14 May 2008
National Treasure - Size: Extra Large
When I first read "The World According to Garp", it started me on a path to read everything that fell out of John Irving's quirky, delightful, hilarious and perceptive brain. Then someone mentioned it would be made into a movie. Who could possibly play Roberta Muldoon? As it turned out the actor who played "Roberta Muldoon" ended up being nominated for an Academy Award and introduced the general public to a man oversized in both stature and talent. He had been around the theater from just about the time he could walk, but this was the role that showed the world the man who can do darn near anything.
Need a psychotic killer - Call John Lithgow. Need a sexually confused ambassador - Call John Lithgow. Need someone to make a complete fool of himself for children - You've got it: John Lithgow ... urbane, witty con artist? Yep Lithgow. Bumbling extra terrestrial? Guess who??????????? Lithgow. The nominations and awards have been stacking themselves on his doorstep for 40 years and he just keeps adding more characters and creations wondrous to behold. His latest project takes place on Sunday and Monday nights at Lincoln Center as he does what I keep yammering at you all to do ... tell the family stories. Of course, you probably won't get a rave review from The New York Times and a standing ovation, but this is John Lithgow.
He was born into a theatrical family, but didn't catch the acting bug until he won a scholarship to Harvard University. Harvard was followed by a Fulbright scholarship to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. After returning from London, he began a successful stage career that brought him to the attention of movie makers and the signature Muldoon. Since he has alternated among stage, screen, and television winning a Tony (The Changing Room, Requiem for a Heavyweight, M Butterfly) and Emmy (Third Rock) and Golden Globes and Oscar nominations (Terms of Endearment, World According to Garp). Then just in case it was all going to his head, write a slew of children's books and become a clown to make them laugh.
Fortunately You Tube is cooperating with some samples of him doing most of the above. Enjoy:
For the Children: You've Got To Have Pep
For Drama: M. Butterfly
For pure hilarity: Third Rock From the Sun
Tony Nominated Musical Soundtrack - Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz