16″ x 20″ Signed September 22, 1997 through the mail
Although it was his 1982 Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Roberta Muldoon in “The World According to Garp” that first brought Lithgow national attention, the actor has been refining his craft in films, television and theater for over thirty years.
Lithgow has won enormous critical acclaim, as well as four Emmy Awards, one Golden Globe Award, an American Comedy Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards for his starring role in NBC’s hit comedy series “3rd Rock from the Sun.” Produced by Carsey-Werner-Mandabach LLC, the show has enjoyed consistently high ratings since its premiere and was the first hit of the 1995-96 television season. Lithgow played the commander of a group of four aliens who came to study Earth. The era of “3rd Rock” came to an end this past season with a grand finale episode that will be remembered by television audiences for years to come.
From his Tony Award-winning Broadway debut in “The Changing Room” to his performance in the Tony-winning M. Butterfly, and his psychopathic murderer in Brian DePalma’s “Blow Out” to his panic-stricken airline passenger in George Miller’s segment of “Twilight Zone: The Movie,” Lithgow has consistently demonstrated tremendous depth and range.
In 1999, Lithgow added to his growing list of accomplishments with his audio release, Singin’ in the Bathtub. The album features 14 songs that include some of John’s favorite songs from his childhood such as the Danny Kaye classics “Inchworm” and “Triplets,” and songs from the English comedy/cabaret act Flanders & Swann. In addition, Lithgow penned “Big Kids” for the album, and wrote additional lyrics for four other songs.
In the fall of 2000, Lithgow added author to his list of talents. Simon & Schuster published his New York Times Best Seller children’s book, The Remarkable Farkle McBride, written by Lithgow with illustrations by C.F. Payne. The book tells the story of a child prodigy who masters every instrument he picks up, only to continually grow dissatisfied until he discovers his true love as a conductor. Subsequently, Lithgow created “Farkle and Friends,” a series of children’s concerts that he continues to perform, accompanied by large orchestras in concert halls around the country.
Lithgow recently produced, recorded and released his second album, Farkle and Friends. The album features several original songs that John co-wrote with conductor Bill Elliott. Among them is “The Remarkable Farkle McBride,” the acclaimed symphonic version of his children’s book of the same name. Also featured are old favorites such as “Animal Crackers In My Soup” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Wrong Note Rag”, a duet that John sings with guest artist Bebe Neuwirth. Farkle and Friends is available through Amazon.com as well as through John’s own website, www.lithgowforkids.com.
In June 2001, Lithgow embarked on a concert tour entitled, “The Perfectly Ridiculous Tour,” where he traveled via bus to concert venues in Columbus, Providence and Trenton. With a 30-piece orchestra and his son Nathan, who served as his on-stage assistant, John entertained with child-like charm through drawings, animal sounds and of course, song. He finished the tour by performing his “Farkle and Friends” concert with 85 members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Heinz Hall.
Lithgow can currently be heard as the voice of ‘Lord Farquaad’ in the new Dreamworks computer generated comedy, “Shrek.” This animated comedy has already garnered rave reviews and is already a box office success.
Lithgow will finish the year 2001 by returning to Broadway to star as columnist ‘J.J. Hunsecker’ in the musical “Sweet Smell of Success,” based on the classic 1957 film. Marvin Hamlisch will score the musical while Christopher Wheeldon choreographs. The show is scheduled to open on Broadway in early March 2002.
Lithgow is also scheduled to publish his second children’s book for Simon & Schuster, Marsupial Sue, in September 2001.
In April 2000, Lithgow starred in Hallmark/TNT’s “Don Quixote.” The project, in which Lithgow executive produced and starred, was filmed in Spain and also starred Vanessa Williams and Bob Hoskins. He was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance.
In 1998, Lithgow was seen co-starring with John Travolta in Steve Zaillian’s critically acclaimed hit “A Civil Action.” Lithgow also played an oddly moralistic cop in HBO’s noirish “Johnny Skidmarks.” Directed by John Raffo, the film also starred Frances McDormand and Peter Gallagher. Lithgow delivered a winning comedic performance in a cameo as the owner of a marijuana plantation in Columbia Tri-star’s “Homegrown,” which starred Billy Bob Thorton, Hank Azaria, Kelly Lynch and Ted Danson.
In 1995, Lithgow was seen in the CBS movie-of-the-week “My Brother’s Keeper,” as well the Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation “Redwood Curtain.” He co-starred in the Bruce Beresford film “A Good Man in Africa” for Gramercy and TriStar’s “Princess Caraboo” with Steven Rea and Kevin Kline.
In 1993, Lithgow starred opposite Sylvester Stallone in the highly successful Carolco film “Cliffhanger,” directed by Renny Harlin. He also starred in the critically acclaimed Showtime film ‘The Wrong Man” with Kevin Anderson and Rosanna Arquette, and “The Pelican Brief,” opposite Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts. Lithgow first starred with Washington in 1991’s “Ricochet,” in which he played the psychopathic Earl Blake.
Lithgow addressed a completely new audience with the release of “John Lithgow’s Kid-Size Concert,” a 30 minute music video of children’s classics and original tunes that showcases Lithgow as an actor, singer, songwriter and co-producer for BabySongs productions and Media Home Entertainment.
Lithgow received his second Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Debra Winger’s lover in the Oscar-winning “Terms of Endearment,” a 1983 Paramount release. He also starred in “Memphis Belle,” “Footloose,” a Paramount blockbuster in 1984, plus “Buckaroo Bonzai” and Brian DePalma’s “Raising Cain,” which opened the 1992 Venice Film Festival. His other film credits include Bob Fosse’s “All That Jazz,” Brian DePalma’s “Obsession” and Robert Young’s “Rich Kids” as well as “2010,” “Santa Claus,” “The Manhattan Project,” “Harry and the Hendersons,” “Distant Thunder” and “At Play in the Fields of the Lord,” based on the novel by Peter Matthiesson and shot on location in the depths of the Brazilian jungle.
Lithgow earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the highly-charged 1983 television movie “The Day After,” and won the Emmy in 1987 for his portrayal of ‘John Waters’ in an episode (“The Doll”) of “Amazing Stories” directed by Phil Joanou. He was nominated for another Emmy that year for portraying ‘Major Kendall Laird’ in “The Resting Place,” a Hallmark Hall of Fame special. Lithgow received an ACE Award nomination for his work in the 1989 HBO telefilm “Traveling Man.” His other television credits include the live broadcast of “The Oldest Living Graduate” with Henry Fonda, a PBS production of the Dorothy Parker story “Big Blond” with Sally Kellerman, “Baby Girl Scott,” the TNT film “The Last Elephant,” which was filmed on location in Kenya and co-starred Isabella Rossellini, “The Boys,” an ABC telefilm in which John and James Woods play a hot TV writing team devastated when one of the partners becomes fatally ill and the Emmy-nominated NBC mini-series “World War II: When Lions Roared,” about the roles Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin played during the war.
Lithgow was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor, as well as a Drama Desk Award for his performance in Requiem for a Heavyweight. He reprised the role opposite Richard Dreyfuss at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut in one of the most successful box-office hits in the prestigious regional theater’s history. Lithgow returned to Broadway in 1986 to star in The Front Page and, once again, received rave reviews. In 1989 Lithgow took to the stage in Los Angeles to star opposite Glenda Jackson in Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”
Born to a theatrical family in Rochester, New York, Lithgow’s father, one-time head of Princeton’s McCarter Theater, moved his family to Ohio during Lithgow’s infancy to produce Shakespeare festivals throughout the state. Young Lithgow made his stage debut at age six in Henry VI, Part 3 with Ellis Raab.
A Harvard graduate, Lithgow won a Fulbright Scholarship and used it to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. While in England, he “interned” with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court Theatre. Lithgow then settled in New York to pursue his stage career. After winning both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for The Changing Room, he performed in a different Broadway play each season. They include, from 1973 through 1982, My Fat Friend, Comedians, A Memory of Two Mondays, Secret Service, Anna Christie (with Liv Ullman), Once in a Lifetime, Spokesong, Steve Tesich’s Division Street, Christopher Durang’s Beyond Therapy and Lithgow’s one-man-show Kaufman at Large.
During those years, Lithgow also worked off-Broadway, appearing in the New York Shakespeare Festival productions of Hamlet, Trelawny of the Wells, and the Salt Lake City Skyline. He also directed for companies including the Long Wharf, the Phoenix, the McCarter and the Baltimore Center Stage.
Lithgow lives in Los Angeles with his wife Mary, a history professor at UCLA, and their daughter Phoebe and son Nathan. Lithgow also has a son, Ian, from a previous marriage.