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.” In the years before and after, he has appeared in over 30 films. Notable among them have been “All That Jazz,” “Blow Out,” and “Twilight Zone: the Movie.”
Lithgow was most recently seen on the big screen in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” Fox’s prequel to “Planet of the Apes,” as well as the political comedy “The Campaign” and Judd Apatow’s “This is 40.”
For his work on television, Lithgow has been nominated for 11 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 NBC comedy series “3rd Rock from the Sun.” More recently, his diabolical turn as The Trinity Killer in a 12-episode arc on Showtime’s “Dexter” won him his second Golden Globe and his fifth Emmy.
And then there is Lithgow’s work for children. Since 1998 he has written eight New York Times best-selling children’s picture books. In addition, he has created two “Lithgow Palooza” family activity books and “The Poets’ Corner” for Warner Books, a compilation of 50 classic poems aimed at young people, to stir an early interest in poetry.
Lithgow was born in Rochester, N.Y., but grew up in Ohio, graduated from high school in Princeton, N.J., attended Harvard College, and used a Fulbright Grant to study at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. He has three grown children, two grandchildren, and lives in Los Angeles and New York. He has been married for 30 years to Mary Yeager, a professor of economic and business history at UCLA.