Tracy S. Letts (born July 4, 1965) is an American playwright, screenwriter, and actor. 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? 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 currently portrays 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, and Lady Bird garnered Letts a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture nomination.
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 which is currently in its second season on CBS.
Letts was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to author Billie Letts (née Gipson) and college professor and actor Dennis Letts. 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. 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.
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." 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.
In 2008, Letts won a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for August: Osage County. It had premiered in Chicago in 2007, before moving to New York. It opened on Broadway in 2007 and ran into 2009.
For his screenplay of Killer Joe, Letts was nominated for a Saturn Award for "Best Writing."
In 2012–2013, Letts appeared in the 50th Anniversary Broadway revival of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, as originally presented by the Steppenwolf Theater Company. On June 9, 2013, he received the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play for his performance as George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?.
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).
For Killer Joe, Letts was nominated for a Saturn Award from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, for "Best Writing." In 2007, Letts also wrote, executive produced and starred in a short film entitled Cop Show, directed by Leo Benvenuti and Steve Rudnick and also starring Danny Pudi. The film is about two oddly erudite Chicago cops (one of them named "Michael Cooke", played by Letts) who try their best to not do too much at their jobs.
Letts played US Senator Andrew Lockhart on Season 3 of Showtime's Homeland. He was nominated, with the rest of the cast, for an "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" award from the Screen Actors Guild (the Screen Actors Guild Awards) in 2013. He reprised the role in Season 4, with Lockhart as CIA Director.
Letts has also appeared on episodes of TV shows such as Prison Break (as Peter Tucci), The District (as Brad Gilroy), Strong Medicine (as Ken), Profiler (as Mr. Adams), Judging Amy (as Mr. Kleinman), The Drew Carey Show (as Lomax), Seinfeld (as counter man), Early Edition (as Jonathan/Marksman), Home Improvement (as Henry), and others.
In feature films, Letts has appeared in Audrey Wells' Guinevere (as Zack), Stuart Baird's U.S. Marshals (as Sheriff Poe), Chicago Cab (as the sports fan), Straight Talk (as Sean), Paramedics (as the van owner), and The Big Short (as Lawrence Fields). Letts co-starred as Dean Caudwell in Indignation (2016), an adaptation of Philip Roth's 2008 novel of the same name.
|1998||Chicago Cab||Sports Fan|
|1998||U.S. Marshals||Sheriff Poe|
|2007||Cop Show||Michael Cooke||Short film; also writer|
|2013||August: Osage County||Writer|
|2015||The Big Short||Lawrence Fields|
|2016||Indignation||Hawes D. Caudwell|
|2016||Elvis & Nixon||John Finlator|
|2017||Lady Bird||Larry McPherson|
|2017||The Post||Fritz Beebe|
|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|
|2017||Comrade Detective||Vasile (voice)||Episode: "No Exit"|
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.