A tall, lanky performer who perfected his craft on stage before becoming a character actor in TV and film, John C. McGinley first came to prominence as Sergeant Red O'Neill in the Oliver Stone directed “Platoon” (1986), which won four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. He went on to work in Stone's “Wall Street” (1987), “Talk Radio” (1988), “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989) and “Any Given Sunday” (1999). He also appeared in “Highlander II: The Quickening” (1991), “A Midnight Clear” (1992), “Surviving the Game” (1994), “On Deadly Ground” (1994), “Se7en” (1995), “Set It Off” (1996), “Nothing to Lose” (1997), “Office Space” (1999), “Get Carter” (2000), “The Animal” (2001), “Crazy as Hell” (2002), “Identity” (2003), “Puff, Puff, Pass” (2006), “American Crude” (2007), “Wild Hogs” (2007) and “Are We Done Yet?” (2007). He won a Festival Director's Award at the 2006 Method Fest for his work in the festival favorite “Dirt Nap” (2006).
On the small screen, McGinley received critical praise for his role as a murderer in the successful Fox miniseries “Intensity” (1997). However, he is perhaps most famous for playing Dr. Perry Cox in the NBC series “Scrubs” (2001-present).
“With my dorky head, I guess I just wasn't handsome enough. I'd do the audition but never hear back. TV tends to look for the living equivalents of squeaky-clean Kens and Barbies, but with my dial I'm more like Ken's dirty old uncle.” John C. McGinley (on why he feels he never landed a role as a TV series regular until “Scrubs”)
As for his personal life, McGinley has been married twice. He was married to Lauren Lambert from 1997 to 2001 and has a son with her. He married his current wife, Nicole Kessler, in April 2007. McGinley has a restaurant in New York City called Match with fellow “Platoon” star Willem Dafoe. In 2006, he was appointed the national spokesperson for the National Down Syndrome Society's annual Buddy Walk and wears a Buddy Walk bracelet on “Scrubs.” McGinley is a close friend of John Cusack.
Childhood and Family:
One of five children, John Christopher McGinley was born on August 3, 1959, in New York, New York. His father, Gerald McGinley, was a stockbroker and his mother, Patricia, was a schoolteacher. John was raised in Newark and Milburn, New Jersey. After graduating from Millburn High School, he studied acting at Syracuse University and later at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.
In February 1997, John married Lauren Lambert and they had a son together in 1997 named Max McGinley. In December 2001, the couple divorced. In August 2006, John was engaged to his yoga instructor Nicole Kessler after having dated her for two years. They were married in a private ceremony at their home on April 7, 2007.
John got the nickname “Johnny C” from his coworkers on “Scrubs.”
After receiving his MFA degree, John C. McGinley immersed himself in various on and off Broadway productions and appeared as Ned Howard on the NBC soap opera “Another World” from 1985 to 1986. While working as John Turturro's understudy in New York in the Circle-In-The-Square production of John Patrick Shanley's “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” (1984), he was discovered by a talent scout who introduced him to Oliver Stone. Soon after, the actor was cast in the role of Sergeant Red O'Neill in the Oscar winning “Platoon.” The Vietnam War movie was delayed for almost two years before finally being released in 1986. By this time, McGinley had also appeared in “Sweet Liberty” (1986), which was written, directed and starred Alan Alda and worked on Broadway in “Requiem for a Heavyweight.”
The success of “Platoon” led to subsequent collaborations with Stone on “Wall Street” (1987), where he portrayed Charlie Sheen's co-worker, “Talk Radio” (1988), in which he reprised his stage role as the station engineer, and “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989). When Stone offered him the role in “Born on the Fourth of July,” McGinley was already committed to Roland Joffe's “Fat Man and Little Boy” (1989). Due to scheduling problems, he had a cameo role in “Born on the Fourth of July” and it took six years before the two finally worked together again in 1995's “Nixon.” Meanwhile, McGinley also acted in such films as “Point Break” (1991), “Highlander II: The Quickening” (1991), “A Midnight Clear” (1992), “Wagons East” (1994), “Car 54,” “Where Are You?” (1994), “Surviving the Game” (1994) and “On Deadly Ground” (1994). He also appeared on TV and was seen in the television movie “Clinton and Nadine” (1988). John then displayed his screen writing talent for the independent film “Suffering Bastards” (1989) and made his feature producing debut with 1993's comedy “Watch It.” McGinley also starred in both films.
McGinley remained busy working in such features as “Born to Be Wild” (1995), David Fincher's “Se7en” (1995), “Hollywood Boulevard” (1996), “Set It Off” (1996), “The Rock” (1996), “Mother” (1996), “Nothing to Lose” (1997), Mike Judge's “Office Space” (1999) and “Three to Tango” (1999) before reuniting with Stone in the feature role of Jack Rose in the football drama “Any Given Sunday” (1999), which starred Al Pacino, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, James Woods and Jamie Foxx, among other big names. He also gained critical notice on the small screen for his starring role as a serial killer in Dean Koontz's suspenseful drama “Intensity” (1997). The four part miniseries became Fox's highest rated miniseries. Later, in 2000, he and Koontz worked together once again for the made-for-TV film “Sole Survivor,” opposite Billy Zane, Gloria Reuben and Isabella Hofmann.
The early 2000s saw roles in films like Warner Bros.' “Get Carter” (2000), “The Animal” (2001), “Stealing Harvard” (2002), Eriq La Salle's “Crazy as Hell” (2002) and “Identity” (2003). McGinley then scored a huge break when he was cast in the regular role of Dr. Perry Cox on the NBC sitcom “Scrubs” in 2001. Currently working on the series, he was nominated for a Television Critics Association award for Individual Achievement in Comedy in 2002 and a Golden Satellite for Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Comedy or Musical in 2003.
From 2003 to 2005, McGinley provided the voice of superhero The Atom on the animated series “Justice League.” He also starred as Mark in the critically acclaimed comedy “Dirt Nap” (2006), from which he shared Method Fest's Festival Director's Award with director/actor/writer D.B. Sweeney, and appeared as Jerry Dupree in “Puff, Puff, Pass” (2006). In 2007, he could be found acting in three films, “American Crude,” directed by Craig Sheffer, “Wild Hogs,” as a Highway Patrol Officer, and “Are We Done Yet?” opposite Ice Cube.
Method Fest: Festival Director's Award, “Dirt Nap,” 2006