Tracy Letts (born July 4, 1965) is an American playwright, screenwriter and actor who 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 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. 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.
Life and career
Letts was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to best-selling author Billie Letts (née Gipson) and the late college professor and actor Dennis Letts. He has two brothers, Shawn, a jazz musician and composer, 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 as an actor. He acted 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 Chicago, 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, also a writer, 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.
Letts married actress Carrie Coon, a co-star in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, in September 2013.
Letts played 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.
Letts has also appeared on episodes of the TV show 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 other shows.
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 the assertive Dean Caudwell in Indignation (2016), an adaptation of Philip Roth's 2008 novel of the same name.