Sunday, December 16, 2007

C. Thomas Howell

C. Thomas Howell (the "C." is an abbreviation of Christopher) is a former child star best known for his lead role as a young white man pretending to be black to get a minority scholarship to Harvard Law school in the 1986 comedy, Soul Man.




Howell was born in Los Angeles, California on December 7, 1966. He is son of a stuntman and rodeo rider. As a child, he was more interested in pursuing the rodeo circuit than in having an acting career. Howell traveled quite a bit with the rodeo and was named the California Junior Rodeo Association’s All Around Junior Boy’s Champion for 1980 and 1981.

His acting career began in television at the age of four, when he was a regular on the TV series Little People. In 1977 he had a minor role in the TV movie, It Happened One Christmas, a remake of the Christmas classic It's A Wonderful Life. Howell's next role was a minor one in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, one of the biggest box office hits of all time. After E.T., Howell landed choice roles in the hit movies The Outsiders and Red Dawn.

By the mid-1980s Howell must have felt like he was on Cloud 9. He had already appeared in several huge hit movies and was being offered many more top roles. He was also a teenage heartthrob, the object of affection of many young girls. In 1986 he acted in The Hitcher, a horror cult classic where a psychopathic hitchhiker antagonizes Howell while going on a killing spree along a highway in the southwest. Howell also landed his career-defining role as Mark Watson in the smash hit comedy, Soul Man.

In Soul Man, Howell played a young white male who was accepted into Harvard Law School, but had to pay his own way because his parents cut him off financially. When he was unable to secure private loans on his own, he decided to load up on tanning pills to fool everyone into thinking he was black so that he could secure a minority scholarship. I personally thought that Soul Man was very funny. It basically gave an over-the-top view of the black-white stereotypes. However, the black community did not take kindly to the humor, given that Howell wore black face make-up throughout the film.



Although Soul Man was a hit, garnering $27 million at the U.S. box office, it was Howell's last major role. His career quickly hit the skids and has yet to recover. Has appeared in many productions over the past 20 years, but none of them are choice roles. For example, he appeared in a War of the Worlds movie in 2005, but it wasn't the big hit in which Tom Cruise starred. He also appeared in a remake of The Poseidon Adventure in 2005. Again, it was not the big remake that hit theatres in 2006. Instead, it was a crappy made-for-TV movie that hardly anyone watched.

On the personal side, Howell married his Soul Man co-star, Rae Dawn Chong, in 1986. In 1990 they divorced. He later remarried his current wife, Sylvie Anderson, and now has three kids.

C. Thomas Howell was a big star in the mid-1980s and was very bankable at the time. Unfortunately, after Soul Man, his career went down the toilet and has yet to recover. It's a shame because I always thought that he was a good actor. He is now relegated to acting in made-for-TV and straight-to-video flicks. Accordingly, there is no doubt that C. Thomas Howell is one washed-up celebrity!


*** Update - May 1, 2008 ***

C. Thomas Howell is currently appearing on the VH1 reality show, Celebracadabra. He is competing with other washed-up stars to be the best magician in a contest for cash and prizes. I watched a portion of the first episode last week. Howell impressively made a dollar bill appear to float while out on the street performing magic. After pulling off his trick, he raised his hands in the air and shouted, "Wolverines!," a line from his 1984 movie, Red Dawn.

 
*** Update - July 28, 2012 ***

C. Thomas Howell  recently appeared in the 2012 hit Spider-Man reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, where he plays Ray.  It remains to be seen whether this role will springboard Howell back into choice roles in the future.

65 comments:

Anonymous said...

Black people have every right to be offended by his appearance in "Soul Man"...he looks like Screech's bi racial butt child.

JewveBeenFramed said...

Looks like the rumours of Screech having Milo's illegitimate butt child is based in truth after all.

Knowing that Belding is into strapping young black men these days I bet he is trying to get into Leeroy Powers asshole as we speak! Poor Screech looks like Belding has found a newer model to shoot his penis puke into!

Stormshadow said...

I loved Howell in the Outsiders, but I remember that 80's comedy flick, Secret Admirer that he was in with Lori Loughlin (Aunt Becky of Full House fame) and Kelly Prescott. It's funny that in Summerland, Loughlin and Howell hooked up again in another couple role.

Anonymous said...

penis puke


If I ever start a band, that's so going to be its name.

GayZack said...

I found him edible in Soul Man. I wish I could travel back in time to the set of that movie and make sweet gay monkey love to him on the back lot. He's the man Screech wish he could be.

Anonymous said...

he was hott in soul man

Ainslie said...

When I was 11 (I'm 29 now) I had a huge crush on C Thomas Howell. Even now, I still kinda like him.

Anonymous said...

He has guest starred 3 times on Criminal Minds as "The Reaper". He was definitely not washed up! He was extremely good in this role!

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention "Sideout", his smashingly successful movie where he becomes a pro beach volleyball player after 3 weeks of training despite being what looks about 5'9" tall. Also, fuck the blacks who take offense to his soul man movie. It's a big fucking laugh when the Wayans look like white chicks, but oh no, not the other way around. What a bunch of fucking hypocites. Oh wait, their great great great great great grandparents were slaves, so now I see their point. We give them a president, and they still find reasons to bitch and moan.

Anonymous said...

Series regular on Southland now. Great show, formerly of NBC, now on TNT

Anonymous said...

I caught Soul Man recently for the first time since it came out and it actually really funny. It is not really making fun of black people but the ignorance of white racists. It actually has some touching moving moments in it!

Anonymous said...

He's working on Southland, a fantastic cop show on TBS...

Anonymous said...

Agreed, he's doing great on Southland, which is a good show. I really like his "Im losing touch" type of character. I like him way better now as an old fart.

Anonymous said...

i thought he died

Anonymous said...

I really like c.Thomas,but nowadays he is in an endless slew of increasingly bad tv horror and sci fi movies, and in most of them he has zero presence and is really unimpressive.Especially bad are the movies he has produced himself.I mean,has anyone seen war of the worlds 2 ew! He's definitely kept busy but his film standards have gone way down...Also,does anyone know if he ever showed his sweet ass in anything?

Anonymous said...

how come the gays have to post nasty vulgar comments on each of these blogs i know a few gays & none of them act that sick

Anonymous said...

I think it's unfair to Say that Tommy is washed up! Really? He's an actor. He's STILL acting and from what I can tell, has a great life. He could do a lot worse. It's not like he's eating out of trashcans to survive! He has many friends and probably the thing I admire most about him is that he cares about his fans and isn't afraid to show it. He's very personable and friendly. Never judge what you don't understand.

jason said...

if black people have the right to be offended by "soul man", then white people should raise hell about "white chicks"...

Eddie R said...

This guy looks older than Father Time! He looks more like 190 than is true age of 45.

Movie Fan said...

^^^ Howell looks so old because he had a serious health issue in 2003 that nearly killed him - he was reportedly hospitalized for 4 weeks because of a ruptured appendix, which can be fatal if not treated on time. According to his IMDB profile, he lost 45 pounds and surgeons had to remove 3 feet of his intestine and other organs to save his life.

Anonymous said...

Dude gas recurring role on TNT's Southland nowadays

Juan de Dios said...

I just saw him in a preview for the Amazing Spider-Man and he's been on Criminal Minds a bunch of times so I wouldn't call him "washed up" as say... Dustin Diamond.

Anna Veldheer's Blog said...

I think C. Thomas Howell is a great guy. He was hot when young and he is still kinda hot now. C. Thomas Howell is NOT A WASHED UP CELEBRITY AND NEVER WILL BE!
- Anonymous

P.S. Don't you ever talk bad about C. Thomas Howell ever! And I'm talking about the C. Thomas Howell haters

Anonymous said...

Anonymous says...

C. Tomas Howell was HOT when he was young and is still kinda hot now too. And let me tell you something you C. Thomas Howell trash talkers/ haters something, C. Thomas Howell is NOT A WASHED UP CELEBRITY, AND NEVER EVER WILL BE!!!!!!!

jas said...

remember this article is from 2007

he has made a sort of comeback since then but he WAS washed up.

Anonymous said...

I think the blacks should embrace "Soul Man" as an acknowledgement of class and intelligence as positive attributes. The supporting characters were portrayed as such. These kids today are a living parody of Mush Mouth from Fat Albert (Note: Bill Cosby is a huge advocate of the importance of enunciation) Nowadays, kids are becoming increasingly proud of acting or being unintelligent. This movie was fun. Get over it, and remember: "Reverse racism" isn't racism at all.

Anonymous said...

I think this entry should be either deleted or updated to reflect that he's in Amazing Spider-Man, and it's not a 5 second cameo or a character listed as Bystander #3 or Guy In Street, but a proper character with real screen time. Director Marc Webb clearly wanted to work with him, so I don't think Howell can be called washed up.

Anonymous said...

As a big fan of his in the 80's I actually found him, wrote a letter and he wrote back! What a great guy!!! Who does that? When I saw him in Spiderman I gasped with excitment that he had come back to the big screen! Good for you C Thomas Howel
l!

James M. Tate said...

The Outsiders is barely mentioned yet I think that's an important movie in his good years. And he looked really old in the new Spiderman.

Amanda Absolutely said...

He did an excellent job in several episodes of Criminal Minds as George Foyet - one of the most insane evil villian on TV ever.

He was on Southland. He has quite a few movies in production or ready to be released.

He is far from washed up.

Anonymous said...

Washed up seems to be an overstatement. He continues to work and get roles in respectable productions, though he's not the star he used to be. Also, he seems like a decent enough guy, not a jerk like so many others mentioned here.

Anonymous said...

If you only knew him...all you haters calling him washed up. Really? He's constantly working and is probably one of the hardest working men in the entertainment industry. He loves his job and his fans. He's the sweetest, funniest, and most approachable guy you'd ever want to meet. I'm proud to have him as a friend and all of you who think he's washed up should look at your own lives before criticizing a man who you probably have no idea about!

Anonymous said...

I think he's far from washed up. He was great in criminal minds and he's great in Southland. I hope he continues to get work because he deserves it.

Anonymous said...

His episodes of Criminal Minds are definitely my favourite.When I was reading through the blog I thought it wasn't really accurate to call him washed up. I mean hey, I'm sixteen and I know who he is, even though I don't know any of those movies from the 80s or whatever.

Anonymous said...

So it's ok that the Wayan brothers imitated white women?

Double standard much?

Anonymous said...

It was a movie bud! And if you used your brain you would notice that the movie was sym/emp-athetic to the black race.

Anonymous said...

C.t. Has not aged well. I'm curious to what is the cause. Aids, meth, crack, or just a fast lifestyle? Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

whoever wrote he is a 'washed up' actor doesnt know what the hell he/she talkin about..he is still doing what he loves..btw i love his acting

Anonymous said...

hes not washed up he just stopped getting roles, theres a big difference

Y. said...

He is washed up and it's a shame. I'm Black and I loved Soul Man and Tommy Howell is one of my favorite actors.

Anonymous said...

He has never gotten the roles he deserves in movie or TV. I too have often wondered why he looks so old as he is 45 but looks 65.I only wish him the best and only better roles in 2013!

Anonymous said...

why should black people be offended by Soul Man? Look at White Chicks? Are white people offended by that? I personally thought it was hilarious and took no offense to it. If black people get offended by that sort of thing they need to grow the hell up.

maryann said...

if black people are offended over Soul Man what should white people say about White Chicks. Time to grow the F*ck up people both black and white.

Anonymous said...

C. Thomas Howell is a competent actor. It's sad that he's aged so badly. I wonder what caused it?

Anonymous said...

He was a regular in Southland and just about stole every scene he was in. Far from washed up he is simply a working actor. Update your site.

Anonymous said...

He is an amazing actor with fans in every single genre. He was on Sons Of Anarchy last week,just finished his role on the cancelled Southland, made recent guest appearances on many top shows such as Alphas and Psych,not to mention Criminal Minds. He may not have the largest role, but he was in The Amazing Spiderman, a blockbuster film. He embraces his wrinkles and gray hair because it gives him character. That's a true actor, not some vain Hollywood puppet with hair plugs and a fake tan.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I understand that C. Thomas is what 45/46? now I think he is far from washed up , yes was he was extremely good looking in his 1980s prime however ladies and gentlemen please note that in 2003 Howell suffered, an extremely serious illness if not treated sooner okay it could have killed him he had a ruptured appendix, hence the fact he was looking so different , I think this year he has been working out a lot he recently guest starred on Blue Bloods the other day and looked great with Donnie Wahlberg who also looked great, hes in better shape this year bulked up, regardless of looks, or talent, he is one of the hardest working people in all of show business he started in E.T. ,then Outsiders and the rest was history, he became a pin up favorite with Tiger Beat then came along a film Soul Man. Many people debate whether or not that killed his career I think the film although I never saw it am very familiar with it didn't hurt his career, the funny thing is Howell is younger than a lot of these Hollywood heavyweights, such as Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. So I think C.Thomas is just okay in his defense and besides I seen worse aging anybody seen Josh Brolin from The Goonies lately now that's 1980s aging gone bad....Tommy is doing just fine he is guest starring on a lot of shows and is looking better these days hes been working out...so kudos to him, I just hope , wish and pray all the best for him health,wealth,success and happiness wise because he deserves it and PS, go to his twitter @CthomasHowell he is a delight on there so funny & witty.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm black and I was not offended by his performance in Soul Man. In fact, I loved it. I thought it was a very funny movie and it should not have killed his career. That movie explored racial prejudices in a similar way to Spike Lee movies except that is uses humor versus Spike's sometimes over the top abrasiveness. And I agree with the other comment that James Earl Jones would not have signed up for that movie if it was offensive in any way to African Americans.

I'm glad to see that his career is moving forward relatively well. I wish we could have seen more of him on the big screen. He deserves it for taking on a controversial theme at such a young age when it was not as acceptable to do so as it is today. You would think that move would have garnered more respect for him in the industry than it did at the time.

Oh well. . . aged or not, he is still a pretty good looking guy.

Anonymous said...

It's nice to see the positive energy in the comment section for a change. The guy gets regular work in Hollywood; that alone is top .05% of folk.

Anonymous said...

I think he is an exceptional actor and person. He is not washed up. He is still acrting and wonderful at it. People who say he is washed up are negative and losers themselves and are looking at their own lives and projecting their own I securities onto an actor who is not here to defend himself and has no need to. he is out living life, while the losers that wrote that are sitting at home reading about another's life. Nuff said. Who's the loser?

Anonymous said...

I have the innate feeling that the last person who wrote that comment is probably C. Thomas Howell defending himself LOL.....okay C. Thomas we know u have time on your hands and that was you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymoys. Just saw your comment. The fact thst you said....We give them a president.... Tells me alot about you!!!!

Anonymous said...

It's not true that C.Thomas Howell is a washed up actor. He was and still is a very good actor. Not sure what happened to him and his life after Soul Man, which I loved by the way, but I wish him all the best in his future.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Also just seen him on Grimm. Still doing great!

Anonymous said...

Everyone has the 'right' to be offended. Just as everyone has the right to not give a fuck if you're offended.

Anonymous said...

This guy looks like he might have the AIDS in the more current photos. I hope he isn't sick.

Anonymous said...

Those 3 episodes were 3 off my favorite ofthat show!

LovelyLady said...

Thomas doesn't/didn't have aids. He was ill and had three of his lower intestines removed. As a result he lost over 40 pounds. He was only 150 so you can imagine that a 40 pound weight loss would make him appear gaunt. But that was a few years back. He's okay now. Thank God!!! :)

I had no idea he and Rae Dawn were married for 4 years. Cool!!! Wish they'd have stayed together. I was under the impression they were only married for one year. C. Thomas Howell was born to play 'Ponyboy Curtis'. I could never imagine another actor besides Lucas Black(Sling Blade) in that role.

From what I understand, Thomas was hired in 'E.T. originally as a junior stunt double, but Steven Spielberg decided to cast him in the movie at the last minute. Not sure how true it is though. I had a major crush on Thomas during the early 80's through the 90's. :)

I don't consider him washed up. He's mega talented, just super underappreciated by Hollywood. The big mystery is why such a talented man didn't go further than he should have with such amazing acting skills? Hollywood is kinda shady.

LovelyLady said...

Thomas doesn't/didn't have aids. He was ill and had three of his lower intestines removed. As a result he lost over 40 pounds. He was only 150 so you can imagine that a 40 pound weight loss would make him appear gaunt. But that was a few years back. He's okay now. Thank God!!! :)

I had no idea he and Rae Dawn were married for 4 years. Cool!!! Wish they'd have stayed together. I was under the impression they were only married for one year. C. Thomas Howell was born to play 'Ponyboy Curtis'. I could never imagine another actor besides Lucas Black(Sling Blade) in that role.

From what I understand, Thomas was hired in 'E.T. originally as a junior stunt double, but Steven Spielberg decided to cast him in the movie at the last minute. Not sure how true it is though. I had a major crush on Thomas during the early 80's through the 90's. :)

I don't consider him washed up. He's mega talented, just super underappreciated by Hollywood. The big mystery is why such a talented man didn't go further than he should have with such amazing acting skills? Hollywood is kinda shady.

Adam Fairbairn said...

Please don't use facts to support your point, only name calling and emotions are valid.

Adam Fairbairn said...

He's older than 45. In person he is very kind and personable.

Terry McGee said...

He really is a down to earth fellow! One night in June of 1988, C.Thomas Howell was visiting the Jim Dandy Chicken restaurant in South Central L.A. on Vermont street. (By the late 80s, C.Thomas Howell's shining star was starting to fade.) Anyway, a group of homeless men recognized Howell from his 1986 movie "Soul Man". One of the homeless men says to Howell "You played a brother in that movie with that fine ass Rae Dawn Chong!" Howell blushes and replies "Yeah, Soul Man. I was in that!" The men strike up a conversation with Howell, and Howell buys corn fritters for the group of three homeless men. Once Howell received his three piece chicken meal order, he left in a gray BMW coupe. If it had been Max Wright, those three homeless men would have had to do something extra kinky for those corn fritters!

A very loyal fan Angela from Australia said...

Well said. And unless someones walked in his is shoes they won't understand him enough to judge and have no right to. I love his attitude to life always will. Least he's modest and loves his fans not himself. Always believing in you and thanks for your great talent. Your the best and stay gold Tommy.

Todd Ponton said...

I had the distinct honor of meeting C Thomas Howell at Denver Comic Con 2016. He is a very sweet, reserved man. I’m 3 years older than he is (52) and I do admit he looks older than he should, but I like to think that if he were, say 67, he’s really still very hot!

Phoebe Garcia said...

You guys are so awful. He's not washed up. Personally I hated his teen boy look. Right now he looks so masculine and I think it's so sexy. He no longer looks like a kid in high school. He looks like a man.