John Douglas Thompson

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John Douglas Thompson
Born1964 (age 56–57)
EducationLe Moyne College
Trinity Rep Conservatory

John Douglas Thompson (born 1964) is an English-American actor. He is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, two Drama Desk Awards and two Obie Awards, as well as being nominated for a Tony Award.

The New York Times critic Ben Brantley described Thompson 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 2014, he played the roles of both Louis Armstrong and Joe Glaser in the one-actor play "Satchmo at the Waldorf," by Terry Teachout.[12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

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
Satchmo at the Waldorf Louis Armstrong and Joe Glaser Thompson also played the minor role of Miles Davis.
Tamburlaine the Great Tamburlaine Theatre for a New Audience; NYT Critics Pick;[15] Obie
Troilus and Cressida Agamemnon Shakespeare in the Park (2016), The Public Theater, New York[16]
Jitney Jim Becker Nominated: Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play
Julius Caesar Gaius Cassius Shakespeare in the Park (2017) [17]
Hamlet Prince Hamlet American Conservatory Theater (2017) [18]
Carousel Starkeeper Broadway, 2018
King Lear Earl of Kent Broadway - Cort Theatre, 2019[19]


  1. ^ Brantley, Ben (December 16, 2009). "Artistic Success, No Name Brand Necessary". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  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, March 24, 2014, accessed 14 July 2020
  13. ^ Playbill, 18 May 2015, accessed 22 December 2015
  14. ^ "Carousel - PlayBill - Imperial Theatre - NY".
  15. ^ Theatre for a New Audience 2015 Season
  16. ^ Public Theater 2016
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^

External links[edit]