John Lithgow at Met Opera Opening in 2008
John Lithgow at Met Opera Opening in 2008 Alan Light

Famous Birthday's: John Lithgow

October 19, 1945 - currently, 73 years old.

"Take care, be kind, be considerate of other people and other species, and be loving”.

1945: John Arthur Lithgow is an American actor, musician, comedian, poet, author, and singer. Lithgow was born in Rochester, New York. His mother, Sarah Jane, was a retired actress. His father, Arthur Washington Lithgow III, was a theatrical producer and director who ran the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey. His father was born in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, to an American-Dominican family of Scottish, English and French descent. Lithgow is descended from Mayflower passenger and colonial governor William Bradford. Because of his father's job, the family moved frequently during Lithgow's childhood; he spent his childhood years in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where activist Coretta Scott King babysat him and his siblings; he spent his teenage years in Akron (living at Stan Hywet Hall) and Lakewood, Ohio.

1966: Lithgow married Jean Taynton, a teacher, during this year.

1967: Lithgow attended Harvard College, and graduated with an A.B. magna cum laude this year, in history and literature. He lived in Adams House as an undergraduate. Lithgow later served on Harvard's Board of Overseers. Lithgow credits a performance at Harvard of Gilbert and Sullivan's Utopia Limited with helping him decide to become an actor. After graduation, Lithgow won a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Also, after graduation, he served as the Director of the Arts and Literature Department at WBAI, the Pacifica radio station in New York City.

1972: Jean Taynton and Lithgow had one son together named Ian. He us now an actor and clinical psychologist.

1976: He starred in a pivotal role in Brian De Palma's Obsession with Cliff Robertson and Genevieve Bujold as Cliff Robertson's long time business partner Robert Lasalle.

1978-80: Lithgow appeared in ten episodes of the radio drama revival series CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

John Lithgow in 2007 for his book launch of 'Mahalia Mouse Goes to College'.
John Lithgow in 2007 for his book launch of 'Mahalia Mouse Goes to College'.

1979: Lithgow portrayed Lucas Sergeant in Bob Fosse's semi-autobiographical movie All That Jazz. The character was loosely based on the real-life director/choreographer Michael Bennett, best known for his work on Dreamgirls and A Chorus Line.

1980: Lithgow and his wife separated after he had an affair with actress Liv Ullmann, with the marriage ending in divorce this year.

1981: He is well known for his film role in Blow Out.

During this time. Lithgow married UCLA history professor Mary Yeager, and they had son Nathan and daughter Phoebe together.

1982: His performances in the films The World According to Garp during this year and Terms of Endearment in 1983, each earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.

1983: Lithgow was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performances as Roberta Muldoon in The World According to Garp and as Sam Burns in Terms of Endearment. Both films were screen adaptations of popular novels. Lithgow appeared in a remake of the classic Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" in Twilight Zone: The Movie as the paranoid passenger made famous on the television show by William Shatner. In an interview with Bill Moyers, Lithgow reveals this role as his favorite of his film career.

1984: Lithgow originated the character of Dr. Emilio Lizardo/Lord John Whorfin, an Italian physicist inhabited by an evil alien, which he played in the cult film The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Lithgow also played a pastor who condemns dancing in Footloose.

1985: He played the evil toy manufacturer in Santa Claus: The Movie.

1986: Lithgow starred in the science fiction film The Manhattan Project. As lead scientist in charge of nuclear research involving plutonium, he learns a lesson from the teenage son of his new girlfriend about the moral danger of doing pure research that will certainly lead to death and destruction.

1987: Lithgow starred in the Bigfoot-themed family comedy Harry and the Hendersons.

1991: He starred in the movie Ricochet opposite Denzel Washington as Earl Talbot Blake, a criminal seeking revenge against the policeman who sent him to prison. Also during this year, he played missionary Leslie Huben in the film adaptation of Peter Matthiessen's novel At Play in the Fields of the Lord.

1992: He starred as a man with multiple personality disorder in Brian De Palma's film Raising Cain and the narrator in Doctor Seuss Video Classics: Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories.

1993: He starred as the villainous Eric Qualen in the Sylvester Stallone movie Cliffhanger.

1996-2001: Lithgow is best known for his television roles as Dick Solomon in the sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun.

1999: He has recorded music, such as the children's music album Singin' in the Bathtub, and has written poetry and short stories for children, such as Marsupial Sue.

2001: Shrek is an American computer-animated, comedy film loosely based on the 1990 fairytale picture book of the same name by William Steig. In the story, Shrek finds his swamp overrun by fairy tale creatures who have been banished by a corrupt Lord Farquaad (Lithgow) aspiring to be king. Shrek makes a deal with Farquaad to regain control of his swamp in return for rescuing Princess Fiona whom he intends to marry.

2002: In June of this year, Lithgow released his second children's album Farkle and Friends. It was the musical companion to his book The Remarkable Farkle McBride, which tells the story of a young musical genius. Farkle and Friends features the vocal talents of Lithgow and Bebe Neuwirth backed by the Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra. He narrated Life's Greatest Miracle, a documentary about human embryonic development.

2004: He portrayed the moralistic, rigid father of Alfred Kinsey in that year's biopic Kinsey.

2005: Lithgow became the first actor ever to deliver a commencement speech at Harvard University and received an honorary Doctor of Arts from his alma mater.

2006: In August of this year, Lithgow released The Sunny Side of the Street, his third children's album and first with Razor & Tie. He also had a small role in the Academy Award-winning film Dreamgirls, as Jerry Harris, a film producer offering Deena Jones (Beyoncé Knowles) a film role. He starred in a lead role in the science fiction film Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

2007: He made his Royal Shakespeare Company debut as Malvolio in Neil Bartlett's production of Twelfth Night.

2009: He played Arthur Mitchell in the drama Dexter.

Nicholas D'Agosto and John Lithgow in a scene from the TV series Trial & Error.
Nicholas D'Agosto and John Lithgow in a scene from the TV series Trial & Error. Supplied by Channel 7.

2010: On October 1 of this year, Lithgow appeared on Doug Benson's podcast Doug Loves Movies, along with fellow guests Paul F. Tompkins and Jimmy Pardo. He has also appeared on Chris Hardwick's show The Nerdist Podcast. He later played the role of American space engineer Walter Curnow in the film 2010, the sequel to the science fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.

2011: He performed a dramatic reading of a Newt Gingrich press release on The Colbert Report and made a call to Colbert's annual Atone Phone "by mistake." He also voiced a South Carolina TV ad for Colbert Super PAC humorously attacking Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. He also starred in the Rise of the Planet of the Apes. In September of this year, Lithgow was featured in a one-night only production of Dustin Lance Black's play ,a staged re-enactment of the federal trial that overturned California's Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage as Attorney Theodore Olson to raise money for the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

2014: Interstellar is a science fiction film directed, co-written, and co-produced by Christopher Nolan. John Lithgow starred as Donald.

2016: He played Sir Winston Churchill in the drama The Crown for which he won an Emmy Award.

2017: Daddy's Home 2. In October of this year, Lithgow co-authored the New York Times daily Crossword Puzzle.

2018: Lithgow was one of the actors who voiced the audiobook A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.

John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in a scene from Love is Strange.
John Lithgow and Alfred Molina in a scene from Love is Strange. Contributed

Voice Actor Work:

Lithgow voiced the evil Lord Farquaad in the Shrek movie franchise who also appears in Shrek, Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party, Shrek 4-D which was originally Shrek 3-D and used as an amusement park attraction and Shrek the Third and the character of Yoda in the National Public Radio adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

He provided narration for the IMAX film Special Effects: Anything Can Happen.


- On the stage, he has appeared in Broadway productions including the musical adaptations of Sweet Smell of Success and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

- His work in children's entertainment has earned him Grammy Award nominations and two Parents' Choice Silver Honor Awards.

- He has received two Tony Awards, six Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, an American Comedy Award, four Drama Desk Awards, and has been nominated for two Academy Awards and four Grammy Awards.

- Lithgow has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has been inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.

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