John Lithgow as serial killer Arthur Mitchell
Mr. Lithgow writes about feeling as if he put something over on his teachers and classmates during his Zelig-like years in high school, and he describes how, while studying theater on a Fulbright scholarship in London in the late ’60s, he got out of the draft by pretending to be crazy. "The burden of keeping that to myself has been a major pressure in my life," he said, explaining why he had finally decided to write about it. "It’s still very hard to talk about, because what I was doing wasn’t acting, it was lying…
Mr. Lithgow paused for a moment and grew thoughtful, then quoted Hamlet: " ‘I am myself indifferent honest, but yet I could accuse myself of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me.’ We all have our secrets and we all have our deceptions. Acting at its best is all about deceiving people, and this makes it all the more interesting to us."
He added: "One of the things you learn as an actor is that human beings are capable of almost anything. I’m sort of in the business of illustrating that fact."
A few of Mr Lithgow’s roles: the reverend who hates dancing in Footloose; a transsexual woman in The World According to Garp; a crazed passenger who sees a man on the wing of his plane in The Twilight Zone, Dr. Emilio Lizardo in Buckaroo Banzai, Dr. Dick Solomon in 3rd Rock from the Sun, the bad guy in Cliffhanger, and serial killer Arthur Mitchell in Dexter…
– Drama: An Actor’s Education by John Lithgow>>
– A Memoirist Ever Ready to Inhabit Another Role, The New York Times>>