John Douglas Thompson

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John Douglas Thompson
Born 1964 (age 52–53)
Bath, England
Occupation Actor

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.[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 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;[13] Obie
Troilus and Cressida Agamemnon Shakespeare in the Park (2016), The Public Theater, New York[14]
Jitney Jim Becker Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play (pending)


External links[edit]