C. Thomas Howell

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C. Thomas Howell
C. Thomas Howell 2013 (cropped).jpg
Howell at the 2013 Peabody Awards.
Born Christopher Thomas Howell
(1966-12-07) December 7, 1966 (age 47)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Other names Tommy Howell, Tom Howell
Occupation Actor
Years active 1977–present
Spouse(s) Rae Dawn Chong (1989–1990)
Sylvie Anderson (1992–present)
Children Isabelle

Christopher Thomas Howell (born December 7, 1966), known by his stage name C. Thomas Howell, is an American actor and film director. He starred in the films The Outsiders as Ponyboy Curtis and in The Hitcher as Jim Halsey. He also appeared in Soul Man, Red Dawn, Secret Admirer, Grandview U.S.A., E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.

Early life and education[edit]

Howell was born on December 7, 1966, in Los Angeles, California, the son of Candice and Christopher N. Howell. He has two sisters, Stacy and Candi, and a brother, John.[1] He is nicknamed either "Tommy" or "CT". His father worked as a stunt coordinator and rodeo performer. As a young boy, Howell wanted to be a stuntman and was even a child stunt player. He began acting at the age of four, when cast in The Brian Keith Show in an episode called "The Little People".

When Howell was young, his parents divorced,[2] leaving his mother with both of her sons and daughter Stacy, and his father took Candi with him.[3] Howell shared his time with each parent and started his career through his father's job. When he was 12, he became a rodeo champion at the California Junior Rodeo Association and was named "All-Around Cowboy" in August 1979. While growing up, he also spent time golfing with his grandfather (where his nickname "CT" came because that is how he was recorded on screen boards).[citation needed] Howell graduated from Saugus High School in 1984.


Howell's showbiz debut was acting in the The Brian Keith Show episode "The Little People" as a little boy whose ears are being checked out by a doctor. When he got older, he tried stunt acting like his father and worked on commercials for a while.[4] He tried rodeo riding for a few years. In 1982, He made his film debut as Tyler in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Afterward, he was cast as the lead role Ponyboy Curtis in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders, which earned him a Young Artist Award. Following The Outsiders, he became a teen idol, appearing in teen magazines like Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, which referred to him as "Tommy" and "Tom".


In 1983 he and Outsiders co-star, Patrick Swayze, reunited for Grandview, U.S.A., also with Jamie Lee Curtis, and Red Dawn, with Charlie Sheen and Lea Thompson. Howell also had a pivotal role in Tank, with James Garner and Jenilee Harrison. In 1985 he again starred in the lead role in Secret Admirer, opposite Lori Loughlin and Kelly Preston. Howell was one of two final actors in the running to play Marty McFly in Back to the Future the other being Eric Stoltz, who was eventually selected. Michael J. Fox would later go on to replace Stoltz after filming had begun.

In 1986 he played a hitchhiker's target in the film The Hitcher, another of his successful movies. The sequel was released in 2003. Following that he starred as a white student who pretends to be black in the poorly received Soul Man, which currently holds an aggregated score of 14% at Rotten Tomatoes.[5] Howell has since stated that he does not regret playing the main character in blackface and that Soul Man was "an important part of [Howell's] life" and "an important film" for racial relations in America.[6] In 1988 Howell played Arturo Toscanini in the story of the world renown conductor in Franco Zeffirelli's Il giovane Toscanini with Irma Capece Minutolo and Elizabeth Taylor, which was one of his very first straight-to-video releases. Howell and Kelly Preston reunited as lovers in A Tiger's Tale.


At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, Howell appeared in The Return of the Musketeers and Side Out. In 1993, he starred with Linda Fiorentino and Nancy Allen in the campy thriller Acting on Impulse. After several straight-to-DVD features and a starring role in That Night, he achieved success again in the movie Gettysburg, which was popular with history buffs and history classrooms. He starred as Mike, a motorcycle courier in Mad Dogs and Englishmen (U.S. title: Shameless) with Elizabeth Hurley. His made-for-television movie credits include Suspect Device, Sealed with a Kiss and Dead Fire. He starred in Dads, an unsold sitcom pilot.[7] He also appeared in the short-lived TV series Kindred: The Embraced.

He started an interest in crime-thrillers after starring in Payback and playing gangster Baby Face Nelson in a film of the same name. He went on to direct and star in the 1996 direct-to-video release, Pure Danger, featuring alongside Teri Ann Linn and prop comic and bodybuilder, Carrot Top.[8]


Howell returned to the theater in the 2000s in movies such as Asylum Days, the Gods and Generals prequel to Gettysburg, and The Hillside Strangler, in which he played serial killer Kenneth Bianchi. In 2006, Howell starred in Hoboken Hollow. He also became a supporter of the production company The Asylum, which produced his straight-to-DVD movies.

In 2005, he starred in H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, one of three 2005 adaptations of the novel The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Because of its success, Howell directed and starred in a straight-to-DVD sequel War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave in 2008, which was heavily criticized. In 2005, he also reunited with his Secret Admirer co-star Lori Loughlin, when he had a recurring role on her television show Summerland as Zac Efron's father. After War of the Worlds, he spent time directing unsuccessful straight to-DVD movies. Also, in 2008, he directed and starred in The Day the Earth Stopped, a mockbuster intended to capitalize on The Day the Earth Stood Still. For these reasons, 20th Century Fox have threatened legal action against The Asylum, but no action has yet been taken. He also appeared as a doctor in The Poseidon Adventure, an adaptation of the 1972 film of the same name. Coincidentally, his father's first stunt co-ordination was for the original movie,[9] though uncredited. He briefly hosted a show on KLSX later that year.


Howell appeared in the 2012 film The Amazing Spider-Man.[10]

Television work[edit]

After filming The Outsiders, Howell co-starred in his own television series, Two Marriages, which ended after four episodes, but letters of support got it back on air. Howell later expressed disappointment in the series,[11] but eventually found it more satisfying.

After Two Marriages, Howell made guest appearances in shows like Moonlighting and The Hitchhiker. In 2000, Howell played a doctor stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash in Amazon. He initially turned down a guest role in ER after missing out on a role he wanted, but his wife signed him up after yet another offer. Following ER, he guest appeared in 24. He guest starred in five episodes of Criminal Minds on CBS as serial killer George Foyet / The Boston Reaper, a recurring villain based on the Zodiac Killer.

Howell has played the role of Officer Bill 'Dewey' Dudek, a wild, loudmouth, but efficient police officer recovering from alcoholism, in the L.A. police drama Southland since 2009. He appeared in Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4 and was promoted to a series regular for Season 5, which began in February 2013. The series was cancelled on May 10, 2013.

In 2011, he guest starred on The Glades and in Torchwood: Miracle Day.[12]


Howell has worked with Francis Ford Coppola many times and in other areas of making motion pictures including writing, producing, and directing. In 1995, he wrote and directed Hourglass, in which he starred with Sofia Shinas. The following year, he helped produce The Big Fall and Pure Danger. Howell did not write or direct another movie until 2004. He and his father co-wrote the made for television movie Hope Ranch and Howell produced the film as well. The film was a success and Howell went on to write and produce Blind Injustice the next year. Two years later he produced The Stolen Moments of September.

Personal life[edit]

In his single days, Howell shared a place with his friend, Darren Dalton, with whom he co-starred in The Outsiders, Red Dawn and The Jailhouse . From July 11, 1989, to sometime in 1990, Howell was married to actress Rae Dawn Chong, his Soul Man co-star. He then married Sylvie Anderson in 1992. They have three children, Isabelle (born February 17, 1993), Dashiell (born January 2, 1997), and Liam (born April 24, 2001). His family currently resides in Stevenson Ranch, California.



Year Title Role Notes
1982 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Tyler Film Debut
1983 The Outsiders Ponyboy Curtis
1984 Grandview, U.S.A. Tim Pearson
Tank William "Billy" Carey
Red Dawn Robert Morris
1985 Secret Admirer Michael Ryan
1986 The Hitcher Jim Halsey
Soul Man Mark Watson Married co-star Rae Dawn Chong
1988 A Tiger's Tale Bubber Drums
Giovane Toscanini II Arturo Toscanini
1989 The Return of the Musketeers Raoul
1990 Far Out Man Himself
Side Out Monoroe Clark
Curiosity Kills Cat Thomas
1992 Tattle Tale Bernard Sprat
Nickel & Dime Jack Stone
To Protect and Serve Egan
Breaking the Rules Gene Michaels
That Night Rick
1993 Gettysburg Thomas Chamberlain
1994 Jailbait Sgt. Lee Teffler
Dangerous Indiscretion Jim Lomax
Treacherous Micky Stewert
Natural Selection Ben Braden / Alex Connelly
1995 Payback Oscar Bonsetter
Baby Face Nelson Baby Face Nelson
Teresa's Tattoo Carl
Hourglass Michael Jardine
Mad Dogs and Englishmen Mike Also known as Shameless
Suspect Device Dan Jerico
1996 The Big Fall Blaise Rybeck
Sealed with a Kiss Detective Mick Cullen
The Sweeper Mark Goddard
Pure Danger Jonnie Dean
1997 Matter of Trust Michael D'Angelo Also known as The Surgeon
Laws of Deception Evan Marino
Dilemma Detective Thomas Quinlan
Dead Fire Tucker
Last Lives Aaron
1998 Fatal Affair Malcolm Maddox Also known as Stalker
Sleeping Dogs Sanchez Boon
Charades Evan Also known as Felons
1999 The Crimson Code J.B. Gaines Also known as Red Team
Hot Boyz Roberts
Enemy Action John Reed
Shepherd Boris Dakota Also known as Cybermaster
The Glass Jar Lanois
Avalanche Jack Also known as Escape from Alaska
Hitman's Run Tom Holly
The Prince and the Surfer Dean
2000 Lawless: Dead Evidence Dean Riley
The Million Dollar Kid Valentino
2001 Separate Ways Tom Milton
Asylum Days Nathan Devine
Willfull Nat Wolff
XCU: Extreme Close Up Geoffrey Liddy
Askari Joss McKinley
2002 Night of the Wolf Sheriff Wade Messer
Killer Bees! Sheriff Lyndon Harris
2003 Net Games Adam Vance Also known as Deadly Web
Gods and Generals Thomas Chamberlain
The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting Jim Halsey
2004 The Lost Angel Kuratha
Hidalgo Preston Webb
The Hillside Strangler Kenneth Bianchi
A Killer Within Addison Terrill
Zolar Hedion
2005 The Keeper: The Legend of Omar Khayyam Coach Fielding
Crimson Force Captain Baskin
H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds George Herbert
Glass Trap Curtis
Nursie Zack
Ordinary Miracles Jim Powell
The Poseidon Adventure Doctor Matthew Ballard
2006 The Da Vinci Treasure Michael Archer
Hoboken Hollow Clayton Connelly
The Far Side of Jericho Little Jimmy Thorton
2007 Dead Letters KC Formerly known as Cold Ones
The Haunting of Marsten Manor Captain Williams
Fighting Words David Settles Also known as Street Poet
The Stolen Moments of September Sisner
2008 Xenophobia Stone
Mutant Vampire Zombies from the 'Hood! David
House of Fallen Thomas
Big Game Cody "Sully" Sullivan
A Gunfighter's Pledge Horn
Toxic Joe
The Grind Luke
The Thirst: Blood War Jed
War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave George Herbert Also director
The Day the Earth Stopped Josh Myron
2009 The Land That Time Forgot Frost Michaels
Razor Virgil
Fuel Shane
Cupid's Arrow Professor Grimes
Camouflage Stanley
Secret at Arrow Lake Daniel Williams Also known as Mia's Father
American Pie Presents: The Book of Love Alumnus Guy #2
2010 The Terror Experiment Chief Grasso Also known as Fight or Flight
Flatline Mr. Thomas
The Jailhouse Seth Delray
2011 Restitution John Youngstown
Camel Spiders Sheriff Beaumont
Cross Jake
2012 The Amazing Spider-Man Crane Dad
Wedding Day Russ
Commander and Chief Shrub
MoniKa Double
Escape Paul Jordan
Home Invasion Ray
Chilly Christmas Patrick Cole
2013 Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox Professor Zoom Voice
Storm Rider Mitch
An Amish Murder Nathan Detrick
The Devil's Dozen Tom
Lost on Purpose Delbert Ferguson
Don't Pass Me By Jack
Christmas Belle Rex Everhart Also known as A Fairytale Christmas
2014 Dirty Dealing Carter
Magic Hour Tom Worthy
Borrowed Moments Jack Also known as Sleight of Hand
Confessions Of A Womanizer Tony
Category 5 Charlie DuPuis
Bigfoot Wars Zeke
Lazarus Rising Silent Cal
Play James Play Kirk Also known as A Beautiful Tragedy
Rivers 9 Sheriff Quentin
Siren Song Ryan
Sick People Dr. Sam Zimmerman Also known as Intensive Care


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Two Marriages Scott Morgan "Relativity"
1989 Nightmare Classics Jenner Brading "The Eyes of the Panther"
1996 Kindred: The Embraced Frank Kohanek 8 episodes
1998 The Outer Limits Captain Miles Davidlow "The Joining"
V.I.P Phil Sherman "Val Got Game"
The Love Boat: The Next Wave John "Affairs to Remember"
1999 Dead Man's Gun Henry Hubble "The Phrenologist"
1999-2000 Amazon Dr. Alex Kennedy Main Cast
2000 Twice in a Lifetime Tony "The Escaped Artist"
2002 Son of the Beach Jason Dudikoff "In the Line of Booty"
2004 The District Chris Gunner "On Guard"
2004-2005 Summerland Kyle Bale 2 episodes
2005 ER Vincent Janeson "The Human Shield"
2006 24 Barry Landes 2 episodes
2008 Celebracadabra Himself (contestant) Crowned "Best Celebrity Magician"
2009, 2013 Criminal Minds George Foyet / The Boston Reaper 5 episodes
2009-2013 Southland Bill "Dewey" Dudek Recurring Cast (Seasons 1-4), Main Cast (Season 5)
2010 Psych Agent Camden Driggs "One, Maybe Two, Ways Out"
2011 The Glades Peyton Robinson "Second Skin"
Torchwood: Miracle Day The Gentleman "Escape to L.A."
CHAOS Carson Simms "Proof of Life"
2012 Alphas Eli Aquino "The Quick and the Dead"
Revolution Bounty Hunter "Chained Heat"
Castle John Campbell "Swan Song"
Longmire Ray Stewart "A Damn Shame"
Hawaii Five-0 Martin Cordova "Death Wish"
2013 Sons Of Anarchy Agent Frank Eagan "One One Six"
Blue Bloods Alex Polanski "Justice Served"
2014 Grimm Agent Weston Steward 4 episodes


  1. ^ aboutct. Cthomashowell.net. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
  2. ^ Tommy Howell: I'm Just a Normal Kid!. Cthowell.net. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
  3. ^ Marriage. Cthowell.net. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
  4. ^ Cooking. Cthowell.net. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
  5. ^ "Rotten Tomatoes: Soul Man (1986)". 
  6. ^ Harris, Will. "C. Thomas Howell on The Outsiders, blackface, and how Marlboros got him cast in E.T.". The Onion AV Club. The Onion AV Club. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  7. ^ "Other Works for C. Thomas Howell". IMDb. Retrieved 2014-01-11. 
  8. ^ "Pure Danger (1996 Video): Full Cast and Crew". IMDb. Retrieved 2014-01-11. 
  9. ^ Interview for the Poseidon Adventure Remake. Cthomashowell.net. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
  10. ^ Barrett, Annie. (2011-01-10) 'Spider-Man': C. Thomas Howell joins the reboot | Inside Movies | EW.com. Insidemovies.ew.com. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
  11. ^ Two Marriages. cthowell.net
  12. ^ Torchwood: Miracle Day casting news. Den of Geek. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.

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