Tracy Letts
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Tracy Letts
Tracy Letts
Tracy Letts at BookExpo (04815) (cropped).jpg
Letts at BookExpo in 2019
Born (1965-07-04) July 4, 1965 (age 54)
OccupationPlaywright, screenwriter, actor
Years active1988-present
Carrie Coon (m. 2013)
Parent(s)Billie Letts
Dennis Letts
AwardsPulitzer Prize for Drama
Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play

Tracy S. Letts (born July 4, 1965) is an American actor, playwright, and screenwriter. He received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play August: Osage County and a Tony Award for his portrayal of George in the revival of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2013).[1]

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. He portrayed the pyramid-scheme con-artist Nick on the HBO comedy Divorce. In 2017, Letts starred in three critically acclaimed films: The Lovers, Lady Bird, and The Post. The latter two films were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture; Lady Bird garnered Letts a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture nomination. In 2019 he had a prominent role as Henry Ford II in James Mangold's Ford v Ferrari.

Letts 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. His 2009 play Superior Donuts was adapted into a television series of the same name. His first screenplay not to be adapted from his own work, The Woman in the Window, based on the eponymous novel by A. J. Finn, is scheduled to be released in 2020.

Early life

Letts was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to author Billie Letts (née Gipson) and college professor and actor Dennis Letts.[2][3] He has two brothers, Shawn, a musician, 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 out as an actor. He appeared 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 Evanston, Illinois, 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 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]



During the late 1980s through the late 2000s Letts acted in many of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's plays. In particular he starred in Steve Martin's Picasso at the Lapin Agile (1994).

Letts is a playwright, having written over ten plays. His most famous, August: Osage County, premiered at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago on June 28, 2007, and closed on August 26, 2007. It had its Broadway debut at the Imperial Theatre on December 4, 2007, and the production transferred to the Music Box Theatre on April 29, 2008. The Broadway show closed on June 28, 2009, after 648 performances and 18 previews. Letts won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the play in 2008. The show also went on to receive seven Tony Award nominations, winning six including Best Play.[7] Letts has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his plays Man from Nebraska and The Minutes, the Pulitzer committee describing the latter as a "shocking drama set in a seemingly mundane city council meeting that acidly articulates a uniquely American toxicity that feels both historic and contemporary."[8][9]

In 2012, Letts gained attention for his performance in his Broadway debut in the revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the Booth Theatre.[10] He won rave reviews and won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play.[11]

In 2019, Letts appeared in the Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's All My Sons with Annette Bening at Roundabout Theatre Company's American Airlines Theatre. The show officially opened on April 22, 2019 and closed on June 23, 2019.[12]


Early in his acting career, in the 1990s through the mid 2000s, Letts appeared in a variety of TV shows including Prison Break, The District, Strong Medicine, Profiler, Judging Amy, The Drew Carey Show, Seinfeld, Early Edition, and Home Improvement.

In 2013-14 Letts joined Showtime's Emmy Award-winning Homeland as US Senator Andrew Lockhart in seasons 3 and 4. He was nominated with the rest of the cast for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble.

In 2016, Letts joined HBO's marital comedy-drama Divorce starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church. On November 2, 2018, HBO renewed the show for a third season.[13]

In 2018, Letts was cast in the second season of USA Network's anthology crime drama series The Sinner opposite Bill Pullman and Carrie Coon.[14]


Letts has written the screenplays for three feature films based on plays of the same names written by Letts: Bug (directed by William Friedkin), Killer Joe (also directed by Friedkin); and August: Osage County (directed by John Wells).

In 2015, Letts starred in Adam McKay's flashy ensemble The Big Short with Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, and Brad Pitt. The film gained positive reception and went onto receive five Academy Award nominations[15] including a win for Adapted Screenplay.[16]

In 2016, Letts starred in several independent films including Todd Solondz's dark comedy Wiener-Dog alongside Greta Gerwig and Danny DeVito, Antonio Campos' Christine with Rebecca Hall, and Liza Johnson's Elvis & Nixon with Kevin Spacey and Michael Shannon.

He starred in James Schamus' film adaptation of the Philip Roth novel, Indignation (2016) with Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, and Danny Burstein.[17] The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews. The film is Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 82% and the consensus reading, "Indignation proves it's possible to put together an engaging Philip Roth adaptation -- and offers a compelling calling card for debuting writer-director James Schamus."[18]

He also starred in the critically acclaimed true story Imperium (2016) alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Toni Colette. The film focuses on a young FBI agent, Nate Foster (Radcliffe), based on real life agent Michael German, who went undercover as a white supremacist. Letts plays a Rush Limbaugh-type character who placates the local white supremacists. The film is also Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes at 84% with the consensus reading, "The unsettling Imperium boasts troublingly timely themes and a talented cast led by Daniel Radcliffe as an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a ring of white supremacists."[19]

Letts' next acting roles would include the 2017 film The Lovers and Steven Spielberg's historical political thriller film The Post (2017), based upon the story about Katharine Graham and The Pentagon Papers. The starry ensemble includes Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Sarah Paulson, and Bradley Whitford. Letts played Frederick "Fritz" Beebe, who was the chairman of the board of The Washington Post. Graham believed that Beebe brought a "breadth of vision that included editorial as well as business judgment" to the company.[20] The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

In the same year of 2017, Letts starred in Greta Gerwig's coming of age film Lady Bird with Saoirse Ronan. Letts plays the sympathetic and empathetic father and husband Larry, a gentle soul who tries to avoid confrontation at all costs. His wife is played by Laurie Metcalf. The film became a standout for 2017 becoming one of the year's highest rated films on Rotten Tomatoes, a 99% with the consensus stating, "Lady Bird delivers fresh insights about the turmoil of adolescence -- and reveals writer-director Greta Gerwig as a fully formed filmmaking talent."[21] The film was nominated for 5 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Letts along with the rest of the cast was nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Cast in a Motion Picture.[22]

In 2019, Letts starred in a prominent role of Henry Ford II in James Mangold's sports drama film Ford v Ferrari, co-starring with Christian Bale and Matt Damon, and will next appear in a supporting role in the film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's novel of Little Women, directed by Greta Gerwig (which marked the second collaboration with Gerwig, Letts, Ronan and Chalamet after Lady Bird) and featuring an ensemble cast that includes Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep.

Personal life

Letts was once engaged to actress Sarah Paulson. He married actress Carrie Coon in September 2013.[23] Together they have a son, born in 2018.[24] He has been sober since 1993.[25]

Work as an author


Year Title Notes
1993 Killer Joe
1996 Bug
2003 Man from Nebraska
2007 August: Osage County
2008 Superior Donuts
2009 Three Sisters (adaptation of the Chekov play)[26]
2015 The Stretch[27]
2016 Mary Page Marlowe[28]
2017 Linda Vista[29]
2017 The Minutes[30]


Year Title Notes
2006 Bug Adaptation of his play
2011 Killer Joe Adaptation of his play
2013 August: Osage County Adaptation of his play
2020 The Woman in the Window Post-production

Work as an actor


Year Title Role Theatre
1988 The Glass Menagerie Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
1991-1995 Bang Bang Spontaneous Theatre Various characters Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
1994 Picasso At The Lapin Agile Freddy Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
1999 Three Days of Rain Walker Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2001 Glengarry Glen Ross John Williamson Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2002 The Dazzle Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2002 Miracle on 34th Street Lawyer Chicago Center for Performing Arts
2003 Homebody/Kabul Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2004 The Dresser Norman Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2005 Last of the Boys Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2005 Orson's Shadow Kenneth Tynan Off-Broadway, Barrow Street Theatre
2005 The Pain and the Itch Cash Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2006 The Pillowman Tupolski Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2006 The Well-Appointed Room Stewart Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2007 Betrayal Robert Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2009 American Buffalo Walter "Teach" Cole Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2010 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre
2012 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? George Broadway, Booth Theatre
2014 The Realistic Joneses Bob Jones Broadway, Lyceum Theatre
2019 All My Sons Joe Keller Broadway, American Airlines Theatre


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Paramedics Van Owner
1992 Straight Talk Sean
1998 Chicago Cab Sports Fan
U.S. Marshals Sheriff Poe
1999 Guinevere Zack
2007 Cop Show Michael Cooke Short film; also writer
2015 The Big Short Lawrence Fields
2016 Wiener-Dog Danny
Christine Michael Nelson
Elvis & Nixon John Finlator
Indignation Hawes D. Caudwell
Imperium Dallas Wolf
2017 The Lovers Michael
Lady Bird Larry McPherson
The Post Fritz Beebe
2019 Ford v. Ferrari Henry Ford II
Little Women Mr. Dashwood
2020 Deep Water Filming
TBA French Exit Small Frank (voice) 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 17 episodes
2016-2019 Divorce Nick 17 episodes
2017 Comrade Detective Vasile (voice) Episode: "No Exit"
2018 The Sinner Jack Novack Recurring role; 7 episodes

Awards and nominations

Tony Awards

Pulitzer Prize

Year Nominated Work Award Result
2004 Man from Nebraska Pulitzer Prize for Drama Nominated
2008 August: Osage County Pulitzer Prize for Drama Won
2018 The Minutes Pulitzer Prize for Drama Nominated

Drama Desk Award

Year Nominated Work Award Result
2008 August: Osage County Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play Won

Screen Actors Guild Award

Year Nominated Work Award Result
2013 Homeland Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2014 Homeland Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2018 Lady Bird Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated

Writers Guild Award

Year Nominated Work Award Result
2014 August: Osage County Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated

Broadcast Film Critics Association Award

Year Nominated Work Award Result
2014 August: Osage County Best Adapted Screenplay Nominated


  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 .
  4. ^ "Tracy Letts's Productions at Steppenwolf". Steppenwolf Theatre Company. 2008. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b Carlton Stowers (27 November 2003). "Sweet Revenge". The Dallas Observer. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Aifen Wang (2008). "In-your-face Theatre with In Your Face Sound Design". Stage Research. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Tony Winners: 'In the Heights,' 'August: Osage County'". Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Finalists Tracy Letts", retrieved April 16, 2018
  9. ^ "2018 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Full List". Retrieved .
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew (May 17, 2012). "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton, Will Arrive On Broadway in September". Playbill. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Schuessler, Jennifer (2013-06-06). "'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' at the Tonys". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved .
  12. ^ "All My Sons". Retrieved .
  13. ^ Otterson, Joe (2018-11-02). "'Divorce' Renewed for Season 3 at HBO With New Showrunner, Smaller Episode Count". Variety. Retrieved .
  14. ^ Nguyen, Hanh (2018-05-18). "'The Sinner' Season 2 Reveals First-Look Photos and Who's Joining Carrie Coon in the Mystery Crime Series". IndieWire. Retrieved .
  16. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (2016-02-29). "'The Big Short' Wins Oscar For Best Adapted Screenplay". Deadline. Retrieved .
  17. ^ Debruge, Peter (2016-01-25). "Sundance Film Review: 'Indignation'". Variety. Retrieved .
  18. ^ "Indignation (2016)", Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved
  19. ^ "Imperium (2016)", Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved
  20. ^ "Fritz Beebe, portrayed by Tracy Letts - 'The Post': 16 of the Film's Stars and Their Real-Life Inspirations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved .
  21. ^ "Lady Bird (2017)", Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved
  22. ^ Surrey, Miles (2017-12-13). "SAG Awards Nominations: 'Lady Bird' Cleans Up, 'Phantom Thread' Flops". The Ringer. Retrieved .
  23. ^ "Carrie Coon and Husband Tracy Letts Expecting Their First Child". Retrieved .
  24. ^ Juneau, Jen (July 2, 2018). "Carrie Coon and Tracy Letts Welcome Son Haskell". People.
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov, adapted by Tracy Letts". Artists Repertory Theatre. Retrieved 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.
  27. ^ ""TEN" earns its rating at The Gift Theatre - Chicago Sun-Times".
  28. ^ "Carrie Coon Among Cast Of 19 For Steppenwolf's World Premiere Of Tracy Letts Play". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2015.
  29. ^ "Linda Vista | Steppenwolf Theatre". Retrieved .
  30. ^ "The Minutes | Steppenwolf Theatre". Retrieved .

External links

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