John Douglas Thompson

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John Douglas Thompson
Born1964 (age 54–55)

John Douglas Thompson (born 1964) is an Obie Award-winning British-American actor who has been described as "one of the most compelling classical stage actors of his generation."[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Thompson was born in Bath, England, to Jamaican parents, and was raised in Montreal, Quebec.[2][3] He graduated from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York in 1985, where he studied marketing and business.[4] In the early 1990s he worked as a traveling computer salesman in New England. After losing his job, Thompson decided to pursue acting and enrolled at the Trinity Repertory Conservatory in Providence, Rhode Island.[5]


Thompson began appearing in a variety of lead and supporting roles across New England, most notably at the American Repertory Theater and Shakespeare and Company,[3] also giving his first performance as Othello at the Trinity Repertory Company[6] prior to attaining critical success in New York. He made his Broadway debut as Flavius, opposite Denzel Washington in Julius Caesar in 2005, and later appeared as Le Bret in Cyrano de Bergerac, alongside Jennifer Garner and Kevin Kline in 2007.

In 2009, Thompson had a breakout year, playing the title roles in Othello at the Theatre for a New Audience, and The Emperor Jones at the Irish Repertory Theatre. Both performances garnered high critical acclaim, with The New York Times stating: "There may be no better classical actor working in the New York theater right now."[7] Thompson earned both an Obie Award[8] and a Lucille Lortel Award[9] for Othello. In the fall of 2010 Thompson was lauded for his leading role as Antony in a well reviewed rendition of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra opposite Kate Mulgrew.[10]

In 2012, he appeared, in a short role as Lt. Gen. Paulsen, in The Bourne Legacy, the fourth film in the action thriller Bourne series.[11]

In 2015 Thompson received an Obie Award for his performance in Tamburlaine at the Theatre for a New Audience and for The Iceman Cometh at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.[12]

In 2018, Thompson appeared in the role of The Starkeeper in Broadway's Carousel, Imperial Theatre, New York, alongside Joshua Henry, Jessie Mueller, and Renee Fleming.[13]

In addition to his theater work, Thompson has appeared on television in Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU and Conviction. He also appeared in the short film Midway and the legal drama Michael Clayton.

Selected stage work[edit]

Play Role Notes
Julius Caesar Flavius
Cyrano de Bergerac Le Bret
Othello Othello Obie Award; Lucille Lortel Award, Lead Actor
The Emperor Jones Brutus Jones Nominated – Lucille Lortel Award, Lead Actor; Nominated – Drama Desk Award, Lead Actor
The Forest Gennady Neschastlivtsev
Antony and Cleopatra Antony
Tamburlaine the Great Tamburlaine Theatre for a New Audience; NYT Critics Pick;[14] Obie
Troilus and Cressida Agamemnon Shakespeare in the Park (2016), The Public Theater, New York[15]
Jitney Jim Becker Nominated: Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play
Julius Caesar Gaius Cassius Shakespeare in the Park (2017) [16]
Hamlet Prince Hamlet American Conservatory Theater (2017) [17]
Carousel Starkeeper Broadway, 2018
King Lear Earl of Kent Broadway - Cort Theatre, 2019[18]


  1. ^ Artistic Success, No Name Brand Necessary, Ben Brantley, The New York Times, December 20, 2009
  2. ^ Happy Journey of an Actor as Tragic Hero, Monica Drake, The New York Times, September 30, 2009
  3. ^ a b John Douglas Thompson Biography (1964–)
  4. ^ Le Moyne Alumni
  5. ^ John Douglas Thompson sells Othello Archived 2010-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Ever Moor Archived 2010-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Fanfare for the New, the Old, the Less Heralded", Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, December 20, 2009
  8. ^ Obies, 2009 Award Winners
  9. ^ 2009 Lucille Lortel Awards Recipients Announced[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ This Cleo Is No Baby on the Nile, Anita Gates, The New York Times, October 22, 2010
  11. ^
  12. ^ Playbill, 18 May 2015, accessed 22 December 2015
  13. ^ "Carousel - PlayBill - Imperial Theatre - NY".
  14. ^ Theatre for a New Audience 2015 Season
  15. ^ Public Theater 2016
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links[edit]