Tall (6'6"), lanky and balding, Tom Noonan is a veritable one-man movie studio, serving as producer, director, writer, editor, composer and, on occasion, star of a handful of well-received independent features. Born and raised in Connecticut, he dropped out of Yale and moved to Boston before eventually settling in Manhattan where he began his showbiz career as a musician and composer. Switching to acting, Noonan first came to prominence as the star of Sam Shepard's "Buried Child" in 1978. In films, he achieved notoriety as a serial killer in Michael Mann's taut "Manhunter" (1986). Using his towering, eccentric look, at once fragile and terrifying, Noonan went on to create a galaxy of screen villains, most memorably in "F/X" (1986), "RoboCop 2" (1990) and "Last Action Hero" (1993).
Opening his own theater in the 1982 with his film acting earnings, Noonan wrote and directed as well as acted in several plays, two of which he also produced as films. "What Happened Was..." (produced Off-Broadway 1992; released as a feature 1994), won the best narrative film award at the Sundance Film Festival and detailed in real time the awkward first date between a mismatched pair, played by Noonan and Karen Sillas. His 1994 play "Wifey" was the basis for "The Wife" (filmed in 1994; released in 1996), about a patient who shows up at his therapists' home. His most recent play, "Wang Dang" (1998), about a guest lecturer out to seduce a student, is expected to be filmed.