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A charismatic performer who made his mark on the musical stage, actor and occasional singer John Barrowman earned legions of fans with a number of acclaimed theatrical performances in London and on Broadway before becoming a huge star on British television as Captain Jack Harkness on both "Doctor Who" (BBC1, 1963-89; 2005- ) and "Torchwood" (BBC, 2006-11). Prior to his small screen success, Barrowman had a wide range of stage roles, playing Billy Crocker in an acclaimed revival of "Anything Goes" (1989), Raoul in a West End production of "The Phantom of the Opera," and Joe Gillis opposite Betty Buckley's Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" (1994). After a short-lived run as the assistant district attorney from a wealthy political family on the primetime soap "Central Park West" (CBS, 1995-96), he shined in a featured role in the Stephen Sondheim review "Putting It Together" (1998). Barrowman moved on to play the titular prince-turned-monster in "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" (1999), while returning to the small screen for another brief run on "Titan" (NBC, 2000-01). Following a pair of forgettable big screen appearances, Barrowman became Jack Harkness on "Doctor Who," earning a legion of fans that...

A charismatic performer who made his mark on the musical stage, actor and occasional singer John Barrowman earned legions of fans with a number of acclaimed theatrical performances in London and on Broadway before becoming a huge star on British television as Captain Jack Harkness on both "Doctor Who" (BBC1, 1963-89; 2005- ) and "Torchwood" (BBC, 2006-11). Prior to his small screen success, Barrowman had a wide range of stage roles, playing Billy Crocker in an acclaimed revival of "Anything Goes" (1989), Raoul in a West End production of "The Phantom of the Opera," and Joe Gillis opposite Betty Buckley's Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" (1994). After a short-lived run as the assistant district attorney from a wealthy political family on the primetime soap "Central Park West" (CBS, 1995-96), he shined in a featured role in the Stephen Sondheim review "Putting It Together" (1998). Barrowman moved on to play the titular prince-turned-monster in "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" (1999), while returning to the small screen for another brief run on "Titan" (NBC, 2000-01). Following a pair of forgettable big screen appearances, Barrowman became Jack Harkness on "Doctor Who," earning a legion of fans that helped spawn the critically hailed spin-off "Torchwood." The popularity of both series won the attention of Hollywood and shipped Barrowman off to the U.S. for "Torchwood: The New World" (Starz, 2011), which poised the actor to become an even bigger star.

Born on March 11, 1967 in Glasgow, Scotland, Barrowman was raised by his father, who worked as a salesman for Caterpillar, a heavy machinery manufacturer, and his mother, a singer and clerk at a record store. In 1976, his family moved to Illinois when his father's job was transferred to the United States. Initially teased because of his thick Scottish burr, Barrowman quickly learned to adapt, sowing the seeds for a budding career as an actor. As a child, he performed in nursing homes and sang in his church choir, while later he performed in stage productions of "Hello, Dolly!" among others at Joliet West High School. After graduating, Barrowman briefly performed at Opryland USA, while also making short stops at the University of Iowa and DePaul University in Chicago. In 1989, he went back to his native United Kingdom, where he soon established himself as a musical leading man. Barrowman made his British stage debut when he replaced American Howard McGillan in the role of Billy Crocker for the acclaimed revival of "Anything Goes" (1989). He went on to tour Ireland as Alex in Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Aspects of Love," while playing Che in a Norwegian production of "Evita" and Chris in a London staging of "Miss Saigon."

After starring opposite Stephanie Powers in an ill-fated production of "Matador" (1991) in the West End, Barrowman assumed the role of Raoul in "The Phantom of the Opera" (1992), which staged at Her Majesty's Theatre in London. In a change of pace, he undertook a rare dramatic stage role alongside Anthony Head and Alexis Denisof in a staging of "Rope" (1993) at the Chichester Festival. After briefly reprising the male lead in "Miss Saigon" in London, Barrowman landed the leading role of Claude in the 25th anniversary staging of "Hair" (1993) in London. He was next tapped to star as screenwriter Joe Gillis to Betty Buckley's Norma Desmond in the London production of "Sunset Boulevard" (1994), a role that earned him a considerable amount of critical praise. At the time, Barrowman did double duty as a presenter on the British children's television series "Live & Kicking" (BBC1, 1993-2001) and as host of "The Movie Game" (BBC1, 1988-1996). Barrowman was woefully underutilized in a rather bland role in the American primetime soap opera "Central Park West" (CBS, 1995-96). The much-hyped show failed to garner much of an audience and was summarily cancelled after two seasons.

Barrowman was back on the boards and made his Broadway debut in a two-week stint reprising Joe Gillis opposite Buckley in "Sunset Boulevard" (1996). The actor returned to London to co-star in the world premiere of "The Fix" (1997), which marked the first original musical directed by Sam Mendes. The following year, Barrowman was back in the U.S for a featured role in "Putting It Together" (1998), a review of Stephen Sondheim songs that starred Carol Burnett and staged at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Back on the British stage, he took on the role of the Beast in "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" (1999), while "Putting It Together" remounted with minor cast changes on Broadway. Having conquered the stages of London and New York, Barrowman set his sights on screens both big and small. Playing against type, he seemed set to achieve stardom as the nefarious son of a wealthy Beverly Hills family fractured by divorce on "Titans" (NBC, 2000-01), only to watch the Aaron Spelling-produced show get the ax in the middle of its first season.

Despite his sterling stage credits, Barrowman made a rather inauspicious film debut with a role in the straight-to-video sequel "Shark Attack 3: Megalodon" (2002). Following a small supporting part in "De-Lovely" (2004), a musical biopic of Cole Porter (Kevin Kline), he was the Lead Tenor Stormtrooper in a filmed version of the musical "The Producers" (2005). That same year, Barrowman landed the role he became most identified with, playing Captain Jack Harkness in the reboot of the time-traveling series "Doctor Who" (BBC, 1963-89; 2005- ). A morally ambiguous, openly homosexual, former con man from the distant future who eventually becomes immortal through death and leads a fight on Earth to combat alien threats, Harkness quickly became one of the show's more popular figures which led to a spin-off series, "Torchwood" (BBC, 2006-11). As the star of that show, Barrowman's character joined a team of specialists and led the continued fight against both humans and aliens threatening Earth. "Torchwood" was a huge ratings hit in Britain, though the first series earned mixed critical reviews. But over time, the show earned high marks for artistic merit, while branching out into other mediums like Torchwood Magazine, a number of webcasts and web series, radio plays and even novels. Of course, Hollywood wanted in on the action and developed "Torchwood: The New World" (Starz, 2011), with Barrowman retaining his Harkness character. Meanwhile, the actor appeared on a number of American series, including having a recurring role during the sixth season of "Desperate Housewives" (ABC, 2004-12).

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