C. Thomas Howell

Christopher Thomas Howell (born December 7, 1966)[1] is an American actor and director. He has starred in the films Soul Man, The Hitcher, Grandview U.S.A., Red Dawn, Secret Admirer and The Outsiders. He has also appeared in Gettysburg as Thomas Chamberlain, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Amazing Spider-Man, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox and Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay.

C. Thomas Howell
Howell at the 2013 Peabody Awards
Christopher Thomas Howell

(1966-12-07) December 7, 1966
Other namesTommy Howell
Tom Howell
OccupationActor, film director
Years active1977–present
Spouse(s)Rae Dawn Chong (1989–1990)
Sylvie Anderson (1992–2015)

Early life

Howell was born in Van Nuys, Los Angeles to Christopher N. and Candice Howell. He has two sisters, Stacy and Candy, and a brother, John.[2]

His father worked as a stunt coordinator and rodeo performer. As a young boy, Howell wanted to be a stuntman and was a child stunt performer. He began acting at the age of four, when he was cast in the Brian Keith Show episode, "The Little People".

When Howell was young, his parents divorced.[3][4] Howell graduated from Saugus High School in 1984.


Howell's showbiz debut was acting in The Brian Keith Show episode "The Little People" as a little boy whose ears are being checked out by a doctor. When he got older, he tried stunt acting like his father and worked on commercials for a while.[5]

He tried rodeo riding for a few years. In 1982, he made his film debut as Tyler in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Afterward, he was cast as the lead role Ponyboy Curtis in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders, which earned him a Young Artist Award.[2]


In 1984 he and Outsiders co-star, Patrick Swayze, reunited for Grandview, U.S.A., also with Jamie Lee Curtis, and Red Dawn, with Charlie Sheen and Lea Thompson. Howell also had a pivotal role in Tank, with James Garner and Jenilee Harrison. In 1985 he again starred in the lead role in Secret Admirer, opposite Lori Loughlin and Kelly Preston.

Howell was one of two final actors in the running to play Marty McFly in Back to the Future the other being Eric Stoltz, who was eventually selected. Michael J. Fox would later go on to replace Stoltz after filming had begun.

In 1986, he played a hitchhiker's target in the film The Hitcher. The sequel, in which he also starred, was released in 2003. He starred as a white student who pretends to be black to receive a scholarship in the poorly received Soul Man, which currently holds an aggregated score of 14% at Rotten Tomatoes.[6]

Howell has since stated that he does not regret playing the main character in blackface and that Soul Man was "an important part of [Howell's] life" and "an important film" for racial relations in the United States.[7]

In 1988, Howell played the young Arturo Toscanini in the story of the world-renowned conductors debut in Franco Zeffirelli's Giovane Toscanini with Irma Capece Minutolo and Elizabeth Taylor. The film was never released domestically.


At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, Howell appeared in The Return of the Musketeers and Side Out. In 1993, he starred with Linda Fiorentino and Nancy Allen in the campy thriller Acting on Impulse.

After several straight-to-video features and a starring role in That Night, he achieved success again in the film Gettysburg, which was popular with history buffs and history classrooms. He starred as Mike, a motorcycle courier in Mad Dogs and Englishmen (U.S. title: Shameless) with Elizabeth Hurley.

His made-for-television film credits include Suspect Device, Sealed with a Kiss and Dead Fire. He starred in Dads, an unsold pilot. He also appeared in the short-lived TV series Kindred: The Embraced.

He started an interest in crime-thrillers after starring in Payback and playing gangster Baby Face Nelson in a film of the same name. He went on to direct and star in the 1996 direct-to-video release, Pure Danger, featuring alongside Teri Ann Linn and prop comic, Carrot Top.


Howell returned to acting in the 2000s in films such as Asylum Days, the Gods and Generals prequel to Gettysburg, and The Hillside Strangler, in which he played serial killer Kenneth Bianchi.

In 2006, Howell starred in Hoboken Hollow. He also became a supporter of the production company The Asylum, which produced his straight-to-DVD films.

In 2005, he starred in H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, one of three 2005 adaptations of the novel The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Howell directed and starred in a straight-to-DVD sequel War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave in 2008.

In 2005, he reunited with his Secret Admirer co-star Lori Loughlin, when he had a recurring role on her television show Summerland as Zac Efron's father. After War of the Worlds, he spent time directing straight to-DVD films.

Also in 2008, he directed and starred in The Day the Earth Stopped, a mockbuster intended to capitalize on The Day the Earth Stood Still.

He appeared as a doctor in The Poseidon Adventure, an adaptation of the 1972 film of the same name. His father's first stunt co-ordination was for the original film,[8] albeit uncredited. He briefly hosted a show on KLSX later that year.


Howell appeared in the 2012 film The Amazing Spider-Man.[9]

Television work

After filming The Outsiders, Howell co-starred in his own television series, Two Marriages, which ended after four episodes, but letters of support got it back on air. He later expressed disappointment in the series,[10] but eventually found it more satisfying.

After Two Marriages, Howell made guest appearances in shows like Moonlighting and The Hitchhiker. In 2000, Howell played a doctor stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash in Amazon.

He initially turned down a guest role in ER after missing out on a role he wanted, but his wife signed him up after yet another offer. Following ER, he guest appeared in 24. He guest starred in five episodes of Criminal Minds on CBS as serial killer George Foyet (The Boston Reaper), a recurring villain based on the Zodiac Killer.

Howell has played the role of Officer Bill 'Dewey' Dudek, a police officer recovering from alcoholism, in the L.A. police drama Southland since 2009. He appeared in Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4 and was promoted to a series regular for Season 5, which began in February 2013. The series was cancelled on May 10, 2013.

In 2011, he guest starred on The Glades and in Torchwood: Miracle Day.[11]

Starting in 2015, Howell has had a recurring role as Dr. Daniel Stinger in the Freeform show Stitchers. In 2017, he had a recurring role as Ash Spenser, a retired Navy SEAL, in the CBS show SEAL Team.


Howell has worked with Francis Ford Coppola many times and in other areas of making motion pictures including writing, producing, and directing. In 1995, he wrote and directed Hourglass, in which he starred with Sofia Shinas. The following year, he helped produce The Big Fall and Pure Danger.

Howell did not write or direct another film until 2004. He and his father co-wrote the made-for-television film Hope Ranch, which Howell produced. Howell went on to write and produce Blind Injustice the next year. Two years later he produced The Stolen Moments of September.



Year Title Role Notes
1982E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialTylerCredited as Tom Howell
1983The OutsidersPonyboy Curtis
1984Grandview, U.S.A.Tim Pearson
1984Red DawnRobert Morris
1985Secret AdmirerMichael Ryan
1986The HitcherJim Halsey
1986Soul ManMark Watson
1987A Tiger's TaleBubber Drums
1988Young ToscaniniArturo Toscanini
1989The Return of the MusketeersRaoul
1990Far Out ManHimself
1990Side OutMonoroe Clark
1992Nickel & DimeJack Stone
1992Breaking the RulesGene Michaels
1992That NightRick
1992To Protect and ServeEgan
1993JailbaitSergeant Lee TefflerDirect-to-video
1993GettysburgThomas Chamberlain
1993TreacherousMicky Stewart
1994Teresa's TattooCarl
1995PaybackOscar Bonsetter
1995I am the king of PooftersEgan
1995Dangerous IndiscretionJim
1995Mad Dogs and EnglishmenMike
1995HourglassMichael JardineDirect-to-video
1996The SweeperMark GoddardDirect-to-video
1996Baby Face NelsonBaby Face Nelson
1996Pure DangerJohnie DeanDirect-to-video
1997The Big FallBlaise RybeckDirect-to-video
1997Laws of DeceptionEvan Marino
1997Last LivesAaron
1997Sleeping DogsSanchez Boon
1997DilemmaThomas "Quin" Quinlan
1997Matter of TrustMichael D'AngeloAlso known as The Surgeon
1998ShepherdBoris Dakota
1998CharadesEvanAlso known as Felons
1998Fatal AffairMalcolm "Mack" Maddox
1999The Glass JarLanois
1999Hitman's RunTom Holly
1999The Prince and the SurferDeanDirect-to-video
1999Enemy ActionJohn Reed
2000The Million Dollar KidValentino
2000Hot BoyzOfficer RobertsDirect-to-video
2000The Crimson CodeJ.B. GainesAlso known as Red Team
2001WillFullNat Wolff
2001XCU: Extreme Close UpGeoffrey Liddy
2001Separate WaysTom Milton
2001Asylum DaysNathan Devine
2001AskariJoss McKinley
2003Net GamesAdam Vance
2003Gods and GeneralsThomas Chamberlain
2003The Hitcher II: I've Been WaitingJim HalseyDirect-to-video
2004HidalgoPreston Webb
2004The Hillside Strangler Kenneth Bianchi
2004A Killer WithinAddison Terrill
2005The Lost AngelKuratha
2005Glass TrapCurtisDirect-to-video
2005The Keeper: The Legend of Omar KhayyamCoach Fielding
2005H. G. Wells' War of the WorldsGeorge HerbertDirect-to-video
2006Hoboken HollowClayton Connelly
2006The Da Vinci TreasureMichael ArcherDirect-to-video
2006The Far Side of JerichoLittle Jimmy Thorton
2007The Haunting of Marsten ManorCaptain Williams
2007Fighting WordsDavid Settles
2007The Stolen Moments of SeptemberSisner
2007Dead LettersKCAlso known as Cold Ones
2008House of FallenThomas
2008Big GameCody "Sully" Sullivan
2008War of the Worlds 2: The Next WaveGeorge HerbertAlso director
2008The Thirst: Blood WarJed
2008The Day the Earth StoppedJosh MyronAlso director
2008Mutant Vampire Zombies from the Hood!David
2008The GrindLuke
2009The JailhouseSeth Delray
2009The Land That Time ForgotFrost MichaelsAlso director
2009American Pie Presents: The Book of LoveAlumnus Guy #2Direct-to-video
2009Secret at Arrow LakeDaniel
2010Street PoetDavid
2010The Terror ExperimentChief Grasso
2010Cupid's ArrowProfessor Grimes
2011RestitutionJohn Youngstown
2012Wedding DayRuss
2012Commander and ChiefShrub
2012The Amazing Spider-ManTroy
2012Chilly ChristmasPatrick ColeDirect-to-video
2012EscapePaul Jordan
2013Don't Pass Me ByJack
2013The Devil's DozenTom
2013Lost on PurposeDelbert Fergeson
2013Justice League: The Flashpoint ParadoxEobard Thawne / Professor Zoom (voice)Direct-to-video
2013Storm RiderMitch
2014Confessions of a WomanizerTony
2014Bigfoot WarsZeke
2014A Magic ChristmasJack Carter
2014Borrowed MomentsJack
2015Spirit RidersKeith
2015Rivers 9Sheriff Quentin
2015Justice League: Gods and MonstersDr. Will Magnus (voice)Direct-to-video
2015WoodlawnCoach George "Shorty" White
2015A Christmas Eve MiracleJack Carter
2015Magic HourTom Worthy
2015Lazarus RisingSilent Cal
2016Blood LustRyan
2016Attack of the Killer DonutsOfficer Roberts
2016LBJWalter Jenkins
2016Sick PeopleDr. Sam Zimmerman
2017The Shadow PeopleKaine
2017DisconnectedRobert Crawford
2017A Question of FaithJohn Danielson
2018Suicide Squad: Hell to PayEobard Thawne / Professor Zoom (voice)Direct-to-video
2018Dirty Dealing 3DCarter
2018The Rack PackTed
2018Beast ModeBreen Nash
2018My B.F.F.Ben Wilkens
2019Rich Boy, Rich GirlBlakeCompleted


Year Title Role Notes
1983Two MarriagesScott MorganEpisode: "Relativity"
1985/1986MoonlightingWaiter, Postal WorkerEpisodes: "Lady in the Iron Mask" and "Yours, Very Deadly"
1989Nightmare ClassicsJenner BradingEpisode: "The Eyes of the Panther"
1990Curiosity KillsCat ThomasTelevision film
1992Tattle TaleBernard SpratTelevision film
1993Acting on ImpulsePaul StevensTelevision film
1994Natural SelectionBen Braden / Alex ConnellyTelevision film
1995Suspect DeviceDan JericoTelevision film
1996Kindred: The EmbracedFrank Kohanek8 episodes
1997Dead FireTuckerTelevision film
1998Sealed with a KissDetective Mick CullenTelevision film
1998The Outer LimitsCaptain Miles DavidlowEpisode: "The Joining"
1998V.I.PPhil ShermanEpisode: "Val Got Game"
1998The Love Boat: The Next WaveJohnEpisode: "Affairs to Remember"
1999Dead Man's GunHenry HubbleEpisode: "The Phrenologist"
1999–2000AmazonDr. Alex Kennedy22 episodes
2000Twice in a LifetimeTonyEpisode: "The Escaped Artist"
2000Lawless: Dead EvidenceDean RileyTelevision film
2002Son of the BeachJason DudikoffEpisode: "In the Line of Booty"
2002Night of the WolfSheriff Wade MesserTelevision film
2002Killer Bees!Sheriff Lyndon HarrisTelevision film
2004The DistrictChris GunnerEpisode: "On Guard"
2004ZolarHedionTelevision film
2004–2005SummerlandKyle Bale2 episodes
2005Crimson ForceCaptain BaskinTelevision film
2005Ordinary MiraclesJim PowellTelevision film
2005The Poseidon AdventureDoctor Matthew BallardTelevision film
2005ERVincent JanesonEpisode: "The Human Shield"
200624Barry Landes2 episodes
2008XenophobiaStoneTelevision film
2008A Gunfighter's PledgeHornTelevision film
2009–2013Criminal MindsGeorge Foyet / The Boston Reaper5 episodes
2009–2013SouthlandBill "Dewey" Dudek27 episodes
2010PsychAgent Camden DriggsEpisode: "One, Maybe Two, Ways Out"
2011The GladesPeyton RobinsonEpisode: "Second Skin"
2011Torchwood: Miracle DayThe GentlemanEpisode: "Escape to L.A."
2011CHAOSCarson SimmsEpisode: "Proof of Life"
2011Camel SpidersSheriff BeaumontTelevision film
2012AlphasEli AquinoEpisode: "The Quick and the Dead"
2012RevolutionBounty HunterEpisode: "Chained Heat"
2012CastleJohn CampbellEpisode: "Swan Song"
2012LongmireRay StewartEpisode: "A Damn Shame"
2012Hawaii Five-0Martin CordovaEpisode: "Death Wish"
2012Home InvasionRayTelevision film
2013Horror HaikuJohn AsherEpisode: "I Know What You Know"
2013Sons of AnarchyAgent Frank EaganEpisode: "One One Six"
2013Blue BloodsAlex PolanskiEpisode: "Justice Served"
2013An Amish MurderNathan DetrickTelevision film
2013Christmas BelleRex EverhartTelevision film
2014GrimmAgent Weston Steward5 episodes
2014Category 5Charlie DuPuisTelevision film
2014–2015Girlfriends' Guide to DivorceNate4 episodes
2015–2017StitchersDaniel Stinger7 episodes
2015MotiveJoe HillisEpisode: "Reversal of Fortune"
2015StitchersDaniel Stinger3 episodes
2015Ties That BindMr. WitherspoonEpisode: "Controlled Substance"
2015Sleepy HollowAgent Mick GrangerEpisode: "I, Witness"
2016, 2018Animal KingdomPaul Belmont9 episodes
2016Advance & RetreatNathan ShapiroTelevision film
2017Ray DonovanDr. Brogan4 episodes
2017OutcastSimon Barnes3 episodes
2017, 2019SEAL TeamAsh Spenser3 episodes
2017The PunisherCarson Wolf3 episodes
2018The BlacklistEarl Fagen2 episodes
2018MacGyverVasilEpisode: "Guts + Fuel + Hope"
2018DynastyMax Van Kirk2 episodes
2018The Good CopChuck EverettEpisode: "Why Kill A Busboy?"
2018The Walking DeadHilltop MessengerEpisode: "Stradivarius"
2019BoschLouis Degner2 episodes
2019The TerrorMajor Bowen(Season 2) 4 episodes

Video games

Year Title Role
2017Injustice 2Leonard Snart / Captain Cold
2018Lego DC Super-VillainsEobard Thawne / Reverse-Flash


  1. "C. Thomas Howell". AllMovie. Retrieved June 17, 2018.
  2. aboutct Archived 2008-07-24 at the Wayback Machine. Cthomashowell.net; retrieved 2011-12-03.
  3. Tommy Howell: I'm Just a Normal Kid! Archived 2012-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. Cthowell.net. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
  4. Marriage Archived 2012-07-22 at the Wayback Machine. Cthowell.net. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
  5. Cooking. Cthowell.net. Retrieved on 2011-12-03.
  6. "Rotten Tomatoes: Soul Man (1986)".
  7. Harris, Will. "C. Thomas Howell on The Outsiders, blackface, and how Marlboros got him cast in E.T." The Onion AV Club. The Onion AV Club. Retrieved January 11, 2014.
  8. Interview for the Poseidon Adventure Remake, Cthomashowell.net; retrieved 2011-12-03.
  9. Franich, Darren (January 10, 2011). "'Spider-Man': C. Thomas Howell joins the reboot". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 25, 2019.
  10. Two Marriages. cthowell.net
  11. Torchwood: Miracle Day casting news. Den of Geek; retrieved 2011-12-03.
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