Thomas Haden Church is an American actor, filmmaker, and screenwriter. He has garnered fame for portraying Lowell Mather in the NBC sitcom ‘Wings’, Jack Cole in the comedy-drama film ‘Sideways’, Sandman in the superhero film ‘Spider-Man 3’, and Bruce Landry in the drama film ‘Whitewash’. Originally from California, Church later moved to Texas following his parents’ divorce. In 1977, he dropped out of high school to pursue a career in the petroleum sector. However, he later went back to school and graduated from the University of North Texas. Church made his screen debut in the telefilm ‘Protect and Surf’. A year later, his first cinematic appearance came in the drama film ‘Gypsy Angels’. After being cast in ‘Wings’, he found some stability in his career. In late 2002, he went on a hiatus from films. Since his return, he has been equally active on both the big and small screens. For his performance in ‘Sideways’, he has received numerous accolades, including two SAG Awards and nominations for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Childhood & Early Life
Born as Thomas Richard McMillen on June 17, 1960, in Woodland, California, USA, Church is the son of late Maxine (née Sanders) and late Carlos "Carl" Richard McMillen. His father was a marine who served during the Korean War. Later, he became a surveyor.
At some point, Church’s parents divorced, and he relocated to Texas with his mother. In 1969, his mother married Army Air Force veteran George A. Quesada.
He briefly used his stepfather’s surname before changing his name to “Haden Church”. He stopped going to school in 1977 and moved to Louisiana to work in the oil fields. However, he eventually returned, obtained his high school diploma from Harlingen High School in 1979, and went on to study at the University of North Texas.
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Thomas Haden Church began his career in the entertainment industry as a radio personality and voice-over artist. He had his screen debut in the 1989 telefilm ‘Protect and Surf’.
He guest-starred in several TV shows before debuting on the big screen in an uncredited role of a roommate in ‘Gypsy Angel’ (1990). After he acted in an indie film, he decided to relocate to California to be an actor.
His portrayal of the dim-witted mechanic/handyman Lowell Mather in the NBC sitcom ‘Wings’ was his breakthrough role. It helped him find solid footing in the industry and put him on the radar of filmmakers and showrunners.
He appeared opposite Debra Messing in the Fox sitcom ‘Ned and Stacey’ (1995-97). He portrayed various supporting characters in films like ‘Tombstone’ (1993), ‘George of the Jungle’ (1997), and ‘The Specials’ (2000).
He was cast in minor roles in ‘Monkeybone’ (2001) and ‘3000 Miles to Graceland’ (2001). In the same year he starred in ‘Sideways’ (2004), he also appeared in the dark comedy film ‘Serial Killing 4 Dummys’ and the drama film ‘Spanglish’.
In 2006, he was part of the cast of the cult film ‘Idiocracy’. Church bagged the role of Flint Marko/Sandman in the 2007 superhero film ‘Spider-Man 3’. In 2011, he shared the screen space with the likes of Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson in the family comedy film ‘We Bought a Zoo’.
In 2013, Church portrayed Bruce, an unemployed snowplough driver, in Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais’ directorial venture ‘Whitewash’. He acted opposite Terrence Howard in the 2016 drama film ‘Cardboard Boxer’.
In the 2017 comedy film ‘Crash Pad’, he played Grady, a neglectful husband who moves in with his wife’s lover after finding out about her infidelity. Between 2016 and 2019, he had the recurring role of Robert Dufresne in the HBO comedy-drama show ‘Divorce’.
Church wrote and directed the 2003 comedy film ‘Rolling Kansas’, in which the lead characters go on a road trip to find an enchanted marijuana forest. He has served as an executive producer on the 1998 comedy-drama ‘Scotch and Milk’ and the 2009 mystery thriller ‘Don McKay’. Church is set to star in the upcoming films ‘The Happy Worker’, ‘The 24th’, and ‘Deception Road’.
During the audition for the role of Jack Cole, the selfish best friend of Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) in the 2004 comedy-drama film ‘Sideways’, Church took off his clothes before auditioning as the character he was playing was supposed to be naked in the scene. He later realized that he had been the only actor to do so during the audition. His sincerity got him the role and ‘Sideways’ was both a critical and commercial hit.
In 2006, he worked with Robert Duvall in the AMC western telefilm ‘Broken Trail’. His character, Tom Harte, is a cowboy who helps Duvall’s character, his uncle, transport 300 horses from Oregon to Sheridan, Wyoming. Church won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for the role and was also nominated for a SAG Award.
Family & Personal Life
Thomas Haden Church owns a 2,000-acre (810 ha) ranch in Kerrville, Texas., where he currently resides. In the past, he was in a relationship with actress Mia Zottoli, with whom he has two children, including a daughter named Cody (born 2004).