Tom Noonan

Tom Noonan

Apr. 12th, 1951
Born in
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
6' 6

Tom Noonan's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Hell on Wheels TV Show
Hell on Wheels
12 Monkeys TV Show
12 Monkeys
The Beat TV Show
The Beat

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Tom Noonan (born April 12, 1951) is an American actor, director, and screenwriter, perhaps best known for his role in the popular Michael Mann film Manhunter.

Noonan is a graduate from Yale's acting school, he founded the Paradise Theatre in 1983, which was instrumental later in his growth as an artist. Gravitating toward film and TV in the 80s, he began appearing regularly in edgy, unsympathetic roles, most notably as the "Tooth Fairy" serial killer in Manhunter (1986) which was the first feature length film to introduce the infamous Hannibal Lector character. Most of his other work at this time was solid but unrewarding, including such looming parts in Easy Money (1983), Best Defense (1984), The Monster Squad (1987) and RoboCop 2 (1990), so he began to take classes in writing and directing in order to extend himself.

In the mid-90s, by appearing in a number of mainstream parts, he was able to finance his own first play-turned-art house film project What Happened Was... (1994), which became the darling of the Sundance Film Festival that year and won the Grand Jury Prize, not to mention an Independent Spirit nomination. He filmed it in eleven days at a cost of $300,000, and managed to edit it only hours before the Sundance deadline. The success of the two character film, which starred Noonan and 'Karen Sillas' as an awkward couple on their first date, induced Tom to finance another film, The Wife (1995), based on his Obie-winning (for writing) play "Wifey", which co-starred Noonan with 'Julie Hagerty', 'Wallace Shawn' and his one-time wife 'Karen Young'. This film, which was warmly received at the Sundance Festival as well, was barely released theatrically, however, as was his third hands-on feature Wang Dang (1999).

Notable 90s TV work included roles in The X Files (1993) and the miniseries Heaven & Hell: North & South, Book III (1994), in which he also composed the score. The New York-based actor continues to perform as well as teach acting at the Paradise Theatre, where many of his plays-turned-films got off the ground. He has also written short works of fiction.

  • Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Vol. 130, pp. 305-309. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
  • Made a guest appearance in the third season of _"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (2000)_ (qv). He and "CSI" star 'William Petersen' (qv) starred together in _Manhunter (1986)_ (qv).
  • In _Last Action Hero (1993)_ (qv), the villain, Benedict ('Charles Dance (I)' (qv)) says that "Hannibal Lecter can do the catering!" Noonon, who appeared in that film, played Francis Dolarhyde in _Manhunter (1986)_ (qv), the first film to feature Lecter. In addition, the first director considered for _Last Action Hero (1993)_ (qv) was 'Steven Spielberg' (qv), who made _Schindler's List (1993)_ (qv), instead. On that film, Spielberg worked with Noonan's successor, 'Ralph Fiennes' (qv), who played Dolarhyde in _Red Dragon (2002)_ (qv).
  • The play, "A Poster for the Cosmos", was written specifically for Tom by writer 'Lanford Wilson' (qv).
  • He and his fellow _Heat (1995)_ (qv) cast member, 'Ted Levine' (qv), have both played villains caught with the help of Hannibal Lecter. Noonan played Francis "Tooth Fairy" Dolarhyde in _Manhunter (1986)_ (qv), and Levine played Jame "Buffalo Bill" Gumb in _The Silence of the Lambs (1991)_ (qv).

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