John Lithgow’s roots are in the theater.  In 1973, he won a Tony Award two weeks after his Broadway debut, in David Storey’s “The Changing Room.” Since then, he has appeared on Broadway twenty-five times, earning five more Tony nominations, a second Tony, four Drama Desk Awards, and induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. His Broadway performances have included major roles in “My Fat Friend,” “Trelawney of the ‘Wells,’” “Comedians,” “Anna Christie,” “Bedroom Farce,” “Beyond Therapy,” “M. Butterfly,” “The Front Page,” “Retreat from Moscow,” “All My Sons,” “The Columnist,” “Hillary and Clinton,” and the musicals “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” “Sweet Smell of Success” (his second Tony).  In England, he has played Malvolio with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the title role in Arthur Wing Pinero’s “The Magistrate” with the National Theatre.  In 2014, he played another title role, “King Lear,” for The New York Public Theater at the Delacorte Theater in New York’s Central Park. 

In 2008, Lithgow devised a one-man show “John Lithgow: Stories by Heart” for the Lincoln Center Theater Company.  Over the next ten years, he performed it in 35 cities around the country, finally arriving on Broadway in 2018 for a triumphant run at the Roundabout Theater. Most recently, Lithgow directed the off-Broadway play “Everything’s Fine,” written and performed by Douglas McGrath. The show opened on October 13, 2022 at the Daryl Roth Theater.

In the early 1980’s, Lithgow began to make a major mark in film.  Mid-decade, he was nominated for Oscars in back-to-back years, for “The World According to Garp” and “Terms of Endearment.”  In the years before and after, he has appeared in over fifty films. Notable among them have been “All That Jazz,” “Blow Out,” “Twilight Zone: The Movie,” “Footloose,” “2010,” “Buckaroo Banzai,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Memphis Belle,” “Raising Cain,” “Ricochet,” “Cliffhanger,” “Orange County,” “Shrek,” “Kinsey,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” “This is 40,” “Interstellar,” “Love is Strange,” “Beatriz at Dinner,” “Pet Sematary,” “Daddy’s Home 2,” “Bombshell,” “Sharper” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.” He will next be seen in the biopic “Cabrini” for director Alejandro Monteverde, the conspiracy thriller “Conclave” for Apple TV+ with Ralph Fiennes and Stanley Tucci, and the animated musical “Spellbound” with Rachel Zegler and Nicole Kidman.

Lithgow has been nominated for thirteen Emmy Awards for his work on television.  He has won six times: once for an episode of “Amazing Stories,” once for Showtime’s “Dexter,” once for the role of Winston Churchill in Netflix’s “The Crown,” and three times for playing High Commander Dick Solomon on the hit NBC comedy series “3rd Rock from the Sun.”  During that show’s six-year run, Lithgow also won a Golden Globe, two SAG Awards, The American Comedy Award, and, when it went off the air, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Lithgow received his latest Emmy nomination in the HBO television reboot of “Perry Mason” with Matthew Rhys.  

Most recently, Lithgow starred in the FX drama series “The Old Man,” alongside Jeff Bridges, from director and executive producer, Jon Watts and based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Thomas Perry. Lithgow was recently nominated for a Critics Choice Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for his role in the series.

Since the early days of his career, Lithgow has also entertained young children.  He has written several New York Times best-selling children’s picture books, most recently “Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo.”  He has performed concerts for children with a dozen major American symphony orchestras and has released three kids’ albums, including the Grammy-nominated “The Sunny Side of the Street,” just one of his four Grammy nominations.  He has been honored with New York’s New Victory Theater Arts Award for his work “bringing kids to the arts and the arts to kids.”

In 2011, Harper Collins published Lithgow’s warmly-received memoir, “Drama: An Actor’s Education,” an evocation of his life and career up to the age of 35.  Since 2019, he has written and illustrated three books of satirical verse comprising “The Dumpty Trilogy,” achieving the remarkable feat of landing Lithgow on the New York Times non-fiction Bestseller List three times in three consecutive years.

In the last three years, Lithgow has joined Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter and Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey as co-chairs of the Commission on the Arts of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Under their leadership, the Commission has produced authoritative reports on arts in education and America’s creative workforce.  The recommendations in these reports have taken on added urgency in the age of COVID.  While the Commission has concluded its work, Lithgow continues to passionately advocate on these issues.

John Lithgow was born in Rochester, New York.  He grew up in a theater family, following the fortunes of his father Arthur Lithgow, a producer of American repertory theater.  He attended eight public schools, in Ohio and Massachusetts, finally finishing high school in Princeton, New Jersey.  He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College and studied at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art on a Fulbright Grant.  He has been honored with the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, induction into The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Harvard.  On this last occasion, he became the first and only actor to ever deliver Harvard’s Commencement Address.

Lithgow has three children, three grandchildren, and lives in Los Angeles and New York.  He has been married for forty years to Mary Yeager, an Emerita Professor of business and economic history at UCLA.