March 11, 1967– John Barrowman is quite the underachiever: actor, dancer, singer; working on stage, in films, television, and with the extra duty of being professionally good-looking. He even danced on ice. He lives and works both in the UK and the USA.
Barrowman is probably most famous for best known for playing time-traveling Captain Jack Harkness in the 2005 reboot of Doctor Who (1989-2015) produced by Queer As Folk creator Russell T. Davies. Barrowman then went on to star in a Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood (2006-2011).
Barrowman was born in Glasgow, Scotland where he spent the first eight years of his life. In 1976, when he was eight years old, his family relocated to Illinois by the company his father was working for.
While he was in high school, Barrowman appeared in his school’s musical productions. He majored in Theatre at United States International University in San Diego.
Barrowman made quite a splash in London with his professional debut in a West End production of Cole Porter‘s Anything Goes (1989), not as Reno Sweeny, but playing the ingénue Billy Crocker, a role he would play 14 years later in Trevor Nunn‘s acclaimed 2003 West End revival. Always in demand, he has also appeared in West End productions of Miss Saigon, Beauty And The Beast, Hair, Grease!, The Phantom Of The Opera, and La Cage Aux Folles. Barrowman played Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard in the West End and, briefly, on Broadway. His only other Broadway role was in the Stephen Sondheim revue Putting It Together (1999–2000) opposite Carol Burnett. In 2002, Barrowman played Bobby in Sondheim’s Company at the Kennedy Center.
On film, Barrowman sang a duet with Kevin Kline in that dreadful Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely (2004), and sang the big Springtime For Hitler number in the film version of the stage musical version of the original film of of Mel Brooks’ The Producers (2005).
Barrowman had been considered for the title role of Will on the television series Will & Grace (1998-2006), but the network brass felt he was “too straight” and the role went to Eric McCormack instead, who is of course, straight.
Barrowman met British architect Scott Gill, when he was appearing in a stage production of Rope at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 1991.
Barrowman claims it was love at first sight:
“I was doing the play in Chichester and Scott was brought down to see the play by a mutual friend of ours. He told Scott: ‘You’ve gotta see this guy in the play, he’s naked for the first seven minutes!’ So Scott certainly knew what he was getting!”
The couple became domestic partners in the UK in 2006, and they were married in Palm Springs, just a week following the United States Supreme Court’s decision to deny an appeal to overturning California Proposition 8.
“It feels great and I think more gay men and gay women should go ahead and do it as long as they’re serious about it. It’s not really recognition, but it’s important for people to see the normality of the entire situation, and it forces people who don’t agree with gay men and women… to have to accept us. We deserve the rights like everybody else. It’s been a long wait, but we legitimized our relationship to each other a long time ago when we signed our mortgages together, and this is just something that forces people who don’t want to recognize it that they have to.”
Barrowman has written 2 volumes of juicy memoirs: Anything Goes (2008) and I Am What I Am (2009). He has 8 solo albums and can be heard on the original cast recordings for 11 musicals.
Barrowman and Gill are outspoken advocates for Gay Rights and progressive politics. They have houses in London, Cardiff, Wales; and Palm Springs that they share with their three cocker spaniels. They couldn’t possibly be more adorable.