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John Cameron Mitchell

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Years active  1983–present
Albums  Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Plays  Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Role  Actor
Name  John Mitchell
Siblings  Colin Mitchell
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Born  April 21, 1963 (age 52) (1963-04-21) El Paso, Texas, U.S.
Occupation  Actor, screenwriter, film director
Residence  New York City, New York, United States
Movies  Shortbus, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rabbit Hole, Band of the Hand, Book of Love
Similar People  Stephen Trask, Celina Carvajal, Sook‑Yin Lee, Paul Dawson, Miriam Shor

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John Cameron Mitchell (born April 21, 1963) is an American actor, writer and director, best known for originating the title role in the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and reprising it in the 2001 film adaptation directed by him, as well as for directing the films Shortbus (2006) and Rabbit Hole (2010).


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John cameron mitchell reflects on hedwig and the angry inch

Early years

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Mitchell was born in El Paso, Texas. His father was a U.S. Army Major General, and Mitchell grew up on army bases in the U.S., Germany, and Scotland, attending Catholic schools, including St. Xavier High School (Junction City, Kansas) and St. Pius X High School (Albuquerque, New Mexico), graduating from the latter in 1981. His mother is a native of Glasgow, Scotland, who immigrated to the United States as a young schoolteacher. His brother Colin is also an actor, writer, and filmmaker.

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His first stage role was the Virgin Mary in a Nativity musical staged at a Scottish Benedictine boys boarding school when he was 11 years old. He studied theater at Northwestern University from 1981 to 1985.



Mitchell's first professional stage role was Huckleberry Finn in a 1985 Organic Theater adaptation at Chicago's Goodman Theatre. His first New York acting role was Huck Finn in the Broadway musical Big River (1985). He originated the role of Dickon on Broadway in The Secret Garden, and appeared in the original cast of the Off Broadway musical Hello Again. He received Drama Desk nominations for both roles, and can be heard on the original cast recordings for each.

He appeared in the original cast of John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation (both off-Broadway and on Broadway), and starred in Larry Kramer's Off Broadway sequel to The Normal Heart, The Destiny of Me, for which he received an Obie Award and a Drama Desk nomination.

Mitchell's early television work includes guest-starring roles in Daybreak, MacGyver, Head of the Class, Law & Order, The New Twilight Zone, Freddy's Nightmares, The Equalizer, Our House, The Dreamer of Oz: The L. Frank Baum Story, and The Stepford Children. He was a regular cast member on the 1996 Fox sitcom Party Girl, and was the long-running voice for "Sydney", an animated kangaroo that appeared in commercials for Dunk-a-roos cookies.

Starring and co-starring film roles include a homicidal new waver in Band of the Hand (1986), a Polish immigrant violinist in Misplaced (1990), and a teen Lothario poet in Book of Love (1990). Mitchell had a single line ("Delivery!") in Spike Lee's Girl Six (1996) as a man auditioning for a pornographic film. Mitchell is a founding member of the Drama Department Theater Company, for which he adapted and directed Tennessee Williams' Kingdom of Earth starring Cynthia Nixon and Peter Sarsgaard.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

In 1998, Mitchell wrote (along with composer Stephen Trask) and starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, an Obie Award-winning Off Broadway rock musical about an East German rock musician chasing after an ex-lover who plagiarized her songs.

Three years later, he directed and starred in the feature film version of the play for which he won Best Director at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. His performance was nominated for a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy. Both the play and the film were critical hits and have spawned cult followings around the world.

The 2014 Broadway production of Hedwig starred Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Hall, was directed by Michael Mayer, and won four Tony Awards, including Best Actor in a Musical (Harris), Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Hall), and Best Revival of a Musical. Mitchell reprised his performance in the role of Hedwig on Broadway for a limited run in early 2015, opposite Lena Hall as Yitzhak. He received a 2015 Special Tony Award for his return to the role.


After the success of Hedwig, Mitchell expressed an interest in writing, directing and producing a film that incorporated explicit sex in a naturalistic and thoughtful way, without using "stars". After three years of talent searches, improv workshops and production, Shortbus premiered in May 2006 at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. The film garnered many awards, at venues such as the Athens, Gijón and Zurich International Film Festivals.

Rabbit Hole

He directed the 2010 film Rabbit Hole, starring Nicole Kidman (in an Oscar-nominated performance) and Aaron Eckhart, adapted from David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival.

Other work

Mitchell was the executive producer of the 2004 film Tarnation, a documentary about the life of Jonathan Caouette whom he met when the latter auditioned for Shortbus. Tarnation won 2004 Best Documentary from the National Society of Film Critics, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Gotham Awards.

He directed videos for Bright Eyes' "First Day of My Life" (featuring Secret Garden co-star Alison Fraser) and the Scissor Sisters' "Filthy/Gorgeous"; the latter was banned from MTV Europe for its explicitly sexual content. In 2012, Mitchell wrote and produced a narrative short film for Sigur Ros entitled "Seraph", directed by animator Dash Shaw (link to film:).

Mitchell has appeared as a pundit on Politically Incorrect and various VH1 and Independent Film Channel programs. He introduced films on a show called Escape From Hollywood on IFC for two years. He wrote and directed a number of short films and commercials for Dior including Lady Grey London and L.A.dy Dior both starring Marion Cotillard and Dior Homme Sport starring Jude Law. In 2013, he wrote and directed a fashion video for Agent Provocateur entitled "Insurrection". He appeared as a recurring character, e-book editor David Pressler-Goings, on the 2013 and 2014 seasons of HBO series Girls, and as Andy Warhol in the 2016 season of HBO's Vinyl. Mitchell appeared in the 2016 documentary Danny Says alongside Danny Fields, Alice Cooper & Iggy Pop and is currently directing How to Talk to Girls at Parties, a screen adaptation of Neil Gaiman's punk-era short story of the same title starring Elle Fanning, Alex Sharp and Nicole Kidman.

In 2016 Mitchell appeared on Amanda Palmer and Jherek Bischoff's tribute album to late musician David Bowie, Amanda Palmer and Jherek Bischoff: Strung Out In Heaven (A David Bowie Tribute). He contributed vocals to English and German covers of Bowie's song, Heroes.

Personal life

In 1985, Mitchell came out as gay to his family and friends. He came out publicly in a New York Times profile in 1992. His subsequent writing has often explored sexuality and gender. He is a Radical Faerie, which was influential in Mitchell's making of Shortbus. Along with Shortbus stars PJ DeBoy and Paul Dawson and performance artists Amber Martin and Angela Di Carlo, he is a co-founder and DJ of the long-running New York City monthly party "Mattachine".

Mitchell lives in New York City.


John Cameron Mitchell Wikipedia