waiting for his scenes to be shot, O'Quinn's play closed, and he found a job cleaning out Lori's stalls. Over time, the working relationship blossomed into romance, and the couple was married in 1979, shortly before he departed to shoot "Heaven's Gate." Unlike many participants in that film, his career survived the onslaught of negative press that followed its release. The couple also produced two sons; Oliver (born in 1980) and Hunter (born 1982).

O'Quinn busied himself with roles on stage (opposite Faye Dunaway in Sam Shepard's "Curse of the Starving Class") and on television and in film throughout the 1980s. He logged a year on the daytime soap "The Doctors" (NBC, 1963-1982) and landed appearances in several notable productions, including Robert Benton's "Places in the Heart" (1984) as a farmer with Ku Klux Klan connections; and a doctor in the AIDS drama "An Early Frost" (1986). His ability to project a sense of authority made him a natural choice for sheriffs and detectives, in such films as "Stephen King's Silver Bullet," (1985) and "Mrs. Soffel" (1984), as well as military officers and government officials in such feature fare as "Women of Valour" (1986) and "SpaceCamp" (1986).

The following year, O'Quinn caught the attention of critics and audiences alike as Jerry Blake, a homicidal maniac who marries into seemingly normal families and slaughters those who do not meet with his strict beliefs, in Joseph Ruben's underrated thriller "The Stepfather" (1987). O'Quinn received universally excellent notices and an Independent Spirit Award nomination for his chilling portrayal of a cold-blooded killer who lurks behind a mild-mannered facade. The picture gave his career a decent-sized boost. He co-starred in Bob Rafelson's excellent suspense film "Black Widow" (1987) as detective Debra Winger's boss, and as the lawyer who hires Emilio Estevez's posse of twenty-something gunfighters to bring down the heel (Jack Palance) who killed their mentor (Terence Stamp) in "Young Guns" (1988). O'Quinn also appeared in TV movies like "R vs. Wade" (NBC, 1989) and "Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North" (CBS, 1989), starring as North's fictional superior, Aaron Sykes. He also found time for such lower-budgeted efforts as the disturbing horror film "Pin" (1988) and the inevitable and far inferior "Stepfather" sequel, "Stepfather 2: Make Room for Daddy" (1989).

O'Quinn's appearances in the 1990s seemed relegated to TV movies of varying quality such as "Son of the Morning Star" (ABC, 1991) as General George Custer's superior, the real-life General Alfred Terry. However, he did score a few feature highlights, including "Tombstone" (1993) as the mayor of Tombstone, AZ; as a judge in "Ghosts of Mississippi" (1996); and, in a reunion with "R vs. Wade" director Gregory Hoblit, the small role of Yancy in the twist-filled Richard Gere thriller, "Primal Fear" (1999).

By the mid-1990s, O'Quinn was also making regular appearances on episodic television series like "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (syndicated, 1987-1994) and "Homicide: Life on the Street" (NBC, 1993-99), and he made recurring appearances on "Earth 2" (NBC, 1994) and "JAG" (CBS, 1995-2005). Writer-producer "X-Files" (Fox, 1993-2002) creator Chris Carter took a liking to O'Quinn and cast him in different roles for two separate episodes of his paranormal hit series, as well as the 2003 feature film "X-Files: Fight the Future" as an agent with connections to the series' mysterious government agency "The Syndicate." Carter later cast him in "Harsh Realm" (Fox, 1999-2000) as Omar Santiago, a rogue military officer who uses a virtual reality training program to exert dictatorial control over the real world. The show lasted just nine episodes, but Carter's loyalty to O'Quinn carried him to their next joint effort, "Millennium" (Fox, 1996-99), as FBI profiler Lance Henriksen's former partner (and eventual antagonist).

Thing suddenly turned a corner when, in 2002, O'Quinn guest-starred in several episodes of producer J.J. Abrams' espionage-action series "Alias," starring as hard-nosed FBI Assistant Director Kendall, whose true position within the government provided many answers for Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) during the two years that occurred between the series' first and second seasons. He also made several appearances as the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff - replacing John Amos' well-liked Admiral Fitzwallace - on the fifth season of "The West Wing" (NBC, 1999-2006) and made an uncredited appearance as Luke Wilson's boss in the hit comedy "Old School." But despite the regular work, O'Quinn mentioned in an interview that this period was a difficult one for him. A call from the ever loyal Abrams to co-star (without audition) in his new drama was a welcome one.

That series turned out to be "Lost" - one of the biggest pop culture hits of the mid-2000s, and the show that gave O'Quinn the most exposure and meatiest role of his career. O'Quinn played John Locke, a troubled, middle-aged failure whose fears and sense of blind trust have left him the victim of a con artist who posed as his father and stolen his kidney and left him crippled. Once on the show's mysterious island, Locke found himself not only able to walk again, but with a unique connection to the territory's mysteries, which came to a head in the second season with the discovery of a foreboding hatch, complete with a computer that required constant re-setting - or would result in the destruction of civilization. Locke also formed a bond with the island's sinister inhabitants known as the "Others;" by the end of Season Three, it appeared that Locke would abandon his fellow castaways and join their ranks, only to leave them behind and return to his friends with dire warnings. Though O'Quinn occasionally found the character's behavior confusing and even off-putting, his performance was among the show's many highlights, and in 2007, it earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama - he had been previously nominated for the role in 2005. O'Quinn also took home a Saturn Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award - along with his castmates - for his turn as the complicated Locke. In 2010, following the show's final season, O'Quinn earned another Emmy Award nod for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Credits

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live: Cast Diaries

Actor
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2024

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who LiveStream

Actor
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Series
2024
88%

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who LiveStream

Self
Series
2024
88%

Unsung Hero

Actor
Grandpa James
Movie
2024
60%

Ultra City SmithsStream

Voice
Captain Krieger
Series
2021
88%

Christmas SailStream

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Dennis
Movie
2021

FBI: Most WantedStream

Guest Star
Byron LaCroix
Series
2020

EmergenceStream

Guest Star
Richard Kindred
Series
2019
94%

Perpetual Grace LTDStream

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Tom Walker
Series
2019
88%

Couch Surfing

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2018

Mysteries of the MissingStream

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Reality
2017

The Blacklist: RedemptionStream

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2017

New Life

Actor
Dr. Sumrall
Movie
2016

PatriotStream

Actor
Tom Tavner
Series
2015
91%

Secrets and LiesStream

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John Warner
Series
2015
35%

Gang Related

Actor
Sam Chapel
Show
2014

Full Circle

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Jimmy Parerra
Series
2013

Full Circle

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Jimmy Parerra
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2013

The Queen Latifah Show

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Talk
2013

The Arsenio Hall Show

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2013

Gang Related: Extras

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2013

Lamps of Atlantis

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2013

Ring of Fire

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Oliver Booth
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2012

666 Park Avenue

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Gavin Doran
Series
2012
58%

Live! With Kelly and Michael

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Talk
2012

The Chew Presents ABC's Primetime Fall Preview Special

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2012

Ring of Fire

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Oliver Booth
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2012

Curiosity

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2011

Falling SkiesStream

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Arthur Manchester
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2011
79%

Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story

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Mark Miller
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2011

Hawaii Five-0Stream

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2010

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

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2009

The Wendy Williams Show

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2008

Masters of Science Fiction

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Albert Skynner
Show
2007

LostStream

Actor
John Locke
Series
2004
86%

NCISStream

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Marine Col. Will Ryan
Series
2003

Jimmy Kimmel Live!Stream

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Talk
2003

Phenomenon II

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2003

First Monday

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2002

Hometown Legend

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Buster Schuler
Movie
2002

The Locket

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Casey Keddington
Movie
2002

Law & Order: Criminal IntentStream

Guest Star
Series
2001

AliasStream

Guest Star
F.B.I. Assistant Director Kendall
Series
2001
86%

WW3

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Eric Farrell
Movie
2001

American OutlawsStream

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Rollin H. Parker, Rain's Gopher
Movie
2001
13%

Rated X

Actor
J.R. Mitchell
Movie
2000

Harsh Realm

Actor
Sgt. Maj. Omar Santiago
Series
1999
44%

RoswellStream

Guest Star
Series
1999

The West WingStream

Guest Star
General Nicholas Alexander
Series
1999
81%

Murder in a Small Town

Actor
Sidney Lassiter
Movie
1999

The X-FilesStream

Actor
Darius Michaud
Movie
1998
66%

The View

Guest
Talk
1997

Na skraju niewinności

Actor
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1997

Shadow Conspiracy

Actor
Frank Ridell
Movie
1997

On the Edge of Innocence

Actor
Mr. David Walker
Movie
1997

My Stepson, My Lover

Actor
Richard Cory
Movie
1997

Millennium

Actor
Series
1996

Millennium

Guest Star
Series
1996

Primal FearStream

Actor
Bud Yancy
Movie
1996
77%

JAGStream

Actor
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1995

JAGStream

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1995

The Client

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1995

Shadow Warriors

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Dr. Connors
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1995

Justice in a Small Town

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1994

MacShayne: El Gran Golpe

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1994

MacShayne: Winner Takes All

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Danny Leggett
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1994

Don't Talk to Strangers

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1994

Death of A CheerleaderStream

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Ed Saxe
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1994

Justice in a Small Town

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Harris Wiley
Movie
1994

Diagnosis MurderStream

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1993

The X-FilesStream

Guest Star
Lt. Brian Tillman
Series
1993
74%

Born Too Soon

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Dr. Friedman
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1993

Visions of Murder

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Adm. Truman Hager
Movie
1993

Amityville: A New Generation

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Detective Clark
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1993

TombstoneStream

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Mayor John Clum
Movie
1993
72%

My Samurai

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James McCrea
Movie
1993

Trial: The Price of Passion

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1992

Libéralos del Mal: La Toma de Alta View

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1992

The Cutting EdgeStream

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Jack Moseley
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1992
57%

Deliver Them From Evil: The Taking of Alta View

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Sergeant Don Bell
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1992

Sexual Advances

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Cliff Ripley
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1992

The Good Fight

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Henry Cragin
Movie
1992

Son of the Morning Star

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Gen. Aldred Terry
Show
1991

The Last to Go

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Daniel
Movie
1991

Shoot First: A Cop's Vengeance

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Sergeant Nicholas
Movie
1991

The Rocketeer

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Howard Hughes
Movie
1991

Prisoners of the Sun

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Major Beckett
Movie
1991

Company Business

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Colonel Pierce Grissom
Movie
1991

El Elegido

Actor
Movie
1990

Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception

Actor
Curt Mitchell
Movie
1990

Kaleidoscope

Actor
Henry
Movie
1990

The Forgotten One

Actor
Bob Anderson
Movie
1990

Le Coeur en équilibre

Actor
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1990

Tales From the Crypt

Actor
Series
1989
82%

El Padrastro II

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1989

Blind Fury

Actor
Frank Devereaux
Movie
1989

Stepfather II

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The Stepfather
Movie
1989

Demencia Mortal II

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1989

Pin

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Dr. Linden
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1988

Young GunsStream

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Alex McSween
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1988
41%

Afecto Mortal

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1988

Stranger on My Land

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Connie Priest
Movie
1988

Star Trek: The Next GenerationStream

Guest Star
Adm. Eric Pressman
Series
1987
92%

Jake and the Fatman

Guest Star
Series
1987

Black Widow

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Bruce
Movie
1987

The Stepfather

Actor
Jerry Blake
Movie
1987

When the Time Comes

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Wes Travis
Movie
1987

MatlockStream

Guest Star
Series
1986

Women of Valor

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Maj. Tom Patterson
Movie
1986

Between Two Women

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Dr. Wallace
Movie
1986

SpaceCamp

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Launch Director
Movie
1986

The Twilight Zone

Actor
Series
1985

Right to Kill?

Actor
Jim Barrett
Movie
1985

Silver Bullet

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Sheriff Joe Haller
Movie
1985

Mischief

Actor
Claude Harbrough
Movie
1985

Miami ViceStream

Guest Star
Series
1984
71%

Places in the HeartStream

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Buddy Kelsey
Movie
1984
89%

Mrs. Soffel

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Detective Buck McGovern
Movie
1984

Jacobo Timerman: Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number

Actor
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1983

F.D.R. -- The Last Year

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James Roosevelt
Movie
1980

Tales of the Unexpected

Actor
Cop
Show
1979

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