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John Shea Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (19) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 14 April 1949North Conway, New Hampshire, USA
Birth NameJohn Victor Shea
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Primarily known to TV audiences for his recurring role as the evil Lex Luthor in the early 90s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993) TV series, handsome, slim-faced, curly-haired actor John Shea was born in New Hampshire in 1949, but raised in Massachusetts. He received his BA from Bates College, which he achieved on debating and football scholarships. He then attended Yale University and earned an MFA in directing from its School of Drama.

Following New York stage work, including his portrayal of Paris in a production of "Romeo and Juliet" (1977), initial on-camera notice came on TV with his reverential portrayal of Joseph in the mini-movie The Nativity (1978). A few years later on film he appeared in the small but memorable role of the impassioned, ill-fated American idealist who becomes a casualty to Chilean war-torn politics in Costa-Gavras' Academy Award-winning thriller Missing (1982). Although Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, who respectively played his despairing father and wife, were nominated for Oscars for their starring performances, John's role was central to the heart of the film and he made quite an impact. The actor was later honored by Amnesty International for his political work following the film's release.

Critical kudos, as well as awards, have come in John's direction over the years on stage, film and TV. In the film Windy City (1984) opposite Kate Capshaw, he earned the Best Actor Award at the Montreal Film Festival. On stage, he received a Drama Desk Award for "American Days", an Obie Award for "The Dining Room" and a 1976 Theatre World Award for his portrayal of the Jewish student "Avigdor" in "Yentl". The role was later portrayed by Mandy Patinkin in Barbra Streisand's 1983 film adaptation. On television, John was awarded the coveted Emmy for his depiction of the distressed husband and father wannabe who touches off a legal landmark case in the miniseries, Baby M (1988).

In a career pocked with remarkable versatility, interesting choices and challenging parts, John has played everything from a young Nazi in the miniseries Hitler's S.S.: Portrait in Evil (1985) to 'Robert F. Kennedy' in the epic-styled Kennedy (1983). He has kept his face alive in guest parts over the years on such well-received series as Sex and the City (1998), Tales from the Crypt (1989), Deadly Nightmares (1983), Law & Order (1990) and Medium (2005). A budding Irish-American filmmaker, John co-wrote, directed and appeared in the low-budget film Southie (1998), a drama set in the Irish-American section of Boston. The film won the Jury Award for Best Independent Film at the 1998 Seattle International Film Festival.

Into the millennium, John found popularity on the Mutant X (2001) sci-fi series playing the role of "Adam Kane". Based on Marvel Comic's "X-Men", he received a nomination for Canada's prestigious Gemini Award as Best Actor. He also appears in a recurring role on Gossip Girl (2007). More recent filming includes a spat of thrillers including The Insurgents (2006) with Mary Stuart Masterson; the British Framed (2008) and the Indian drama Achchamundu! Achchamundu! (2009), plus the Jessica Alba drama, An Invisible Sign (2010), and the horror opus 51 (2011).

A screenwriter and audio book performer in addition to all his other talents, John lives with his second wife, the painter Melissa MacLeod, and his family are based in New York and on Nantucket Island where he was a founding member of the Nantucket Film Festival and is currently Artistic Director of the Nantucket Theatre Workshop. He has one son, Jake, from his first marriage, and two children, Miranda and Caiden, by wife Melissa.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Melissa MacLeod (August 2001 - present) (2 children)
Laura Pettibone (19 June 1971 - 2000) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (19)

Children: Jake (born 1987), Miranda (born 2000) and Caiden (born 2004).
He was nominated for a 1977 Joseph Jefferson Award for Actor in a Principal Role in a Play for "Long Day's Journey Into Night" at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.
Preparing for his role as a sociopath in the French thriller Lune de miel (1985) [Honeymoon] opposite Nathalie Baye, John willingly entered himself into psychoanalysis in character in NYC's John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He also learned the French script and shot his scenes both in French and English.
Used Donald Trump and Richard III as character studies in preparing himself for the role of nemesis Lex Luthor in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993). During season two, he had to spend an average of three hours a day in the makeup chair to appear bald.
During the first rehearsal of the TV movie Family Reunion (1981), the legendary Bette Davis asked John, who was playing her grandson, whether he smoked or not. A very nervous John lied and said he did. The star then responded, "Good, I can't stand men who don't smoke." The young actor proceeded to light up two cigarettes at once, a la Paul Henreid in the Davis film Now, Voyager (1942), and gave one to Ms. Davis.
Made his Carnegie Hall debut playing the Soldier in Igor Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale" in 2002.
In preparation for an explicit nude scene in the British film Hussy (1980), in which John was making his film debut, the newcomer and his co-star Helen Mirren shared a bottle of red wine.
Appeared opposite Bianca Jagger in the play "Daniella Frank," then later appeared with her ex-husband, Mick Jagger, in the movie Freejack (1992).
Only three men ever screen tested for the role of Indiana Jones for Steven Spielberg, John, Tom Selleck and, of course, Indiana himself, Harrison Ford.
While attending Bates College, he made his summer stock debut in Sean O'Casey's "Juno and the Paycock" at the Nantucket Theatre Workshop. He is presently the Artistic Director of that same theatre.
Director Costa-Gavras spotted John playing a rock and roll producer in the stage play "American Days" at the Manhattan Theatre Club and immediately cast the actor in his critically-acclaimed film Missing (1982) without an audition.
Wore a blond wig, false teeth and spent three months studying Bobby Kennedy's pronounced accent in preparation for his role in the miniseries Kennedy (1983) opposite Martin Sheen as brother Jack.
For many years he played for the Hollywood All Stars, which was comprised of a group of actors who played charity baseball games around the country. He played three times at Yankee Stadium on teams that included Donald Trump, Michael Bolton, Al Pacino, Fisher Stevens, Al Franken, Paul Sorvino, Gregory Harrison and Meat Loaf.
While starring in London's West End production of Larry Kramer's "The Normal Heart," John suddenly passed out on stage after being stricken by food poisoning. Literally carried off the stage, he was revived and managed to return to finish the performance.
Co-emceed the largest peace demonstration in American history, the June 12, 1982 anti-nuclear rally in Central Park, New York City. This later became the subject of the Robert Richter and Stanley Warnow documentary concert film In Our Hands (1984).
Became the first Hollywood actor to star in a Tamil-language film after being cast in the Indian thriller Achchamundu! Achchamundu! (2009).
In order to prepare for his role as a concert violinist opposite Kelly McGillis in the Isreali film Ha-Holmim (1987), John spent six months rehearsing a musical piece in New York, London and Tel Aviv for a performance scene lasting one minute.
John Shea auditioned for the role of "Indiana Jones" in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), alongside Karen Allen.
He has Irish and German ancestry.

Personal Quotes (1)

When I read a role, I try to find something that I can bring to the role and something that the role brings to me. Something that I don't know anything about and that the character can teach me.

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