Christopher Thomas Howell (born December 7, 1966), known as C. Thomas Howell, is an American actor and director. He starred in the films The Outsiders, as Ponyboy Curtis, and The Hitcher, as Jim Halsey. He also starred in Grandview U.S.A., Red Dawn as Robert, Secret Admirer as Michael, and Soul Man, and appeared in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, The Amazing Spider-Man, and Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.

Early life

Howell was born in Van Nuys, California, the son of Christopher N and Candace Howell. He has two sisters, Stacy and Candi, and a brother, John. His father worked as a stunt coordinator and rodeo performer. As a young boy, Howell wanted to be a stuntman and was even a child stunt performer. He began acting at the age of four, when he was cast in the Brian Keith Show episode "The Little People".

When Howell was young, his parents divorced, leaving his mother with both of her sons and daughter Stacy, and his father took little Candi with him. Howell shared his time with each parent and started his career through his father's job. When he was 12, he became a rodeo champion at the California Junior Rodeo Association and was named "All-Around Cowboy" in August 1979. While growing up, he also spent time golfing with his grandfather (he earned his nickname "CT" as that was how his name was recorded on the screen boards). Howell graduated from Saugus High School in 1984. Howell attended The National Conservatory for Drama Arts.


Howell's showbiz debut was acting in the The Brian Keith Show episode "The Little People" as a little boy whose ears are being checked out by a doctor. When he got older, he tried stunt acting like his father and worked on commercials for a while. He tried rodeo riding for a few years. In 1982, He made his film debut as Tyler in Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Afterward, he was cast as the lead role Ponyboy Curtis in Francis Ford Coppola's The Outsiders, which earned him a Young Artist Award. Following The Outsiders, he became a teen idol, appearing in teen magazines like Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, which referred to him as "Tommy" and "Tom".


In 1984 he and Outsiders co-star, Patrick Swayze, reunited for Grandview, U.S.A., also with Jamie Lee Curtis, and Red Dawn, with Charlie Sheen and Lea Thompson. Howell also had a pivotal role in Tank, with James Garner and Jenilee Harrison. In 1985 he again starred in the lead role in Secret Admirer, opposite Lori Loughlin and Kelly Preston. Howell was one of two final actors in the running to play Marty McFly in Back to the Future the other being Eric Stoltz, who was eventually selected. Michael J. Fox would later go on to replace Stoltz after filming had begun.

In 1986 he played a hitchhiker's target in the film The Hitcher, another of his successful movies. The sequel was released in 2003. Following that, he starred as a white student who pretends to be black to receive a scholarship, in the poorly received Soul Man, which currently holds an aggregated score of 14% at Rotten Tomatoes. Howell has since stated that he does not regret playing the main character in blackface and that Soul Man was "an important part of [Howell's] life" and "an important film" for racial relations in America. In 1988 Howell played Arturo Toscanini in the story of the world-renowned conductor in Franco Zeffirelli's Il giovane Toscanini with Irma Capece Minutolo and Elizabeth Taylor, which was one of his very first straight-to-video releases. Howell and Kelly Preston reunited as lovers in A Tiger's Tale.


At the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, Howell appeared in The Return of the Musketeers and Side Out. In 1993, he starred with Linda Fiorentino and Nancy Allen in the campy thriller Acting on Impulse. After several straight-to-DVD features and a starring role in That Night, he achieved success again in the movie Gettysburg, which was popular with history buffs and history classrooms. He starred as Mike, a motorcycle courier in Mad Dogs and Englishmen (U.S. title: Shameless) with Elizabeth Hurley. His made-for-television movie credits include Suspect Device, Sealed with a Kiss and Dead Fire. He starred in Dads, an unsold sitcom pilot. He also appeared in the short-lived TV series Kindred: The Embraced.

He started an interest in crime-thrillers after starring in Payback and playing gangster Baby Face Nelson in a film of the same name. He went on to direct and star in the 1996 direct-to-video release, Pure Danger, featuring alongside Teri Ann Linn and prop comic, Carrot Top.


Howell returned to the theater in the 2000s in movies such as Asylum Days, the Gods and Generals prequel to Gettysburg, and The Hillside Strangler, in which he played serial killer Kenneth Bianchi. In 2006, Howell starred in Hoboken Hollow. He also became a supporter of the production company The Asylum, which produced his straight-to-DVD movies.

In 2005, he starred in H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, one of three 2005 adaptations of the novel The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. Because of its success, Howell directed and starred in a straight-to-DVD sequel War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave in 2008, which was heavily criticized. In 2005, he also reunited with his Secret Admirer co-star Lori Loughlin, when he had a recurring role on her television show Summerland as Zac Efron's father. After War of the Worlds, he spent time directing unsuccessful straight to-DVD movies. Also, in 2008, he directed and starred in The Day the Earth Stopped, a mockbuster intended to capitalize on The Day the Earth Stood Still. For these reasons, 20th Century Fox have threatened legal action against The Asylum, but no action has yet been taken. He also appeared as a doctor in The Poseidon Adventure, an adaptation of the 1972 film of the same name. Coincidentally, his father's first stunt co-ordination was for the original movie, though uncredited. He briefly hosted a show on KLSX later that year.


Howell appeared in the 2012 film The Amazing Spider-Man.

Television work

After filming The Outsiders, Howell co-starred in his own television series, Two Marriages, which ended after four episodes, but letters of support got it back on air. Howell later expressed disappointment in the series, but eventually found it more satisfying.

After Two Marriages, Howell made guest appearances in shows like Moonlighting and The Hitchhiker. In 2000, Howell played a doctor stranded on a deserted island after a plane crash in Amazon. He initially turned down a guest role in ER after missing out on a role he wanted, but his wife signed him up after yet another offer. Following ER, he guest appeared in 24. He guest starred in five episodes of Criminal Minds on CBS as serial killer George Foyet / The Boston Reaper, a recurring villain based on the Zodiac Killer.

Howell has played the role of Officer Bill 'Dewey' Dudek, a wild, loudmouth, but efficient police officer recovering from alcoholism, in the L.A. police drama Southland since 2009. He appeared in Seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4 and was promoted to a series regular for Season 5, which began in February 2013. The series was cancelled on May 10, 2013.

In 2011, he guest starred on The Glades and in Torchwood: Miracle Day.


Howell has worked with Francis Ford Coppola many times and in other areas of making motion pictures including writing, producing, and directing. In 1995, he wrote and directed Hourglass, in which he starred with Sofia Shinas. The following year, he helped produce The Big Fall and Pure Danger. Howell did not write or direct another movie until 2004. He and his father co-wrote the made-for-television movie Hope Ranch and Howell produced the film as well. The film was a success and Howell went on to write and produce Blind Injustice the next year. Two years later he produced The Stolen Moments of September.

Personal life

In his single days, Howell shared a place with Darren Dalton, with whom he co-starred in The Outsiders, Red Dawn, and The Jailhouse. From 1989 to 1990, he was married to actress Rae Dawn Chong, his Soul Man co-star. He married Sylvie Anderson in 1992. They have three children: Isabelle (born February 17, 1993), Dashiell (born January 2, 1997), and Liam (born April 24, 2001). His family currently resides in Stevenson Ranch, California.



1982E.T. the Extra-TerrestrialTyler
1983The OutsidersPonyboy Curtis
1984Grandview, U.S.A.Tim Pearson
1984TankWilliam "Billy" Carey
1984Red DawnRobert Morris
1985Secret AdmirerMichael Ryan
1985That Was Then... This Is NowPonyboy CurtisCameo
1986The HitcherJim Halsey
1986Soul ManMark Watson
1988A Tiger's TaleBubber Drums
1988Giovane Toscanini IIArturo Toscanini
1989The Return of the MusketeersRaoul
1990Far Out ManHimself
1990Side OutMonoroe Clark
1990KidThe Kid
1990Curiosity KillsCat Thomas
1992Tattle TaleBernard Sprat
1992Nickel & DimeJack Stone
1992To Protect and ServeEgan
1992Breaking the RulesGene Michaels
1992That NightRick
1993GettysburgThomas Chamberlain
1994JailbaitSgt. Lee Teffler
1994Dangerous IndiscretionJim Lomax
1994Teresa's TattooCarl
1994TreacherousMicky Stewert
1994Natural SelectionBen Braden / Alex Connelly
1995PaybackOscar Bonsetter
1995Baby Face NelsonBaby Face Nelson
1995HourglassMichael Jardine
1995Mad Dogs and EnglishmenMikeAlso known as Shameless
1995Suspect DeviceDan Jerico
1996The Big FallBlaise Rybeck
1996Sealed with a KissDetective Mick Cullen
1996The SweeperMark Goddard
1996Pure DangerJonnie Dean
1997Matter of TrustMichael D'AngeloAlso known as The Surgeon
1997Laws of DeceptionEvan Marino
1997DilemmaDetective Thomas Quinlan
1997Dead FireTucker
1997Last LivesAaron
1998Fatal AffairMalcolm MaddoxAlso known as Stalker
1998Sleeping DogsSanchez Boon
1998CharadesEvanAlso known as Felons
1999The Crimson CodeJ.B. GainesAlso known as Red Team
1999Hot BoyzRoberts
1999Enemy ActionJohn Reed
1999The ShepherdBoris DakotaAlso known as Cyber City
1999The Glass JarLanois
1999AvalancheJackAlso known as Escape from Alaska
1999Hitman's RunTom Holly
1999The Prince and the SurferDean
2000Lawless: Dead EvidenceDean Riley
2000The Million Dollar KidValentino
2001Separate WaysTom Milton
2001Asylum DaysNathan Devine
2001WillFullNat Wolff
2001XCU: Extreme Close UpGeoffrey Liddy
2001AskariJoss McKinley
2002Night of the WolfSheriff Wade Messer
2002Killer Bees!Sheriff Lyndon Harris
2003Net GamesAdam VanceAlso known as Deadly Web
2003Gods and GeneralsThomas Chamberlain
2003The Hitcher II: I've Been WaitingJim Halsey
2004The Lost AngelKuratha
2004HidalgoPreston Webb
2004The Hillside StranglerKenneth Bianchi
2004A Killer WithinAddison Terrill
2005The Keeper: The Legend of Omar KhayyamCoach Fielding
2005Crimson ForceCaptain Baskin
2005H. G. Wells' War of the WorldsGeorge Herbert
2005Glass TrapCurtis
2005Ordinary MiraclesJim Powell
2005The Poseidon AdventureDoctor Matthew Ballard
2006The Da Vinci TreasureMichael Archer
2006Hoboken HollowClayton Connelly
2006The Far Side of JerichoLittle Jimmy Thorton
2007Dead LettersKC
2007The Haunting of Marsten ManorCaptain Williams
2007Fighting WordsDavid SettlesAlso known as Street Poet
2007The Stolen Moments of SeptemberSisner
2008Mutant Vampire Zombies from the 'Hood!David
2008House of FallenThomas
2008Big GameCody "Sully" Sullivan
2008A Gunfighter's PledgeHorn
2008The GrindLuke
2008The Thirst: Blood WarJed
2008War of the Worlds 2: The Next WaveGeorge HerbertDirector
2008The Day the Earth StoppedJosh MyronDirector
2009The Land That Time ForgotFrost MichaelsDirector
2009Secret at Arrow LakeDaniel WilliamsAlso known as Mia's Father
2009American Pie Presents: The Book of LoveAlumnus Guy #2
2009The JailhouseSeth Delray
2010Cupid's ArrowProfessor Grimes
2010The Terror ExperimentChief GrassoAlso known as Fight or Flight
2010FlatlineMr. Thomas
2011Camel SpidersSheriff Beaumont
2011RestitutionJohn Youngstown
2012Wedding DayRuss
2012Home InvasionRay
2012Commander and ChiefShrub
2012The Amazing Spider-ManCrane Dad
2012Chilly ChristmasPatrick Cole
2012EscapePaul Jordan
2013An Amish MurderNathan Detrick
2013Don't Pass Me ByJack
2013The Devil's DozenTom
2013Lost on PurposeDelbert Ferguson
2013Justice League: The Flashpoint ParadoxProfessor ZoomVoice
2013Storm RiderMitch
2013Christmas BelleRex EverhartAlso known as A Fairytale Christmas
2014Confessions of a WomanizerTonyAlso known as Confessions of a Sex Addict
2014Bigfoot WarsZeke
2014Category 5Charlie DuPuis
2014A Magic ChristmasJack Carter
2014Borrowed MomentsJackAlso known as Sleight of Hand
2015Beast ModeBreen Nash
2015Spirit RidersKeith
2015Rivers 9Sheriff Quentin
2015Justice League: Gods and MonstersDr. Will MagnusVoice
2015WoodlawnCoach George "Shorty" White
2015A Christmas Eve MiracleJack Carter
2015Magic HourTom Worthy
2015Lazarus RisingSilent Cal
2015Blood LustRyanAlso known as Siren Song
2015Dirty DealingCarter
2016Sick PeopleDr. Sam ZimmermanAlso known as Intensive Care
2016Mac Daddy's Vegas AdventureAlfieri Contipost-production
2016LBJWalter Jenkinspost-production
2016Advance & RetreatNathan Shapiropost-production
2017Blue WeekendRobert Crawfordpost-production


1983Two MarriagesScott MorganEpisode: "Relativity"
1989Nightmare ClassicsJenner BradingEpisode: "The Eyes of the Panther"
1996Kindred: The EmbracedFrank Kohanek8 episodes
1998The Outer LimitsCaptain Miles DavidlowEpisode: "The Joining"
1998V.I.PPhil ShermanEpisode: "Val Got Game"
1998The Love Boat: The Next WaveJohnEpisode: "Affairs to Remember"
1999Dead Man's GunHenry HubbleEpisode: "The Phrenologist"
1999–2000AmazonDr. Alex Kennedy
2000Twice in a LifetimeTonyEpisode: "The Escaped Artist"
2002Son of the BeachJason DudikoffEpisode: "In the Line of Booty"
2004The DistrictChris GunnerEpisode: "On Guard"
2004–2005SummerlandKyle Bale2 episodes
2005ERVincent JanesonEpisode: "The Human Shield"
200624Barry Landes2 episodes
2008CelebracadabraHimself (contestant)Crowned "Best Celebrity Magician"
2009–2013Criminal MindsGeorge Foyet / The Boston Reaper5 episodes
2009–2013SouthlandBill "Dewey" Dudek
2010PsychAgent Camden DriggsEpisode: "One, Maybe Two, Ways Out"
2011The GladesPeyton RobinsonEpisode: "Second Skin"
2011Torchwood: Miracle DayThe GentlemanEpisode: "Escape to L.A."
2011CHAOSCarson SimmsEpisode: "Proof of Life"
2012AlphasEli AquinoEpisode: "The Quick and the Dead"
2012RevolutionBounty HunterEpisode: "Chained Heat"
2012CastleJohn CampbellEpisode: "Swan Song"
2012LongmireRay StewartEpisode: "A Damn Shame"
2012Hawaii Five-0Martin CordovaEpisode: "Death Wish"
2013Horror HaikuJohn AsherEpisode: "I Know What You Know"
2013Sons Of AnarchyAgent Frank EaganEpisode: "One One Six"
2013Blue BloodsAlex PolanskiEpisode: "Justice Served"
2014GrimmAgent Weston Steward5 episodes
2014–2015Girlfriends' Guide to DivorceNate4 episodes
2015MotiveJoe HillisEpisode: "Reversal of Fortune"
2015StitchersDaniel Stinger3 episodes
2015Ties That BindMr. WitherspoonEpisode: "Controlled Substance"
2015Sleepy HollowAgent Mick GrangerEpisode: "I, Witness"
2014–2015StitchersDaniel Stinger3 episodes
2016Animal KingdomPaul Belmont7 episodes