Oscar Actors: Lithgow, John

John Lithgow's father was the head of several theater companies over the years, including Princeton University's renowned McCarter Theatre, so he grew up immersed in the theater world. Born October 19, 1945, in Rochester, New York, he made his theatrical debut at the age of six in his father's production of “Henry VI, Part III”.

After graduating from Harvard College in 1967, he studied acting on a Fulbright Scholarship at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and interned at both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court Theatre. Returning to New York, he won a Tony Award in 1973 for “The Changing Room.” In “The World According of Garp,” the film adaptation of John Irving's novel, Lithgow played transsexual ex-football star Roberta Muldoon, a role that brought him his first Oscar nomination (his second was for “Terms of Endearment”) and cemented his reputation in Hollywood.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Mary, and their two children.

Lithgow was nominated for two Supporting Actor Oscars. In 1982, for his turn in “The World According to Garp,” he vied for the award with Louis Gossett Jr., who won for “An Officer and a Gentleman,” Charles Durning in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” James Mason in “The Verdict,” and Robert Preston in “Victor/Victoria.”

In 1983, playing an adulterous husband, Lithgow was nominated for the melodrama “Terms of Endearment,” in a contest that included Jack Nicholson, who won for the same film, Charles Durning in “To Be Or Not To Be,” Sam Shepard in “The Right Stuff,” and Rip Torn in Cross Creek.”