Date of Birth: October 19, 1945
Born into a theatrical family in Rochester, New York, Lithgow made his stage debut at age
six in Henry VI, Part III. After graduating from Harvard with a BA in history and
literature, he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship. Lithgow used the award to study at the
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art before settling in New York to pursue a stage career.
He has enjoyed a distinguished career on Broadway, earning one Tony award for The Changing
Room, a second nomination in 1985 for Requiem for a Heavyweight, and a third in 1988 for
M. Butterfly. He subsequently appeared in many other Broadway and off-Broadway plays, in
addition to directing for regional companies.
His film debut was as a bad guy in Dealing: Or The Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag
Blues (1972), followed by supporting roles in Obsession (1976) the first of many to mark
his long-working relationship with director Brian De Palma, The Big Fix (1978), All That
Jazz (1979), Rich Kids (1979) and Blow Out (1981).
Lithgow first received national attention for his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Roberta
Muldoon in The World According to Garp in 1982. He received a second Academy Award
nomination for his portrayal of Debra Winger's lover in the Oscar-winning Terms of Endearment
His newfound fame brought him a number of new roles in big budget features including A Good
Man in Africa, Silent Fall, Memphis Belle, Princess Caraboo with Steven
Rea and Kevin Kline, Harry and the Hendersons, Cliffhanger, The Pelican Brief,
Twilight Zone: The Movie, Homegrown and A Civil Action with John Travolta.
Lithgow has written a children's book, The Remarkable Farkle McBride, the story of a
musical child prodigy. Lithgow also created an album of children's songs titled "Singing in the
Bathtub" which features some of his favorite tunes from childhood along with "Big Kids," which he wrote.
As the '90s came around he found that he was spending too much time on location, and so he
decided to work in a new medium, the small screen. This career move brought him to television
in the hugely successful series 3rd Rock from the Sun. In the role of Dick Solomon / High
Commander, Lithgow has received three Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Golden Globe and an American Comedy Award. His son Ian, from his first marriage, has a regular role in the series as a dim-witted student.
Additional television credits include Big Blond with Sally Kellerman, Baby Girl Scott,
The Last Elephant with Isabella Rossellini, The Boys with James Woods, the Emmy-nominated miniseries World War II: When Lions Roared and Showtime's The Wrong Man.
He was also in My Brother's Keeper, for which he earned an Emmy Award nomination and Dexter, for which he received his second Golden Globe award. Aside from his success on television, Lithgow has made a rather successful comeback on the big screen as well, starring in films like Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), Leap Year (2010), Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011) and most recently, The Campaign (2012).
Lithgow lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Mary, a history professor at UCLA, their daughter
Phoebe, and son Nathan.