Director, Writer & Producer
John Shea is an actor, writer and director. He co-wrote (with Jimmy Cummings), directed and appeared in the film Southie, which won the Jury Award for Best Independent Film at the 1998 Seattle International Film Festival. He recently directed Grey Lady, working with cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak, starring Eric Dane and co-starring Jimmy Cummings. As an actor, John is primarily known to TV audiences for his recurring role as the evil Lex Luthor in the early 90s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman TV series.
Born in New Hampshire but raised in Massachusetts, John received his BA from Bates College, which he achieved on debating and football scholarships. He then attended Yale University and earned an MFA in directing from its School of Drama.
Following New York stage work, including his portrayal of Paris in a production of Romeo and Juliet (1977), initial on-camera notice came on TV with his reverential portrayal of Joseph in the mini-movie The Nativity. A few years later on film he appeared in the memorable role of the impassioned, ill-fated American idealist who becomes a casualty to Chilean war-torn politics in Costa-Gavras’ Academy Award-winning thriller Missing. Amnesty International later honored John for his political work following the film’s release.
Critical kudos as well as awards have come in John’s direction over the years on stage, film and TV. In the film Windy City opposite Kate Capshaw he earned the Best Actor Award at the Montreal Film Festival. On stage, he received a Drama Desk Award for American Days, an Obie Award for The Dining Room and a 1976 Theatre World Award for his portrayal of the Jewish student “Avigdor” in Yentl, the role later portrayed by Mandy Patinkin in Barbra Streisand’s 1983 film adaptation. On television, John was awarded an Emmy for his depiction of the distressed husband and father wannabe who touches off a legal landmark case in the miniseries, Baby M.
In a career pocked with remarkable versatility, interesting choices and challenging parts, John has played everything from a young Nazi in the miniseries Hitler’s S.S.: Portrait in Evil to ‘Robert F. Kennedy’ in the epic-styled Kennedy. He has guest starred over the years on such well-received series as Sex and the City, Tales from the Crypt, Deadly Nightmares, Law & Order and Medium.
Into the millennium, John found popularity on the Mutant X sci-fi series playing the role of ‘Adam Kane’. Based on Marvel Comic’s X-Men, he received a nomination for Canada’s prestigious Gemini Award as Best Actor. He also appears in a recurring role on Gossip Girl. More recent filming includes a spat of thrillers including The Insurgents with Mary Stuart Masterson; the British Framed; the Indian drama Achchamundu! Achchamundu!; the Jessica Alba drama An Invisible Sign; and the horror Opus 51. His most recent role was on the TNT series Agent X, in which he portrayed the President of the United States against Sharon Stone’s portrayal of the Vice President, and James Earl Jones’ portrayal of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
A screenwriter and audio book performer in addition to all his other talents, John lives with his second wife, the painter Melissa MacLeod, in New York and on Nantucket Island where he was a founding member of the Nantucket Film Festival and is currently Artistic Director of the Nantucket Theatre Workshop. He has a son, Jake, from his first marriage, and two children, Miranda and Caiden, by wife Melissa.