Terry O'Quinn

Active - 1974 - 2016  |   Born - Jul 15, 1952 in Newberry, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Action, Thriller, Science Fiction

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Character actor Terry O'Quinn's film career began (and almost ended!) with a role as Captain Minardi in the notorious Michael Cimino failure Heaven's Gate (1980). O'Quinn rose to prominence in Joseph Ruben's 1987 sleeper The Stepfather, as the ostensibly mild-mannered title character (of multiple names), who has this irksome habit of going psychopathic and slaying families who don't meet his exacting standards. Though O'Quinn went on to play leads in other films, he quickly became a television circuit staple (and an instantly recognizable face), in regular series and made-for-TV movies. His weight was more effectively felt in showy supporting roles like Howard Hughes in Disney's The Rocketeer (1991). On TV, O'Quinn became a regular on the daytimer The Doctors and the prime-timer Jag (1995). O'Quinn struck gold in 2004 as a member of the ensemble cast in the hit prime-time adventure drama Lost, on ABC. As Locke, an enigmatic character with a hidden personal attachment to the Pacific Island on which his plane crashes, O'Quinn managed to convey an ambiguous and understated sense of menace. The actor would go on to appear on the remake of Hawaii Five-0.

Movie Highlights

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  • Decided he wanted to be an actor at age 15 after seeing Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet.
  • Has been bald since his early 20s.
  • Real name is Terrence Quinn; added the "O'" to distinguish himself from another actor named Terry Quinn.
  • His future wife taught him how to ride a horse for his film debut in Heaven's Gate.
  • Played Howard Hughes in the 1991 theatrical film The Rocketeer.
  • In addition to his many TV guest spots prior to Lost, he had prominent recurring roles on Alias, The West Wing and JAG.