John Carroll Lynch

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John Carroll Lynch
John Carroll Lynch Viennale 2017 02.jpg
Lynch in 2017
Born (1963-08-01) August 1, 1963 (age 59)
EducationCatholic University (BFA)
Occupation(s)Actor, film director, screenwriter
Years active1990–present
Brenda Wehle
(m. 1997)

John Carroll Lynch (born August 1, 1963)[1] is an American character actor and film director. He first gained notice for his role as Norm Gunderson in Fargo (1996). He is also known for his television work on the ABC sitcom The Drew Carey Show (1997–2004) as the title character's cross-dressing brother, Steve Carey, as well as on four seasons of American Horror Story (2014–2019), most notably as breakout character Twisty the Clown. His films include Face/Off (1997), Zodiac (2007), Gran Torino (2008), Shutter Island (2010), Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011), Ted 2 (2015), The Invitation (2015), The Founder (2016), and The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020). He made his directorial debut with the 2017 film Lucky.

Early life[edit]

Lynch was born in Boulder, Colorado.[1] He attended Regis Jesuit High School in Denver. He studied theater at The Catholic University of America, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1986.[2]


Lynch was a member of the Guthrie Theater company. He starred in several productions, toured with the company and worked there for over eight seasons.[3][4]

Lynch made his feature film debut in Grumpy Old Men (1993). He gained notice in a supporting role as Norm Gunderson in the Coen brothers' film Fargo (1996). His other notable films are Face/Off (1997), Bubble Boy (2001), Gothika (2003), Things We Lost in the Fire (2007), Gran Torino (2008), Shutter Island (2010), Paul (2011) and Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011). He portrayed Arthur Leigh Allen in Zodiac (2007) and the first establisher of McDonald's, Mac McDonald, in The Founder (2016).

Lynch has also had an extensive career in television. He appeared in ABC sitcom The Drew Carey Show as the title character's cross-dressing brother, Steve Carey. He has also been a regular cast member on series such as Close to Home, Carnivàle, Body of Proof and seasons 4, 5, 7 and 9 of American Horror Story.

In 2018, Lynch was cast in the lead role of Bud Carl in the CBS All Access drama One Dollar.[5] The series was cancelled after one season. In 2020, Lynch plays the lead role of Rick Legarski in the ABC crime drama series Big Sky, created by David E. Kelley.[6] After his character was killed off, he resurfaced as Wolf Legarski, Rick's twin brother. He also co-starred in Aaron Sorkin's acclaimed film The Trial of the Chicago 7, as activist David Dellinger.

Personal life[edit]

Lynch has been married to actress Brenda Wehle (also a former member of the Guthrie Theatre Company) since 1997.[citation needed]



Year Title Role Notes
1993 Grumpy Old Men Moving Man
1995 The Cure Skipper #1 Credited as John Lynch
1996 Beautiful Girls Frank Womack
Fargo Norm Gunderson
Feeling Minnesota Cop
1997 Volcano Stan Olber
Face/Off Prison Guard Walton
A Thousand Acres Ken LeSalle
1998 Mercury Rising Martin Lynch
The Naked Man Sticks' Driver
Restaurant John English
1999 Anywhere but Here Jack Irwin
The Minus Man Bartender Uncredited cameo
Pushing Tin Doctor Freeze
Freak Weather Ed
2000 Waking the Dead Father Mileski
Gone in 60 Seconds Impound Manager Uncredited cameo
2001 Bubble Boy Mr. Livingston
2002 The Good Girl Jack Field
Bug Wallace Gregory
Three Days of Rain Dinner Guest
2003 Gothika Sheriff Ryan
Confidence Leon Ashby
2004 Catch That Kid Mr. Hartmunn
2005 Mozart and the Whale Gregory
Trust the Man Doctor Scene deleted
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World Stewart
2007 Full of It Mr. Leonard
Zodiac Arthur Leigh Allen
Things We Lost in the Fire Howard Glassman
2008 Gran Torino Barber Martin
2009 Love Happens Walter
2010 Sympathy for Delicious Evangelist Carroll
Shutter Island Deputy Warden McPherson
Hesher Larry
2011 Paul Moses Buggs
Crazy, Stupid, Love Bernie Riley
2012 Lay the Favorite Dave Greenberg
2013 The Pretty One Frank
2014 Camp X-Ray Col. James Drummond
2015 Hot Pursuit Captain Emmett
Ted 2 Tom Jessup
The Invitation Pruitt
2016 Miracles from Heaven Pastor Scott
Jackie Lyndon B. Johnson
The Founder Mac McDonald
Shangri-La Suite Colonel Tom Parker
2017 Lucky Directorial debut
Anything Early Landry
2018 Private Life Charlie
White Orchid Sheriff Mann
2019 The Highwaymen Lee Simmons
2020 Kiss Me Before It Blows Up Ron Shalev
The Trial of the Chicago 7 David Dellinger


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Frasier Actor playing Franklin Episode: "The Show Where Diane Comes Back"
Murder One Officer Carl Bickley Episode: "Chapter Thirteen"
The Client Frank Episode: "Damn Yankees"
Voice from the Grave Prosecutor O'Gane Television film
A Friend's Betrayal Mr. Franks Television film
1996, 1997 Life's Work District Attorney Agee / Crazy Larry 2 episodes
1997–2004 The Drew Carey Show Steve Carey Main role (Season 6-8), recurring role (Season 3-5), Guest (Season 9), 72 episodes
1997 The Practice Dr. Robert Larson Episode: "Search and Seizure"
The Visitor Joe York Episode: "Going Home"
1998 From the Earth to the Moon Robert R. Gilruth 2 episodes
1999 Star Trek: Voyager Gerald Moss Episode: "11:59"
Late Last Night Sgt. Van Wyck Television film
Tuesdays with Morrie Walter Moran Television film
2000 The Fugitive Raynor Episode: "Pilot"
The West Wing Jack Episode: "Galileo"
2001 Gideon's Crossing Sonny Green Episode: "The Race"
2002 Live from Baghdad John Holliman Television film
2003 The Brotherhood of Poland, New Hampshire Mayor Garrett Shaw 7 episodes
2005–2006 Close to Home Steve Sharpe Main role, 21 episodes
2005 Carnivàle Varlyn Stroud 12 episodes
American Dad! Mr. Simms (voice) Episode: "Stannie Get Your Gun"
2007–2008 K-Ville Captain James Embry Main role, 11 episodes
2007 Big Love Officer Chuck Tuttle 2 episodes
2009 Lie to Me Mr. Reed Episode: "Truth or Consequences"
Monk Kurt Pressman Episode: "Happy Birthday, Mr. Monk"
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Buddy Arnold Episode: "Bloodsport"
2010–2012 The Glades Mike Ogletree 2 episodes
2010 How to Make It in America Larry Episode: "Keep on Truck'n"
2011–2013 Body of Proof Bud Morris Main role, 26 episodes
2013 Do No Harm Will Hayes 10 episodes
2013–2014 Comedy Bang! Bang! Ned Dooley 2 episodes
2014 House of Lies Gil Selby 2 episodes
The Americans Fred 6 episodes
Manhattan Daniel Ellis 2 episodes
Us & Them Ed Episode: "Coeds & Carburetors"
2014–2015 American Horror Story: Freak Show Twisty the Clown 5 episodes
2015–2016 American Horror Story: Hotel John Wayne Gacy 2 episodes
2015 The Walking Dead Eastman Episode: "Here's Not Here"
2016–2017 Turn: Washington's Spies James Rivington 8 episodes
2016 Billions Mr. Gilbert Episode: "The Punch"
2017 American Horror Story: Cult Twisty the Clown 2 episodes
Channel Zero: The No-End House John Sleator 6 episodes
2018 The Handmaid's Tale Dan Episode: "Unwomen"
Crawford Owen 12 episodes
One Dollar Bud Carl Main role, 10 episodes
The Good Cop Sherman Smalls Episode: "Who Is the Ugly German Lady?"
2019 Veep Lloyd Hennick 3 episodes
American Horror Story: 1984 Benjamin Richter / Mr. Jingles 9 episodes
2019–2020 Perfect Harmony Pastor Magnus 3 episodes
2020–2022 Big Sky Rick Legarski / Wolf Legarski 17 episodes
2021 American Horror Stories Larry Bitterman Episode: "Drive In"
2022 Gaslit L. Patrick Gray 4 episodes
2023 White House Plumbers John N. Mitchell Upcoming series

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2016 Saturn Awards Best Guest Starring Role on Television The Walking Dead Nominated [7]
2017 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Supporting Actor The Invitation Nominated [8]
Camerimage Directors' Debuts Competition Lucky Nominated [9]
Chicago Film Critics Association Most Promising Filmmaker Nominated [10]
Haifa International Film Festival Carmel Award for Best Film Nominated [11]
Fedeora Award - Directors of Tomorrow Won [12]
Locarno Festival Golden Leopard Nominated [13]
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Won
Satellite Awards Special Achievement Award for Best First Feature Won [14]
Los Angeles Film Festival Special Mention for Acting Anything Won [15]
2021 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture The Trial of the Chicago 7 Won [16]


  1. ^ a b Matthew Tobey (2014). "John Carroll Lynch". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 22, 2014.
  2. ^ "Alumni Relations: Arts & Entertainment". The Catholic University of America. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  3. ^ "John Carroll Lynch lands juicy role in 'Freak Show'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  4. ^ "John Carroll Lynch". Guthrie Theater. Archived from the original on 30 June 2015. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 6, 2018). "'$1': John Carroll Lynch & Philip Ettinger To Star, Jeff Perry, Sturgill Simpson & Leslie Odom Jr. To Recur On CBS All Access Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 12, 2020). "'The Big Sky': John Carroll Lynch Cast In David E. Kelley's PI Drama Series For ABC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
  7. ^ Bryant, Jacob (February 24, 2016). "'Star Wars,' 'Mad Max,' 'Walking Dead' Lead Saturn Awards Nominations". Variety. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  8. ^ "Never mind Oscar, here's the 2017 FANGORIA Chainsaw Awards Nominees Ballot!". FANGORIA®. Archived from the original on 8 February 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  10. ^ ""Lady Bird," "Call Me By Your Name" win big for Chicago film critics". Chicago Film Critics Association. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  11. ^ "Carmel Competition - International Film Competition 2017".
  12. ^ "Best Israeli Feature Film Award – "The Testament"".[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ "Locarno Festival on Twitter". Twitter.
  14. ^ Pond, Steve (28 November 2017). "'Dunkirk,' 'The Shape of Water' Lead Satellite Award Nominations".
  15. ^ Kilday, Gregg (June 22, 2017). "Los Angeles Film Festival Unveils Winners". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on August 27, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  16. ^ "See the 2021 Screen Actors Guild Award winners". Retrieved 2021-04-05.

External links[edit]