Tracy Letts

Tracy Letts

Letts at the premiere of August: Osage County, Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2013
Born (1965-07-04) July 4, 1965
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Occupation Playwright, screenwriter, actor
Years active 1988–present
Spouse(s) Carrie Coon (m. 2013)
Awards Pulitzer Prize for Drama
2008 August: Osage County
Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play
2013 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Tracy Letts (born July 4, 1965) is an American playwright, screenwriter and actor who received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play August: Osage County[1] and a Tony Award for his portrayal of George in the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

He wrote the screenplays of three films adapted from his own plays: Bug and Killer Joe, both directed by William Friedkin, and August: Osage County, directed by John Wells. He is also known for his portrayal of Andrew Lockhart in seasons 3 and 4 of Showtime's Homeland, for which he has been nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Awards as a member of the ensemble.

Life and career

Letts was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to best-selling author Billie Letts (née Gipson) and the late college professor and actor Dennis Letts.[2][3] He has two brothers, Shawn, a jazz musician and composer, and Dana. Letts was raised in Durant, Oklahoma and graduated from Durant High School in the early 1980s. He moved to Dallas, where he waited tables and worked in telemarketing while starting as an actor. He acted in Jerry Flemmons' O Dammit!, which was part of a new playwrights series sponsored by Southern Methodist University.

Letts moved to Chicago at the age of 20, and worked for the next 11 years at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Famous Door. He is still an active member of Steppenwolf. He was a founding member of Bang Bang Spontaneous Theatre, whose members included Greg Kotis (Tony Award-winner for Urinetown), Michael Shannon (Academy Award-nominee for Revolutionary Road), Paul Dillon, and Amy Pietz.[4] In 1991, Letts wrote the play Killer Joe. Two years later, the play premiered at the Next Lab Theater in Chicago, followed by the 29th Street Rep in NYC. Since then, Killer Joe has been performed in at least 15 countries in 12 languages.[5]

His mother Billie Letts, also a writer, has said of his work, "I try to be upbeat and funny. Everybody in Tracy's stories gets naked or dead."[5] Letts' plays have been about people struggling with moral and spiritual questions. He says he was inspired by the plays of Tennessee Williams and the novels of William Faulkner and Jim Thompson. Letts considers sound to be a very strong storytelling tool for theater.[6]

Letts married actress Carrie Coon, a co-star in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, in September 2013.

Awards, accolades and nominations

In 2008, Letts won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for August: Osage County. It had premiered in Chicago in 2007, before moving to New York. It opened on Broadway in 2007 and ran into 2009.

In 2004, Letts was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play, Man from Nebraska.

For his screenplay of Killer Joe, Letts was nominated for a Saturn Award for "Best Writing."

In 2012–2013, Letts appeared in the 50th Anniversary Broadway revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, as originally presented by the Steppenwolf Theater Company. On June 9, 2013, he received the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his performance as George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.

In 2013, Letts was nominated, along with the rest of the cast of Showtime's Homeland, for an "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" Screen Actors Guild Award.


Letts has written the screenplays for the feature films Bug (directed by William Friedkin and based on the play of the same name he wrote), Killer Joe (also directed by Friedkin based on a play of the same name that he wrote), and August: Osage County (directed by John Wells and based on the Pulitzer-Prize and Tony Award winning play of the same name that he wrote).

For Killer Joe, Letts was nominated for a Saturn Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, for "Best Writing." In 2007, Letts also wrote, executive produced and starred in a short film entitled Cop Show, directed by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick and also starring Danny Pudi. The film is about two oddly erudite Chicago cops (one of them named "Michael Cooke", played by Letts) who try their best to not do too much at their jobs.


Letts played US Senator Andrew Lockhart on Season 3 of Showtime's Homeland. He was nominated, with the rest of the cast, for an "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" award from the Screen Actors Guild (the Screen Actors Guild Awards) in 2013. He reprised the role in Season 4, with Lockhart as CIA Director.

Letts has also appeared on episodes of TV shows such as Prison Break (as Peter Tucci), The District (as Brad Gilroy), Strong Medicine (as Ken), Profiler (as Mr. Adams), Judging Amy (as Mr. Kleinman), The Drew Carey Show (as Lomax), Seinfeld (as counter man), Early Edition (as Jonathan/Marksman), Home Improvement (as Henry), and others.

In feature films, Letts has appeared in Audrey Wells' Guinevere (as Zack), Stuart Baird's U.S. Marshals (as Sheriff Poe), Chicago Cab (as the sports fan), Straight Talk (as Sean), Paramedics (as the van owner), and The Big Short (as Lawrence Fields). Letts co-starred as Dean Caudwell in Indignation (2016), an adaptation of Philip Roth's 2008 novel of the same name.


As playwright

As actor



Year Title Role Notes
1988 Paramedics Van owner
1992 Straight Talk Sean
1998 Chicago Cab Sports fan
1998 U.S. Marshals Sheriff Poe
1999 Guinevere Zack
2006 Bug Writer
2007 Cop Show Michael Cooke Short film; also writer
2012 Killer Joe Writer
2013 August: Osage County Writer
2015 The Big Short Lawrence Fields
2016 Wiener-Dog Danny
2016 Christine Michael
2016 Indignation Hawes D. Caudwell
2016 Elvis & Nixon John Finlator
2016 Imperium Dallas Wolf
2017 The Lovers Post-production
2017 Lady Bird Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1995 Home Improvement Henry Episode: "Jill's Surprise Party"
1996–1997 Early Edition Jonathan / Marksman 2 episodes
1997 Seinfeld Counterguy Episode: "The Strike"
1998 The Drew Carey Show Lomax Episode: "Drew and the Conspiracy"
1999 Judging Amy Mr. Kleinman Episode: "Pilot"
2000 Profiler Mr. Adams Episode: "Train Man"
2001 Strong Medicine Ken Episode: "Wednesday Night Fever"
2001 The District Brad Gilroy Episode: "Melt Down"
2006 Prison Break Peter Tucci 2 episodes
2013–2014 Homeland Senator/Director Andrew Lockhart 24 episodes
2016–present Divorce Nick 10 episodes

Awards and nominations



  1. "The 2008 Pulitzer Prize Winners – Drama".
  2. "Interview with Billie Letts".
  3. Associated Press (2008-02-25). "Dennis Letts, 73, a Professor Who Became Broadway Actor, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
  4. "Tracy Letts's Productions at Steppenwolf". Steppenwolf Theatre Company. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
  5. 1 2 Carlton Stowers (27 November 2003). "Sweet Revenge". The Dallas Observer. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
  6. Aifen Wang (2008). "In-your-face Theatre with In Your Face Sound Design". Stage Research. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
  7. "Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Tracy Letts". Artists Repertory Theatre. Retrieved October 26, 2009. This adaptation of the Russian masterpiece was commissioned by Artists Rep as part three of its four-part Chekhov project. Letts offers a fresh, new look at the decay of the privileged class and the search for meaning in the modern world, through the eyes of three dissatisfied sisters who desperately long for their treasured past.
  8. ""TEN" earns its rating at The Gift Theatre - Chicago Sun-Times".
  9. "Carrie Coon Among Cast Of 19 For Steppenwolf's World Premiere Of Tracy Letts Play". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 7, 2015.

External links

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