Parents are Sarah Jane Price (b. 1917) and theater director/producer Arthur Lithgow (1915-2004).
His father ran a Shakespearian Acting company in the 1950s which included David Carradine.
Graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University (1967).
Graduated from Harvard University, with a BA in history and literature. Daughter, Phoebe (b. 1982).
Claims that his most difficult performance was in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) because he had to portray fear of the monster, although he couldn't really see it.
Was called in to replace another actor in Terms of Endearment (1983), and his role was filmed in 3 days during a break from filming Footloose (1984).
Provided the voice of Yoda in the NPR radio dramatizations of "The Empire Strikes Back" (1983) and "Return of the Jedi" (1996).
Was considered for the role of Doc Brown in Back to the Future (1985). The role went to Christopher Lloyd instead.
Has won two Tony Awards: in 1973, as Best Supporting or Featured Actor (Dramatic) for David Storey's "The Changing Room"; and in 2002, as Best Actor (Musical) for "Sweet Smell of Success." He has also been nominated on three occasions for Tonys -- two for Best Actor (Play): for "Requiem for a Heavyweight" (1985) and "M. Butterfly." (1988), and once for Best Actor (Musical): for "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (2005).
Three of his non-film roles have been based on movies involving Frank Oz and Ian McDiarmid. Most of Oz's and McDiarmid's collaborations are the Star Wars films, in which they play Yoda and Darth Sidious, respectively. Lithgow played Yoda on the radio. Oz also directed McDiarmid in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988). Lithgow appeared in the stage musical.
Was considered for the role of Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
Wins both the Tony award and Drama Desk award as best actor in a Broadway musical, for performance in "Sweet Smell of Success" May/June 2002.
Biography in: "Contemporary Authors". Volume 217, pg. 219-223. Farmington Hills, MI: Gale, 2004.