John Lithgow

Chances are you think of him as a killer: the Emmy-winning kind who enlivened Dexter on Showtime; or, perhaps, the tongue-in-cheek kind who stole Cliffhanger right out from under Sly Stallone’s mountain. Of course, you may also have tender feelings toward him: the same ones that crossed his hangdog face as the woebegone, married loan officer who falls for Debra Winger in Terms of Endearment; the same ones that, playing Hollywood’s first sympathetic transsexual in The World According to Garp, fueled his fervent protection of feminist nurse Glenn Close. And then there are all those seasons he played an alien on Third Rock from the Sun. I could go on and on about John Lithgow, but it will more fun to hear him answering radio host Marcie Sillman's questions about Drama: An Actor’s Education (Harper, $26.99), a memoir filled with facts as quirky as his career on stage and screen. For example: Coretta Scott, before she married Martin Luther King, babysat the future actor. And who knew that Midwestern kid would grow up to have a heated affair with Liv Ullmann? “We all have our secrets and we all have our deceptions,” he recently told The New York Times. “Acting at its best is all about deceiving people, and this makes it all the more interesting to us.” Sure. But being bonkers in Buckaroo Banzai helps, too. STEVE WIECKING

Wed., Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., 2011

 
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