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John Lithgow stars in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" as Charles Rodman. 

John Lithgow is an actor with a broad range of interests and talents in every area of the entertainment industry—and even outside it. He has been working in show business since the early seventies, and has achieved stunning success in wildly varied ventures.

At heart, Lithgow is a theater actor. Theater is where he started, and he started big. In 1973, he won a Tony Award three weeks after his Broadway debut, in David Storey's "The Changing Room." Since then, he has appeared on Broadway nineteen more times, earning another Tony, three more Tony nominations, four Drama Desk Awards, and induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. Lithgow was most recently seen off-Broadway alongside Jennifer Ehle in "Mr. & Mrs. Fitch," Douglas Carter Beane's play about a husband and wife team of gossip columnists. Lithgow also toured the country with his one man show "Stories by Heart." His other stage 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," "The Retreat from Moscow," "Mrs. Farnsworth," and the musicals "Sweet Smell of Success" (his second Tony), and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels." In 2007 Lithgow was one of the very few American actors invited to join The Royal Shakespeare Company, playing Malvolio in "Twelfth Night" at Stratford-upon-Avon. Lithgow's most recent appearance on Broadway was in the revival of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons" alongside Dianne Wiest, Patrick Wilson and Katie Holmes.

In the early 1980s Lithgow began to make a major mark in films. At that time, he was nominated for Oscars in back-to-back years, for "The World According to Garp" and "Terms of Endearment." His many other notable film credits include "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" and a flashy cameo in "Dreamgirls."

For his work on television, Lithgow has been nominated for eleven Emmy Awards. He has won five of them, one for an episode of "Amazing Stories," and three for what is perhaps his most celebrated creation. This was the loopy character of the alien High Commander, Dick Solomon, on the hit NBC comedy series "3rd Rock from the Sun." In that show's six-year run, Lithgow also won the Golden Globe, two SAG Awards, The American Comedy Award, and, when it finally went off the air, a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He recently found new success in television drama with his twelve-episode arc on Showtime's "Dexter" playing Arthur Mitchell, the Trinity Killer. For his work on "Dexter," Lithgow received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series, as well as a nomination along with rest of the cast for the SAG Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Drama Series.

His other major appearances on television have included roles in "The Day After," "Resting Place," "Baby Girl Scott," "My Brother's Keeper," TNT's "Don Quixote," and HBO's "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers."

And then there is Lithgow's work for children. Since 1998 he has written seven New York Times best-selling children's picture books, including "The Remarkable Farkle McBride," "Marsupial Sue," "Micawber" and "I'm a Manatee." In addition, he has created two Lithgow Palooza activity books for parents and children, "Lithgow Palooza Readers" for use in elementary schools, and the "The Poets' Corner" for Warner Books, a compilation of fifty classic poems aimed at young people, to stir an early interest in poetry. All of this work has won him two Parents' Choice Silver Honor Awards, and four Grammy Award nominations.

Lithgow has performed concerts for children with the Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Baltimore, and San Diego Symphonies, and at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke's. He has released three kids' albums, "Singin' in the Bathtub," "Farkle & Friends," and the Grammy-nominated "The Sunny Side of the Street," released by Razor & Tie Records. All of these concerts and albums have included several of his own songs and rhyming narrations.

In 2003, the noted choreographer Christopher Wheeldon invited Lithgow to collaborate with him on a new piece for the New York City Ballet. The result was "Carnival of the Animals," a ballet for fifty dancers, with music by Camille Saint-Saens and with Lithgow's verse narration. Lithgow himself spoke the narration from the stage. At a certain point he ducked into the wings, climbed into costume, and re-emerged to dance the role of The Elephant. He has performed this feat over twenty times. The project also spawned another award-winning children's book, "Carnival of the Animals," and another Grammy-nominated CD.

Lithgow was born in Rochester, New York, but grew up in Ohio, graduated from high school in Princeton, New Jersey, attended Harvard College, and used a Fulbright Grant to study at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. He was honored by Harvard with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2005, and, at that time, was invited to deliver the school's Commencement Address. He concluded his address with a new children's book, written for the occasion and dedicated to Harvard's Class of '05. The book, "Mahalia Mouse Goes to College," is intended to instill an interest in higher education in very small children.

Lithgow has three grown children and a granddaughter, and lives in Los Angeles with his wife Mary, a Professor of Economic and Business History at UCLA.


How tall is John Lithgow? How old is John Lithgow? Where does John Lithgow live? Find out here.

Age: 71 years old
Birthday: October 19, 1945
Height: 6' 4"
Nickname: Jiggles
Full Name / Real Name: John Arthur Lithgow
Birthplace: Rochester, NY
Hometown: Ohio
Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA
Wife: Mary Yeager
Jean Taynton (9/10/1966 - 1980, divorced)

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