Chris Noth biography
SynopsisChris Noth was born November 13, 1954, in Madison, WI. He made his feature film debut in Smithereens in 1982. In the late 1980s, Noth moved increasingly from theater toward roles in film and television. In 1990, he landed the role of Detective Mike Logan on the critically acclaimed drama series, Law & Order. In 1998, he took the role of Big on the HBO series Sex and the City.
Actor. Born November 13, 1954, in Madison, Wisconsin, Noth grew up in Connecticut, England, Yugoslavia, and Spain. His father, an insurance salesman, died when he was eight years old, and his mother, Jeanne Parr, worked as a television news reporter for CBS, pioneering the field for women.
Noth claims to have been a screw-up in grade school, but his time at the alternative Marlboro College in Vermont, where he began acting, served as an artistic inspiration.
Following his college graduation in 1978, Noth studied acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, and after appearing in several stage productions, he made his feature film debut in Smithereens (1982), playing a transvestite prostitute.
Upon graduating from the Yale School of Drama, where he acted in over 25 productions, Noth made a crowning performance as the title role in Hamlet, directed by Zoe Caldwell, at the American Shakespeare Festival in 1985.
In the late 1980s, Noth moved increasingly toward roles in film and television. He appeared in the feature Off Beat in 1986 and made his television acting debut in an episode of Hill Street Blues, playing a police officer who bungles his attempt to prevent a suicide.
Noth's other credits of this period include supporting roles in the ABC TV movie Killer in the Mirror and HBO’s Apology. He also scored a small part as a vacationing yuppie in 1987’s Baby Boom. A major lifestyle change greeted Noth in 1988, when he relocated to Indonesia to star in the first English-language film to be shot with a native crew. After making Jakarta, Noth remained in Indonesia, which he now calls his “spiritual home,” for a blissful year of traveling.
Law & Order
While playing Sergius in George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man back in New York in 1990, Noth was asked to appear in a pilot for a new television series produced by Dick Wolf. He jumped at the opportunity and landed the role of Detective Mike Logan on what would become TV’s most critically acclaimed drama series, Law & Order. Noth brought several idiosyncrasies to the role, including giving the world-weary, son of a cop Logan a penchant for wearing plaid ties and a flag pin on his lapel. Noth’s Mike Logan proved notably stalwart, weathering five seasons and several cast changes and always maintaining an exciting chemistry with each transitory co-star.
However, by 1995, producer Dick Wolf felt that Logan had exhausted his possibilities on the show and that his relationship with Jerry Orbach’s character, the similarly jaded Lennie Briscoe, did not provide enough dramatic contrast, commenting, “You very often get the notion that their lines are interchangeable.” Logan was subsequently written off the show.
Although fans expressed outrage and regret, Noth welcomed the chance to take his career in another direction. However, he did convince Wolf to produce a TV movie spin-off entitled Exiled (1998), starring Noth and several other Law & Order cast members, to wrap up the story of Mike Logan, which Noth felt had been prematurely extinguished on the show.
Sex and the City and after
Since Law & Order, Noth has appeared in several independent films, including The Broken Giant (1996), Cold Heart, Texas Funeral, Pigeonholed, and Getting to Know You, which was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at 1999’s Sundance Film Festival. He has also appeared on television, playing an ex-convict in an episode of Touched by an Angel, as well as in the miniseries Rough Riders (1997) and Medusa’s Child (1997).
In 1998, Noth landed a recurring television role in the endearingly quirky series Sex and the City. In the show, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, he plays Mr. Big, the emotionally distant and elusive object of protagonist Carrie Bradshaw’s obsessive attention. The series ended in 2004, but was revised as an original theatrical film in 2008.
In the TNT series, Bad Apple, based on Anthony Bruno's crime novels, Noth heads back to New York as an undercover FBI agent. Currently Noth appears opposite Julianna Margulies, as Peter Florrick, a former Chicago state's attorney, who has been jailed following a very public sex and corruption scandal in the CBS television series The Good Wife, which debuted in September 2009.
The tall, dark, and quietly imposing actor lives with girlfriend Tara Wilson. They have a son, Orion Christopher Noth, born in January 2008.