Terry O'Quinn

Terry O'Quinn

Terry O'Quinn
Terry O'Quinn in 2008.
Born Terrance Quinn
(1952-07-15) July 15, 1952
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Lori O'Quinn (m. 1979)
Children 2

Terry O'Quinn (born Terrance Quinn on July 15, 1952) is an American actor, most famous for playing John Locke on the TV series Lost. O'Quinn became known for playing the title role in The Stepfather and Stepfather II and was cast in 1996 as Peter Watts in Millennium, which ran for three seasons (1996–1999).


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • The Stepfather films 2.1
    • Lost 2.2
  • Filmography 3
    • Film 3.1
    • Television 3.2
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

O'Quinn was born as Terrance Quinn at War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, one of 11 siblings, and grew up in nearby Newberry, Michigan. He is of Irish descent, and was raised Roman Catholic.[1][2] He attended Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, and the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He changed his surname from Quinn to O'Quinn as another registered actor already had the name Terrance Quinn.[3]

In the 1970s he came to Baltimore to act in the Baltimore regional theater play Tartuffe. He was cast in his first movie role Heaven's Gate, but it required horse riding. O'Quinn took riding lessons from Lori Binkley at Wood Gait Farm in northwest Baltimore County. He took on the role of Captain Minardi in Heaven's Gate, a Western that starred a slew of big names like Kris Kristofferson, Christopher Walken, Jeff Bridges and John Hurt. The movie failed, and is one of the biggest box-office bombs of all time: grossing $3 million on a $44 million budget. However out of the experience O'Quinn married Lori in 1979. They have sons Oliver and Hunter. They raised their boys in Reisterstown before selling the house and moving to Hawai'i in 2004.[4] In 2013, The Baltimore Sun reported that O'Quinn was spotted at a Towson, Maryland, bagel store called Towson Hot Bagels where he told people in the store that he now lives in Timonium, Maryland.[5]


O'Quinn began acting in the 1970s during his time at Central Michigan University. He not only was an outstanding actor but also playwright/director. He wrote and directed the musical Orchestrina. This musical featured five main characters: The Man (played by Jeff Daniels), The Boy (Harold Downs), The Woman (Ann O'Donnell), The Girl (Debbie Penwarden), and The Drunk (James Hilliker), plus a female and a male chorus.

Starting in 1980, O'Quinn has appeared in various feature films such as Silver Bullet, Tombstone, Heaven's Gate, Young Guns, alongside Rutger Hauer in Blind Fury, and as Howard Hughes in The Rocketeer.

O'Quinn also appeared in the Canadian horror movie, Pin (1988) alongside British-born Canadian actor, David Hewlett.

His early television roles include guest appearances on Miami Vice (episode "Give a Little, Take a Little"), Moonlighting, Star Trek: The Next Generation (episode "The Pegasus"), The Twilight Zone (1985 revival; episode "Chameleon"), Homicide: Life on the Street (episode "Hate Crimes"), a recurring role on Earth 2, and a recurring role as Rear Admiral Thomas Boone on JAG as well as Colonel Will Ryan in episode 15 of season 1 on JAG's spin-off series, "NCIS (TV series)" (episode "Enigma").

O'Quinn made his breakthrough by appearing as the deranged serial-killing title character in The Stepfather. His acting performance was praised by film critic Roger Ebert, from the Chicago Sun Times, who commented: "'The Stepfather' has one wonderful element: Terry O'Quinn's performance".[6] O'Quinn was nominated for both a Saturn Award and an Independent Spirit Award for his performance. A sequel was released, two years after the first movie, but it wasn't as much of a success as the first movie. It grossed almost a million dollars less at the box office.[7][8] It was never explained why O'Quinn wasn't in the third installment of the series, in which the stepfather character was portrayed by Robert Wightman.

Around 1995, O'Quinn made guest appearances in The X-Files and Harsh Realm, produced by Chris Carter, who also cast him in the film The X-Files: Fight The Future and then once again in the final season. In 1996 O'Quinn started acting in the television series Millennium as Peter Watts, also produced by Chris Carter. O'Quinn held this role for all three seasons of the series. O'Quinn holds the distinction of having played four different characters within the extended X-Files/Millennium continuum (the two shows being classed together since both Lance Henriksen's character of Frank Black and Charles Nelson Reilly's character of Jose Chung have appeared in both shows).[9][10]

O'Quinn appeared in the second season of Falling Skies in 2012.[11]

The Stepfather films

In 1987 and 1989, Terry played the main character and antagonist in the horror films The Stepfather and The Stepfather II. The franchise spawned a second sequel; however, Terry did not star in the third and final movie. In the first film, Terry plays the role of a deranged serial killer going by the name "Jerry Blake" (his character's real name and identity are never revealed to the audience), who is obsessed with having the ideal family. When the widowed mother and daughter do not comport with his expectations, he spirals into a spell of madness and attempts to brutally murder them. In the second, he escapes from the asylum in which he is placed and steals the identity of a man named Gene Clifford after reading his obituary in a local newspaper.

O'Quinn was approached by director of the 2009 reboot of The Stepfather, Nelson McCormick, to make a cameo appearance in the film, but according to the producers O'Quinn turned down the offer.[12][13]


After a string of recurring appearances on Alias (2002–2003), as the FBI Director Kendall, O'Quinn became a favorite of television producer J.J. Abrams. Following a seven-episode guest run on The West Wing in 2003–2004, O'Quinn received a call from Abrams indicating that the producer wanted to cast him in his new television drama Lost without any audition. In 2005 O'Quinn received an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for his work as John Locke on the series Lost. O'Quinn admitted on the TV Guide Channel that he did not have much faith in Lost at first, calling it "The Mysterious Gilligan's Island of Dr. Moreau".[14] The show, however, became one of the most popular on television, and on September 16, 2007 he won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series for his role, and was nominated again for an Emmy for the role in 2010, which he did not win. In a Tv.com interview O'Quinn commented that the reason he felt comfortable playing this character is because he's a bit like him.[15]



Year Title Role Notes
1980 Heaven's Gate Capt. Minardi
1981 The Doctors Dr. Jerry Dancy
1983 All the Right Moves Freeman Smith
1984 Places in the Heart Buddy Kelsey
Mrs. Soffel Detective Buck McGovern
1985 Silver Bullet Sheriff Joe Haller
Mischief Claude Harbrough
1986 Between Two Women Dr. Wallace
SpaceCamp Launch Director
1987 The Stepfather Jerry Blake Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actor
Black Widow Bruce
1988 Young Guns Alex McSween
1989 Pin Dr. Linden
Blind Fury Frank Deveraux
Stepfather II Dr. Gene Clifford
The Forgotten One Bob Anderson
1990 Blood Oath Major Beckett
Kaleidoscope Henry
1991 Son of the Morning Star General Alfred Terry
The Rocketeer Howard Hughes
Company Business Colonel Pierce Grissom
1992 The Cutting Edge Jack Moseley
My Samurai James McCrea
1993 Tombstone Mayor John Clum
Born Too Soon Dr. Friedman
Visions of Murder Admiral Truman Hager Television movie
1995 Braveheart Executioner Uncredited
1996 Ghosts of Mississippi Judge Hilburn
Primal Fear Bud Yancy
1997 My Stepson, My Lover Richard Cory
Breast Men Hersch Lawyer
Shadow Conspiracy Frank Ridell
1998 The X-Files: Fight the Future Darius Michaud
2000 Rated X J.R. Mitchell
2001 American Outlaws Rollin H. Parker
2002 Hometown Legend Buster Shuler
The Locket Casey Keddington
2003 Old School Goldberg Uncredited
Phenomenon II Military officer Jack Hatch Television movie
2011 Taken from Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story Mark Miller


Year Title Role Notes
1984 Miami Vice Richard Cain Episode: "Give a Little, Take a Little"
1985 The Twilight Zone Dr. Curt Lockridge Episode: "Chameleon"
Remington Steele Chuck McBride Episode: "Coffee, Tea or Steele"
1987 Moonlighting Bryant Wilbourne Episode: "Take a Left At the Altar"
1990 Jake and the Fatman Vincent Novak Episode: "You're Driving Me Crazy"
1992 L.A. Law Nick Moats Episode: "Beauty and the Breast"
1993 Tales from the Crypt Inspector Martin Zeller Episode: "The Bribe"
1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Admiral Eric Pressman Episode: "The Pegasus"
Earth 2 Reilly 6 episodes
1995 The X-Files Lt. Brian Tillman Episode: "Aubrey"
1995–2002 JAG Thomas Boone 10 episodes
1996 Diagnosis: Murder Dr. Ronald Trent Episode: "The Murder Trade"
1996–1999 Millennium Peter Watts 41 episodes
1999–2000 Harsh Realm General Omar Santiago 9 episodes
2001 Roswell Carl Episode: "Michael, the Guys, and the Great Snapple Caper"
2002 The X-Files Shadow Man Episode: "Trust No 1"
2002–2004 Alias FBI Asst. Director Kendall 18 episodes
2003–2004 The West Wing General Nicholas Alexander 7 episodes
2004 NCIS Col. Will Ryan Episode: "Enigma"
Law & Order: Criminal Intent Gordon Buchanan Episode: "Mis-Labeled"
2004–2010 Lost John Locke/The Man in Black 95 episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor – Drama Series (2007, 2009–11)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2005, 2010)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television (2006, 2008, 2011)
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice TV: Villain
2011–2013, 2015 Hawaii Five-0 Commander Joe White 13 episodes
2012–2013 Falling Skies Arthur Manchester 3 episodes
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television
2012 666 Park Avenue Gavin Doran 13 episodes
2014 Gang Related Sam Chapel 12 episodes
Phineas and Ferb Professor Mystery (voice) Episode: "Lost in Danville"
2015 Full Circle Jimmy Parerra 6 episodes


  1. ^ interview with miriam o'callaghan
  2. ^ Loudermilk, Suzanne. "Lost and Found".  
  3. ^ Hatch, Rachel (2008-03-04). "TV Actor Terry O’Quinn Visits With Illinois Wesleyan Theatre Students". Illinois Wesleyan Theatre. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  4. ^ http://www.baltimoremagazine.net/people/2010/05/lost-and-found Lost And Found May 2010
  5. ^ "Locke and bagels: Terry O'Quinn breakfasting in Towson". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2013-06-27. 
  6. ^  
  7. ^ "The Stepfather".  
  8. ^ "The Stepfather 2".  
  9. ^  
  10. ^  
  11. ^ Elavksy, Cindy (2012-03-05). "Celebrity Extra". Downriver Sunday Times. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  12. ^ "Interview: Never Back Down's Amber Heard". Cinemablend. Retrieved 2009-07-17. 
  13. ^ "How Dylan Walsh makes the new Stepfather a killer remake". Sci-Fi Wire. Retrieved 2009-07-18. 
  14. ^ "Terry O'Quinn". Flixster. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  15. ^ O'Quinn, Tiffany (2006-10-05). Jack Bender, Yunjin Kim, Daniel Dae Kim & Terry O'Quinn (Exclusive Interview). Interview with Terry O'Quinn,  

External links