John Arthur Lithgow (pronounced /ˈlɪθɡoʊ/; born October 19, 1945) is an American actor, musician, and author, best known for his starring role as Dr. Dick Solomon on the NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. He has also achieved success on stage, film, and radio. He has earned multiple Emmy Awards and Tony Awards, as well as two Academy Award nominations. He has also recorded music, and has written poetry and short stories for children.
Lithgow was born in Rochester, New York. His mother, Sarah Jane (née Price), was a retired actress, and his Dominican-born father, Arthur Lithgow, was a theatrical producer and director who ran the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, New Jersey. Because of his father's job, the family moved frequently during Lithgow's childhood, including teenage years in Akron and Lakewood, Ohio.
Lithgow went to Harvard University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1967. He lived in Adams House as an undergraduate. He lived in the same freshman dorm as former Vice President Al Gore and actor Tommy Lee Jones. Lithgow later served on its Board of Overseers. Lithgow credits a performance at Harvard of Gilbert and Sullivan's Utopia Limited with helping him decide to become an actor. After graduation, Lithgow won a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.