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John Lithgow

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JOHN LITHGOW

"He's a walking embodiment of overcompensation. Lots of times, I thought they were nuts. I wondered why they thought this was such a hilarious joke, this little man who thought he was tall. Only when I went up there a year ago did I realize these guys knew exactly what they were doing. It really did come on as a revelation to me when I saw it. They used me in very weird ways. It's kind of hard to see yourself at the best of times, but when you're a creepy little villain and an animated one at that, it's very peculiar. They were very clever at having the face betray the thoughts. When Lord Farquaad would think up a wonderfully new and dastardly scheme, you could just see it in his expression."

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STATISTICS

Birth Name: John Arthur Lithgow
Born: October 19, 1945
Birth Place: Rochester, New York
Nationality: American

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BIOGRAPHY

Versatile character player who has been a familiar face in theater, film and TV since the early 1970s. Lithgow has proven himself adept with a wide range of material spanning drama, comedy, sci-fi, family fare and thrillers. He won a Tony award for his Broadway debut ("The Changing Room") and appeared in several films before gaining acclaim and a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his sympathetic and dignified performance as Roberta Muldoon, a transsexual ex-pro football player in 1982's "The World According to Garp". Lithgow's strapping physique lends authenticity to his portrayals of atheletes gone slightly to seed as was demonstrated by the role in "Garp" and his Tony-nominated performance in the Broadway production of Rod Serling's "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (1985). Yet when he slumps his shoulders and slouches a bit, his weak chin and amazingly expressive features can conspire to make him appear meek and nervous. On the other hand, when his eyes harden and his mouth becomes set, Lithgow can be an extremely effective villain. Lithgow's film career blossomed in the 80s and continued full tilt through the 90s. He earned additional kudos and another Oscar nomination for his role in 1983's "Terms of Endearment" as the hapless lawyer who has an affair with Debra Winger. He has played an extraordinary variety of roles: spectacularly nervous guys ("Twilight Zone--The Movie," 1983, "2010," 1984); full-fledged psychotics (Brian De Palma's "Blow Out" 1981 and "Raising Cain" 1992); and repressive patriarchs ("Footloose," 1984, "At Play in the Fields of the Lord," 1991). He has also excelled as villains, whether broadly cartoonish as in "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai" (1984) or truly menacing like his killer opposite Denzel Washington in "Richochet" (1991). In a change of pace, Lithgow headlined his first TV series, the NBC sitcom "3rd Rock From the Sun" (1996). Playing the leader of a band of aliens who assume human form, he displayed superb comic timing and earned three Emmy Awards (to date) for his work.

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