Arts First

Arts First

John Lithgow

2.17.2008

John Lithgow

Actor, author and singer John Lithgow has appeared in more than 30 films, been nominated for two Oscars and had roles in numerous television shows. Perhaps his most celebrated work came as the loopy character of the alien High Commander, Dick Solomon, on the hit NBC comedy series "3rd Rock from the Sun." As an author, Lithgow has written seven New York Times best-selling children’s picture books, including "The Remarkable Farkle McBride," "Marsupial Sue," "Micawber," and "I’m a Manatee." A graduate of Harvard University, Lithgow helped to establish “Arts First,” a weeklong festival on campus dedicated to the arts, and the “Arts Medal,” given annually to a Harvard graduate for outstanding achievement in the arts.

Actor, author and singer John Lithgow discusses the importance of art in society and inspires students to achieve their goals in a speech hosted by the Clinton School. A graduate of Harvard University, Lithgow describes his journey creating two recent Harvard traditions, “Arts First,” a weeklong festival on campus dedicated to the arts, and the “Arts Medal,” given annually to a Harvard graduate for outstanding achievement in the arts. Lithgow shares stories and experiences of Arts Medal winners and how they all turned simple ideas into a miraculous public service projects with no limits for success. As a New York Times best-selling author of children’s books, Lithgow says he writes in order to educate children “without them knowing it” and labels himself “the perfect man for the job.” Lithgow calls for successful people who achieve their ambitious goals to ask, “What else can I do here?” and “How can I use my success to make things happen?” This theory should motivate and inspire more people to take their “pet projects” far beyond what they ever envisioned, he says. Lithgow concludes his talk with a reading from his bestselling children’s book “Mahalia Mouse Goes to College.”