Entertainment Weekly : 2020-07-01

Front Page : 62 : 62

Front Page

its mystery, its contradict­ions, and its duality,” he explains. “And the fact that the character travels a journey.” Lithgow’s journeys have taken him far and wide—he has acted in 23 Broadway plays (winning two Tonys) and written/illustrate­d another poetry book, Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age (Oct. 6). “I’m a pan-enthusiast; I love trying different things,” says the Harvardedu­cated, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art-trained actor. “It’s given me tremendous viability. I myself am surprised by the things they will ask me to try.” We tested Lithgow in a different way, asking him to identify the projects that fans reference the most. 3rd Rock From the Sun (1996–2001) Lithgow anchored NBC’s aliensdisg­uised-as-humans sitcom as puffed-up High Commander Dick Solomon, and snagged three Emmys for his wacky work. “It’s people 35 and up, and the 35-year-olds remember it very fondly as a show they watched with their parents. people remember crazy moments— the time I wore black leather pants too tight for me. They like to see me do my alien salute. We did that three times in 139 episodes, thought it up in three and a half seconds, and then it enters everyone’s DNA for decades to come.” 3rd Rock ↑ “I’m thought of as an unlit firecracke­r,” says John Lithgow. “You just don’t know which direction I’ll fly off.” HOW ARE YOU FAMOUS? JOHN LITHGOW PERRY MASON, BEFORE LAWYERING UP ON THE SIX-TIME EMMY-WINNING ACTOR BREAKS DOWN HIS CHAMELEONI­C FAME BY EXPLAINING HOW FANS KNOW HIM BEST Dexter (2009) Season 4 brought the Showtime killer thriller’s most chilling terror, Trinity (Lithgow; see: Emmy), a modest deacon who’s a tri-style serial murderer. By Dan Snierson “[Fans] tilt toward the ComicCon gang, and they have a taste for lurid, gruesome television. They absolutely love the Trinity Killer, and they always use the word ‘love,’ which I thought was ironic. People ask me to sign their hammers, including at the stage door of a Broadway show.” thrillers while racking up two Oscar nomination­s and six Emmy trophies. He’ll next impress as a proud but fraying lawyer on HBO’s ’30s-set drama (debuting June 21) before starring in FX’s 2021 thriller as a secret-stained federal agent. What binds the diverse roles across his five-decades-long résumé? “The common thread is a character that fascinates you because of JOHN LITHGOW HAS PLAYED cunning world leaders, tortured serial killers, unhinged racists, hubristic aliens, bumbling patriarchs, and bighearted transgende­r ex–football players—and by stopping there, we’ve probably pigeonhole­d him. The avuncular actor, 74, boasts more range than a Montana cattle ranch, shapeshift­ing between family sitcoms, period dramas, and action Perry Mason The Old Man The Crown (2016–2019) Lithgow won plaudits (and an Emmy) for his commanding JULY 2020 EW ● COM 60

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