After having a string of screen roles, actor Thomas Haden Church gained overnight success with his superb supporting turn of Jack, alongside Paul Giamatti, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh, in Alexander Payne’s Sideways (2004). Before long, Church swept up numerous awards, including a Screen Actors Guild Award, an Independent Spirit Award and a National Board of Review Award. He also brought home an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild nomination.
Previously, Church was famous as senseless Lowell Mather in the sitcom “Wings” (1990-1995) and egocentric Ned in the sitcom “Ned and Stacey” (1995-1997). The actor, who was also seen in George of the Jungle (1997) and 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001), will carry out the role of villainous Sandman/Flint Marko in the forthcoming sequel Spider-Man 3 (2007).
Apart from acting, the former radio personality also provided his voice to a Marrill Lynch and Icehouse Beer TV commercial. Outside the studio spotlight, Church is a full-time rancher (revealed on the June 23, 2006, episode of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”). The actor, with moderate political views, now resides on his ranch in Kerrville, Texas.
Childhood and Family:
Thomas Haden Church was born on June 17, 1961, in El Paso, Texas. The Texan attended high school in Harlingen, in 1979, and later worked as a deejay at KBFM, a local radio station. The graduate of North Texas State University (majored in Radio, Film and Television) was once also employed as a voice-over announcer before establishing a successful acting career.
Thomas Haden Church kicked off his acting career with an unaccredited role as a roommate in Gypsy Angels (1980). Nine years later, he appeared sporadically on the small screen and made guest appearances in “21 Jump Street” (1989), “Cheers” (1989, as Gordie Brown), “China Beach” (1989) and “Booker” (1989, 2 episodes, played Leon Ross).
The voice actor of Goban Toba in the video game Ys: Book 1&2 (1990) immediately grabbed attention after playing Lowell Mather, a dim-witted, yet lovable, airport mechanic in the long-running sitcom “Wings” (1990-1995). Church was also seen in the pilot episode of “Flying Blind” (1992) before making his debut in feature-length films like Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert (1993, TV, had the supporting role of Nelson Hareem) and the western movie Tombstone (1993, appeared as Billy Clanton).
In 1995, Church had his first starring role in the sitcom “Ned and Stacey” (1995-1997), in which he took on the titular role of a self-righteous man marrying a girl for a promotion. For the TV show, the actor also served as the executive consultant. The sitcom was followed with his costarring turn as villainous Lyle van de Groot, alongside Brendan Fraser and Leslie Mann, in the comedy movie George of the Jungle (1997).
A year later, Church attempted producing with the little seen Scotch and Milk (1998), directed by actor Adam Goldberg. He next carried out several featured roles, such as Dr. Chris Stillman in the crime comedy Susan’s Plan (1998) and Steven Troy in the star-studded comedy Goosed (1999). He also starred as The Strobe/Ted Tilderbrook in the superhero comedy film The Specials (2000, opposite Paget Brewster). The actor then took part in Demian Lichtenstein’s 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001, played U.S. Marshal Quigley) and The Badge (2002, took the role of David Hardwick).
Church sat in the director’s chair with his first, self-written movie, the comedy Rolling Kansas (2003). The indie movie, which was about a road trip searching for a magical forest of marijuana, also featured Church as Agent Madsen/Trooper.
“For a while, I was through with acting, and then Alexander Payne called me up and said, ‘Hey, Thomas! I have a script I want you to read. It’ll be great! You get to sleep with my wife!’” Thomas Haden Church on Sideways (2004)
Church’s fame catapulted after joining director Alexander Payne in his adaptation of Rex Pickett’s novel, Sideways (2004), where he was cast as mediocre TV actor Jack, opposite Paul Giamatti, Virginia Madsen and Sandra Oh. For his impressive portrayal of the character, Church soon reaped dozens of awards, including a Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by a Cast, as well as an Independent Spirit award and a National Board of Review for Best Supporting Actor. Additionally, the actor earned an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
The victory led him to such screen projects as the animated movie Over the Hedge (2006), where he voiced Dwayne, as well as the mini western series “Broken Trail” (2006), in which he acted opposite Robert Duvall and Gwendoline Yeo. Still in 2006, the performer will provide his voice for Brooks in the upcoming animated film Charlotte’s Web.
In 2007, Church is set to play Sandman/ Flint Marko, a felon with the ability to transform his body into living sand, in the third installment of the Spider-Man franchise, Spider-Man 3 (2007). He will also star with Dennis Quaid and Rachel Weisz in Noam Murro’s romantic comedy Smart People (2007) and voice a character in the animated film American Dog (2008), made by the creator of Lilo & Stitch.