John Billingsley was born in Media, PA, and lived for a time in Huntsville, Alabama and Slidell, Louisiana. His family eventually settled down in Weston, Connecticut and John had his thick Southern drawl beaten out of him by vicious Yankee children.
He began to act in school plays at the tender age of 9. In A Christmas Carol, John played a particularly ferocious (if gap-toothed and lisping) Ebenezer Scrooge. The attention went to his head and he swore off the career he had planned in international finance.
He graduated from Bennington College, in Bennington, VT, where he studied theatre with Nicholas Martin and literature with Bernard Malamud, but where (mostly) he chased girls (fairly unsuccessfully).
He moved to Seattle, WA, upon graduation, where, over a fifteen year period, he appeared on regional stages both well and ill-regarded. He toured Europe and portions of the US with a Milwaukee-based experimental theatre company (Theatre X), whose production of A History of Sexuality featured him in such disparate roles as Sigmund Freud and the Marquis De Sade's valet. The tour went on for waaaay too long, but at least he got to party with Swedes, Finns, Germans, Danes, and Russkies.
His theatre credits include Candide, David Mamet's Bobby Gould in Hell, The Seagull, Pinter's The Birthday Party, Great Expectations, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, The Nerd, The Country Wife, Richard III, Nothing Sacred (directed by Tony Award winner Doug Hughes), Sam Shepherd's The Unseen Hand & The Tooth of Crime, Saroyan's The Time of Your Life, Harry Kondoleon's The Tooth Fairy, Much Ado About Nothing, Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius and Bitter Bierce, a one man show he produced in 2002 about the life and times of that infamous churl, Ambrose Bierce.
This is a partial list, there are other shows he has repressed.
It should also be noted that John played a Berber taxi-cab driver in Ugly's First World at the acclaimed Actor's Gang Theatre some years back, appearing opposite his lovely and talented wife, Bonita (Bonnie) Friedericy, who played Lady Jane Greystroke (aka Mrs. Tarzan). John has had the great good fortune to appear with Ms. F. on multiple occasions. Most recently they played a distraught couple on a TV show called Fear Itself: Bonnie was required to slap John resoundingly across the face, which is why John eats mostly pureed food-stuffs these days.
In l989 John founded a Seattle based theatre company called Book-It, which was devoted to adapting fiction for the stage and which still flourishes in the Pacific Northwest. Between l990 and 1994, John either directed or acted in over 50 adaptions of stories by a diverse range of authors: Woody Allen, John Updike, John Cheever, Anton Chekhov, Jeannette Winterston, Tobias Wolfe, James Joyce, Raymond Carver, Eudora Welty, etc. Book-it performed it's work in it's own home space, but John is particularly proud of Book-It's numerous tours of the Northwest's prisons, libraries, schools, senior citizen centers and colleges.
John also helped to found an acting studio in Seattle called Freehold, also still flourishing, where he taught for seven years. He helped establish and run the company's theatrical production arm. Always active in a limited way in Seattle based film and TV in the '80's, he decided to move to Los Angeles in l995 to pursue those mediums more aggressively because (1) he was broke and (2) refer back to (1).
After a brief and disastrous stint as a cotton candy spinner (tufts of cotton candy refused to adhere to the paper cones and instead plastered themselves on the faces and garments of frightened children), John caught a break in l997 when he was cast in ABC's NYPD Blue as a pathetic and addled child molester.
Other guest star roles followed: The Pretender, The Practice, Martial Law, LA Doctors, Profiler, Family Law, X-Files, Judging Amy, Nash Bridges, Time of Your Life, among others. Films from this period include Eden, Born to Be Wild, I Love You to Death, Eat Your Heart Out, Whilte Oleander, The Glass House and Breathing Hard (the latter was a film he helped develop about his experiences squiring a randy, misanthropic 94 year old expat British actress around Los Angeles: another notable day job).
In l999 Stephen Spielberg cast him as Prof. Miles Ballard in NBC's The Others. This short lived 'thriller' about ghost-hunters managed to be both behind the curve and ahead of it's time. After it's demise, more guest work: Gilmore Girls, Arli$$, Angel, Touched by an Angel, Diagnosis: Murder, The Huntress, Malcolm and Eddie, Stargate, Martial Law, etc, plus a few more films: Room 6, High Crimes, Crocodile Dundee 3.
In 2000, John was cast as Dr. Phlox in Star Trek: Enterprise. Dr. Phlox was an eccentric alien with a whimsical sense of humor, and John wore the requisite rubber head for four seasons. During hiatus(es), John pursued other film opportunities. In addition to a few indies that never surfaced (mercifully), John appeared opposite Denzel Washington in Carl Franklin's film Out of Time, playing a larcenous but warm-hearted small town coroner. Upon the conclusion of Enterprise's run, John returned to guesting on on TV: NCIS, West Wing, various CSI's,
Cold Case, Nip/Tuck, The Closer, Gideon's Crossing, Six Feet Under, NYPD Blue (again), Ghost Whisperer, and, in a recurring role, the evil Vice-President's hapless (and toothless) brother on Prison Break.
In 2006, John was cast as a series regular for the third (and hopefully not the final) time on the ABC show The Nine. He played Egan Foote, a depressed underachiever thrust into the spotlight when his heroic actions help foil a bank robbery. The Nine, albeit critically acclaimed, was not received rapturously by the great unwashed. RIP.
Since then, more TV (Criminal Minds, Without A Trace, Journeyman, Scrubs, Eli Stone, 24, Grey's Anatomy), more movies (2012, The Least of These, 26 Miles, The Last Word, The Ripple Effect) a little bit of stage work and a smattering of naval gazing. He is currently recurring on True Blood, Alan Ball's hit show about saucy vampires. If you watch the show, you saw quite a bit more of John than you might have wished to in 2009, as the town's participation in a massive (season-long) orgy required him to simulate doing things that are illegal in 27 states, and the Virgin Islands. John signed a nudity waiver, at the producer's behest, and it has been duly framed and now hangs in the guest bathroom.
John's also participated, down the years, in a number of pilots that didn't get picked up, including Lee and Me, Suspect, Atlanta, SIS, and The Wolrd According to Barnes. Apologies are due to the producers of all of those pilots: he's sure it was all his fault.
Upcoming features: Losing Control and Sidonia.
John is blissfully married, which he can't stress enough, especially in light of Bonnie's aforementioned propensity for violence; he is a voracious reader and he could certainly afford to lose 20 pounds (but in his heart of hearts he knows he never will).
1541 Ocean Ave, Suite 200
Santa Monica, CA 90401
The Aids Service Center
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Pasadena, CA 91105
Phone: (626) 441-8495