John Lithgow - Rotten Tomatoes

John Lithgow



A distinguished actor of stage, television, and movies who is at home playing everything from menacing villains, big-hearted transsexuals, and loopy aliens, John Lithgow is also a composer and performer of children's songs, a Harvard graduate, a talented painter, and a devoted husband and father: in short, he is a true Renaissance man.

Once hailed by the Wall Street Journal as "the film character actor of his generation," Lithgow is the son of a theater director who once headed Princeton's McCarter Theater and produced a series of Shakespeare festivals in Ohio, where Lithgow was six when he made his first theatrical bow in Henry VI, Part 3. His parents raised Lithgow in a loving home that encouraged artistic self-expression and took a broad view of the world. As a youth, Lithgow was passionate about painting and at age 16, he was actively involved with the Art Students League in New York. When the acting bug bit, Lithgow's father was supportive. After Lithgow graduated from Harvard, he received a Fulbright scholarship to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art; while in England, Lithgow also worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and for the Royal Court Theatre. He returned to the U.S. in the early '70s and worked on Broadway where he won his first Tony and a Drama Desk Award for his part in The Changing Room (1973). Lithgow remained in New York for many years, establishing himself as one of Broadway's most respected stars and would go on to appear in at least one play per year through 1982. He would subsequently receive two more Tony nominations for Requiem for a Heavyweight and M. Butterfly. He made his first film appearance in Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues (1972). The film itself was an inauspicious affair as were his other subsequent early efforts, though by the early '80s, his film roles improved and diversified dramatically. Though capable of essaying subtle, low-key characters, Lithgow excelled in over-the-top parts as the next decade in his career demonstrates.

He got his first real break and a Best Supporting Actor nomination when he played macho football player-turned-sensitive woman Roberta Muldoon in The World According to Garp (1982). In 1983, he provided one of the highlights of Twilight Zone--The Movie as a terrified airline passenger and earned a second Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination in Terms of Endearment where he appeared with Shirley Maclaine and Jack Nicholson, as well as playing a fiery preacher in Footloose. That year, he won his first Emmy nomination for his work in the scary nuclear holocaust drama The Day After. In 1984, he played the crazed Dr. Lizardo in the cult favorite The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai. In Ricochet (1992), Lithgow proved himself a terrifying villain with his portrayal of a psychopathic killer hell-bent for revenge against Denzel Washington, the man who incarcerated him. In 1990, he made Babysong video tapes of his performing old and new children's songs on the guitar and banjo. Though he had already established himself on television as a guest star, Lithgow gained a large and devoted following when he was cast as an alien captain who, along with his clueless crew, attempts to pass for human in the fresh, well-written NBC sitcom Third Rock From the Sun (1996). The role has won him multiple Emmys and Golden Globe awards. When that show's run ended in 2001, Lithgow kept busy with roles in such high-profile features as The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004) (in which he essayed the role of comedy legend Blake Edwards), Kinsey, Dreamgirls, and Leap Year. Yet through it all the small screen still beckoned, and in 2010 the Lithgow won an Emmy for his role as Arthur Mitchell (aka The Trinity Killer) on the hit Showtime series Dexter. A poignant turn as a once-brilliant scientist stricken with Alzheimer's disease revealed a gentler side of Lithgow in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and in 2012 he reminded

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Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Beatriz at Dinner
  • Actor
2017
70% Miss Sloane
  • Senator Sperling
2016
51% The Accountant
  • Lamar Blackburn
2016
94% Best Of Enemies
  • Actor
2015
No Score Yet Projections Of America
  • Actor
2015
81% The Homesman
  • Reverend Alfred Dowd
2014
71% Interstellar
  • Donald
2014
95% Love Is Strange
  • Ben
2014
No Score Yet The Jungle Bunch 2: The Great Treasure Quest
  • Maurice
2014
93% Casting By
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love
  • Actor
2013
No Score Yet The Jungle Bunch: The Movie
  • Maurice
2013
No Score Yet National Theatre Live: The Magistrate, Encore
  • Actor
2013
51% This is 40
  • Oliver
2012
64% The Campaign
  • Glenn Motch
2012
No Score Yet National Theater Live: The Magistrate
  • Actor
2012
82% Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Charles Rodman
2011
21% Leap Year
  • Jack
2010
25% Confessions of a Shopaholic
  • Edgar
2009
No Score Yet Strega Nona ... and More Stories About Magic
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet NOVA
  • Narrator
2007
78% Dreamgirls
  • Jerry Harris
2006
No Score Yet Bark, George... and More Doggie Tails
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Sylvester and the Magic Pebble ... and More Magical Tales
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet The Emperor's New Clothes ... and More Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales
  • Actor
2005
90% Kinsey
  • Alfred Seguine Kinsey
2004
77% The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
  • Blake Edwards
2004
No Score Yet Shrek 4-D (Shrek 3-D)
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet Harry the Dirty Dog...and More Playful Puppy Stories
  • Actor
2003
No Score Yet Secret Service
  • Actor
2002
46% Orange County
  • Bud Brumder
2002
88% Shrek
  • Lord Farquaad
2001
No Score Yet Creating a Fairy Tale World: The Making of Shrek
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet NOVA
  • Narrator
2001
75% Rugrats in Paris - The Movie
  • Jean-Claude
2000
No Score Yet Don Quixote
  • Executive Producer
  • Don Quixote
2000
60% A Civil Action
  • Judge Walter J. Skinner
1998
No Score Yet Johnny Skidmarks
  • Sgt. Larry Skovik
1998
47% Homegrown
  • Malcolm/Robert
1998
No Score Yet Special Effects
  • Narrator
1996
No Score Yet Hollow Point
  • Livingston
1995
86% The Tuskegee Airmen
  • Sen. Conyers
1995
No Score Yet Redwood Curtain
  • Laird Riordan
1995
No Score Yet My Brother's Keeper
  • Tom and Bob Bradley
1995
24% Silent Fall
  • Dr. Rene Harlinger
1994
60% Princess Caraboo
  • Wilkinson
1994
11% A Good Man in Africa
  • Arthur Fanshawe
1994
No Score Yet World War II
  • Actor
1994
No Score Yet World War II: When Lions Roared
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt
1994
52% The Pelican Brief
  • Smith Keen
1993
No Score Yet Love, Cheat & Steal
  • Paul Harrington
1993
No Score Yet The Wrong Man
  • Phillip Mills
1993
65% Indian Summer
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet Country Mouse & the City Mouse, The: A Christmas Tale
  • Actor
1993
No Score Yet Babysongs Presents - John Lithgow's Kid-Size Concert
  • Actor
1993
56% Raising Cain
  • Carter/Cain/Dr. Nix/Josh/Margo
1992
No Score Yet Amazing Bone and Other Stories
  • Actor
1992
No Score Yet Baby Girl Scott
  • Actor
1992
73% Ricochet
  • Earl Talbot Blake
1991
50% At Play in the Fields of the Lord
  • Leslie Huben
1991
No Score Yet Dr. Seuss: Yertle the Turtle
  • Narrator
1991
75% Memphis Belle
  • Col. Bruce Derringer
1990
No Score Yet The Last Elephant
  • Robert Carter
1990
No Score Yet Traveling Man
  • Ben Cluett
1989
No Score Yet Out Cold
  • Dave
1989
50% Distant Thunder
  • Mark Lambert
1988
44% Harry and the Hendersons
  • George Henderson
1987
No Score Yet Baby Girl Scott
  • Neil Scott
1987
No Score Yet Mesmerized
  • Oliver Thompson
1986
47% The Manhattan Project
  • John Mathewson
1986
No Score Yet Resting Place
  • Maj. Kendall Laird
1986
17% Santa Claus: The Movie
  • B.Z.
1985
66% 2010
  • Dr. Walter Curnow
1984
70% The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
  • Dr. Emilio Lizardo, Lord John Whorfin
1984
53% Footloose
  • Rev. Shaw Moore
1984
No Score Yet The Glitter Dome
  • Sgt. Marty Wellborn
1984
88% Terms of Endearment
  • Sam Burns
1983
100% The Day After
  • Joe Huxley
1983
65% Twilight Zone---The Movie
  • Valentine
1983
79% The World According to Garp
  • Roberta Muldoon
1982
No Score Yet I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can
  • Mr. Brunner
1982
90% Blow Out
  • Burke
1981
No Score Yet Big Blonde
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet The Oldest Living Graduate
  • Actor
1980
85% All That Jazz
  • Lucas Sergeant
1979
No Score Yet Rich Kids
  • Paul Philips
1979
No Score Yet The Big Fix
  • Sam Sebastian
1978
81% Obsession
  • Robert La Salle
1976
No Score Yet Pete's a Pizza
  • Actor
1976
No Score Yet Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues
  • John
1972

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet How I Met Your Mother
2005-2014
  • Jerry
No Score Yet CBS This Morning
2012
  • Guest
Comment je l'ai rencontrée
2005-2014
  • Jerry
No Score Yet Colbert Report
2005-2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet Independent Lens
1999
  • Voice
No Score Yet Frasier
1993-2004
  • Vocie of Madman Martinez
No Score Yet The Talk
2010
  • Guest
100% The Roosevelts: An Intimate History
2014
  • Voice
No Score Yet The View
1997
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Late Late Show With James Corden
2015
  • Actor
No Score Yet Drunk History
2013
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Host
59% Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
2013-2014
  • Voice
No Score Yet Late Night With Seth Meyers
2014
  • Guest
No Score Yet NOVA
1974
  • Narrator
  • Appearing
  • Voice
No Score Yet Prohibition
2011
  • Actor
  • Voice
No Score Yet Charlie Rose
2013
  • Guest
Trial & Error
2016
  • Larry Henderson
No Score Yet The Chew
2011
  • Guest
No Score Yet The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
2014
  • Guest
81% 30 Rock
2006-2013
  • Actor
80% Dexter
2006-2013
  • Walter Simmons Arthur Mitchell
No Score Yet Saturday Night Live
1975
  • Guest

Quotes from John Lithgow's Characters