Terry O'Quinn

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Terry O'Quinn
Terry O'Quinn (2).jpg
O'Quinn in 2008
Terrance Quinn

(1952-07-15) July 15, 1952 (age 70)
Years active1980–present
Lori O'Quinn
(m. 1979; div. 2010)

Terrance Quinn (born July 15, 1952), known professionally as Terry O'Quinn, is an American actor. He played John Locke on the TV series Lost, the title role in The Stepfather and Stepfather II, and Peter Watts in Millennium, which ran for three seasons (1996–1999). He has also hosted Mysteries of the Missing on The Science Channel. For his role in Lost, he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Early life[edit]

O'Quinn was born at War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, one of 11 siblings, and grew up in nearby Newberry, Michigan. He is of Irish descent, and was raised Catholic.[1][2] He attended Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He changed his surname from Quinn to O'Quinn as another registered actor already had the name Terrance Quinn.[3]

In the 1970s, he went to Baltimore to act in the Center Stage production of Tartuffe. He remained at Center Stage for some years and often appeared with the late Tana Hicken, most notably as Benedick to her Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. His first movie role was in Heaven's Gate.


O'Quinn began acting in the 1970s during his time at Central Michigan University. He not only was an actor but also playwright/director. He wrote and directed the musical Orchestrina. This musical featured five main characters: The Man (played by Jeff Daniels), The Boy (Harold Downs), The Woman (Ann O'Donnell), The Girl (Debbie Penwarden), and The Drunk (James Hilliker), plus a female and a male chorus. He was roommates at CMU with actor Brad Slaight.[citation needed]

Starting in 1980, O'Quinn has appeared in various feature films such as Silver Bullet, Tombstone, Heaven's Gate, Young Guns, alongside Rutger Hauer in Blind Fury, and as Howard Hughes in The Rocketeer.

O'Quinn also appeared in the Canadian horror movie, Pin (1988) alongside British-born Canadian actor, David Hewlett.

His early television roles include guest appearances on Tales of the unexpected (episode "in the bag"), Miami Vice (episode "Give a Little, Take a Little"), Moonlighting, Star Trek: The Next Generation (episode "The Pegasus"), The Twilight Zone (1985 revival; episode "Chameleon"), Homicide: Life on the Street (episode "Hate Crimes"), a recurring role on Earth 2, another recurring role as Captain (later Rear Admiral) Thomas Boone on JAG, as well as Colonel Will Ryan in episode 15 of season 1 on the JAG spin-off series NCIS (episode "Enigma").

Around 1995, O'Quinn made guest appearances in The X-Files and Harsh Realm, produced by Chris Carter, who also cast him in the film The X-Files: Fight The Future and then once again in the final season. In 1996 O'Quinn started acting in the television series Millennium as Peter Watts, also produced by Chris Carter. O'Quinn held this role for all three seasons of the series. O'Quinn holds the distinction of having played four different characters within the extended X-Files/Millennium continuum (the two shows being classed together since both Lance Henriksen's character of Frank Black and Charles Nelson Reilly's character of Jose Chung have appeared in both shows).[4][5]

The Stepfather films[edit]

O'Quinn made his breakthrough by starring as the title character in The Stepfather, a deranged serial killer going by the name "Jerry Blake" (his character's real name and identity are never revealed), who is obsessed with having an ideal family. When a widowed mother and daughter do not comport with his expectations, he spirals into a spell of madness and attempts to brutally murder them. O'Quinn was praised by critics, including Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, who commented, "The Stepfather has one wonderful element: Terry O'Quinn's performance."[6] Ebert wrote, "He is a journeyman actor from TV and many movies, usually in supporting roles, and you may or may not recognize him. What's clear at once is that he is a strong actor, and given this leading role he brings all kinds of creepy dimensions to it. He has the thankless assignment of showing us a completely hateful, repellent character – and he approaches the task as an exercise in cloying middle-class good manners."[6] O'Quinn was nominated for both a Saturn Award and an Independent Spirit Award for his performance. A sequel, Stepfather II, was released two years later, in which his character escapes from an insane asylum. It grossed almost a million dollars less at the box office.[7][8] Not impressed with the second movie, O'Quinn declined to appear in the third installment, in which the stepfather character was portrayed by Robert Wightman.

O'Quinn was approached by director of the 2009 reboot of The Stepfather, Nelson McCormick, to make a cameo appearance in the film, but according to the producers O'Quinn turned down the offer.[9][10]


After a string of recurring appearances on Alias (2002–2003), as the FBI Director Kendall, O'Quinn became a favorite of television producer J.J. Abrams. Following a seven-episode guest run on The West Wing in 2003–2004, O'Quinn received a call from Abrams indicating that the producer wanted to cast him in his new television drama Lost without any audition. In 2005 O'Quinn received an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for his work as John Locke on the series Lost. O'Quinn admitted on the TV Guide Channel that he did not have much faith in Lost at first, calling it "The Mysterious Gilligan's Island of Dr. Moreau".[11] The show, however, became one of the most popular on television, and on September 16, 2007, he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series for his role, and was nominated again for an Emmy for the role in 2010, which he did not win. In a TV.com interview O'Quinn commented that the reason he felt comfortable playing this character is because he's a bit like him.[12]


O'Quinn has made a number of television appearances since Lost. From 2012–2013, O'Quinn starred in the short-lived series 666 Park Avenue as Gavin Doran. In 2012, he appeared in the second season of Falling Skies.[13] Additionally, O’Quinn starred for two seasons in Amazon Studios' Patriot.

In 2016, it was announced that O'Quinn would be joining the second season of Secret and Lies.[14] In 2019, O'Quinn starred in the only season of Perpetual Grace, LTD on Epix.

In February 2021, it was announced that O'Quinn was cast as Martin Queller in the upcoming Netflix thriller series Pieces of Her, which is adapted from the Karin Slaughter novel of the same name.[15]

Volunteer work[edit]

Terry joined the Cameo platform shortly after its launch in 2017. He has since been creating videos for fans and donating all of the proceeds to the Virginia Beach SPCA. Terry has raised thousands of dollars on Cameo, and continues to create videos weekly.[16]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 Heaven's Gate Capt. Minardi
1981 The Doctors Dr. Jerry Dancy
1983 All the Right Moves Freeman Smith
1984 Places in the Heart Buddy Kelsey
Mrs. Soffel Detective Buck McGovern
1985 Silver Bullet Sheriff Joe Haller
Mischief Claude Harbrough
1986 Between Two Women Dr. Wallace
SpaceCamp Launch Director
1987 The Stepfather Jerry Blake Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
Black Widow Bruce
1988 Young Guns Alex McSween
1989 Pin Dr. Linden
Blind Fury Frank Deveraux
Stepfather II Dr. Gene Clifford
The Forgotten One Bob Anderson
1990 Blood Oath Major Beckett
Kaleidoscope Henry
1991 Son of the Morning Star General Alfred Terry
The Rocketeer Howard Hughes
Company Business Colonel Pierce Grissom
1992 The Cutting Edge Jack Moseley
My Samurai James McCrea
1993 Tombstone Mayor John Clum
Born Too Soon Dr. Friedman
Amityville: A New Generation Detective Clark
1995 Shadow Warriors Dr. Connors
1996 Ghosts of Mississippi Judge Hilburn
Primal Fear Bud Yancy
1997 My Stepson, My Lover Richard Cory
Breast Men Hersch Lawyer
Shadow Conspiracy Frank Ridell
1998 The X-Files Darius Michaud
2000 Rated X J.R. Mitchell
2001 American Outlaws Rollin H. Parker
2002 Hometown Legend Buster Shuler
The Locket Casey Keddington
2003 Old School Goldberg Uncredited
2016 New Life Dr. Sumrall


Year Title Role Notes
1982 Tales of the Unexpected Cop Episode: "In the Bag"
1984 Miami Vice Richard Cain Episode: "Give a Little, Take a Little"
1985 The Twilight Zone Dr. Curt Lockridge Episode: "Chameleon"
An Early Frost Dr. Redding
Remington Steele Chuck McBride Episode: "Coffee, Tea or Steele"
1987 Moonlighting Bryant Wilbourne Episode: "Take a Left At the Altar"
1990 Jake and the Fatman Vincent Novak Episode: "You're Driving Me Crazy"
1992 L.A. Law Nick Moats Episode: "Beauty and the Breast"
1993 Tales from the Crypt Inspector Martin Zeller Episode: "The Bribe"
Visions of Murder Admiral Truman Hager Television movie
1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Admiral Erik Pressman Episode: "The Pegasus"
Earth 2 Reilly 6 episodes
Matlock Malcolm Engle Episode: "The Dare"
1995 The X-Files Lt. Brian Tillman Episode: "Aubrey"
1995–2002 JAG Capt./RAdm. Thomas Boone, CAG 10 episodes
1996 Diagnosis: Murder Dr. Ronald Trent Episode: "The Murder Trade"
1996–1999 Millennium Peter Watts 41 episodes
1999–2000 Harsh Realm General Omar Santiago 9 episodes
2001 Roswell Carl Episode: "Michael, the Guys, and the Great Snapple Caper"
2002 The X-Files Shadow Man Episode: "Trust No 1"
2002–2004 Alias FBI Asst. Director Kendall 18 episodes
2003 Phenomenon II Military officer Jack Hatch Television movie
2003–2004 The West Wing General Nicholas Alexander 7 episodes
2004 NCIS Col. Will Ryan Episode: "Enigma"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Gordon Buchanan Episode: "Mis-Labeled"
2004–2010 Lost John Locke/The Man in Black 101 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series (2007, 2009–11)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2005, 2010)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television (2006, 2008, 2011)
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Villain
2011 Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story Mark Miller Television movie
2011–2018 Hawaii Five-0 Commander Joe White 16 episodes
2012–2013 Falling Skies Arthur Manchester 3 episodes
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television
2012 666 Park Avenue Gavin Doran 13 episodes
2014 Gang Related Sam Chapel 12 episodes
Phineas and Ferb Professor Mystery (voice) Episode: "Lost in Danville"
2015 Full Circle Jimmy Parerra 6 episodes
2015–2018 Patriot Tom Tavner 18 episodes
2016 Secrets and Lies John Warner Main role; 7 episodes
2017 The Blacklist Howard Hargrave Episode: "Isabella Stone (No. 34)"; uncredited
The Blacklist: Redemption Howard Hargrave Recurring; 7 episodes
Mysteries of the Missing[17] Himself (host) Recurring
2018 Castle Rock[18] Dale Lacy 4 episodes
2019 Perpetual Grace, LTD Texas Ranger Wesley Walker 10 episodes
Emergence Richard Kindred Recurring
2020–2022 FBI: Most Wanted Byron LaCroix Recurring; seasons 2–3
2021 Resident Alien Peter Bach Episode: "Welcome Aliens"
Christmas Sail Dennis Hallmark Movie
2022 Pieces of Her Martin Queller Recurring role


  1. ^ interview with miriam o'callaghan
  2. ^ Loudermilk, Suzanne (May 2010). "Lost and Found". Baltimore. Retrieved July 15, 2010. He's come a long way, literally and figuratively, from his days in small-town Newberry, MI, where he was one of 11 children in a close-knit, Irish-Catholic family.
  3. ^ Hatch, Rachel (March 4, 2008). "TV Actor Terry O'Quinn Visits With Illinois Wesleyan Theatre Students". Illinois Wesleyan Theatre. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  4. ^ Thomas J. Wright (director), Vince Gilligan & Frank Spotnitz (writers). "Millennium". The X-Files. Season 7. Episode 5. Fox.
  5. ^ Darin Morgan (director and writer). "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defense". Millennium. Season 2. Episode 9. Fox.
  6. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (March 2, 1987). "The Stepfather". RogerEbert.com. Chicago Sun-Times.
  7. ^ "The Stepfather". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  8. ^ "The Stepfather 2". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  9. ^ "Interview: Never Back Down's Amber Heard". Cinemablend. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  10. ^ "How Dylan Walsh makes the new Stepfather a killer remake". Sci-Fi Wire. Retrieved July 18, 2009.
  11. ^ "Terry O'Quinn". Flixster. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  12. ^ O'Quinn, Terry; Kim, Yunjin; Kim, Daniel Dae; Bender, Jack (October 5, 2006). "Jack Bender, Yunjin Kim, Daniel Dae Kim & Terry O'Quinn (Exclusive Interview)". TV.com (Interview). Interviewed by Tiffany O'Quinn. Archived from the original on June 14, 2008. Retrieved August 6, 2008.
  13. ^ Elavsky, Cindy (March 5, 2012). "Celebrity Extra". Downriver Sunday Times. Retrieved March 16, 2012.
  14. ^ "'Secrets And Lies' Season 2 Cast Photos Released; No Premiere Date Announced Yet". International Business Times. January 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
  15. ^ Petski, Denise (February 5, 2021). "'Pieces Of Her': Gil Birmingham, Terry O'Quinn & Calum Worthy Join Netflix Series As Recurring". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  16. ^ "Cameo: User Profile for Terry O'Quinn". Cameo.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ "Terry O'Quinn To Host New Science Channel Series Mysteries Of The Missing – Discovery Communications, Inc". corporate.discovery.com. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (August 29, 2017). "'Castle Rock': Terry O'Quinn Cast In Hulu's J.J. Abrams/Stephen King Series". Deadline. Retrieved September 5, 2017.

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