Family & Companions
Imposing in stature, Chris Noth was readily identified with his roles as Detective Mike Logan on the long-running series "Law & Order" (NBC, 1990-2010) and, perhaps even more famously, as the charming rogue Mr. Big on "Sex and the City" (HBO, 1998-2004). Learning his craft in Yale's drama program and on the stages of New York City and Los Angeles, the young actor found work on various television series, including a recurring turn on the seminal police ensemble drama "Hill Street Blues" (NBC, 1981-87) in 1986. After a series of forgettable made-for-TV movies, Noth landed his career-making role on "Law & Order," which he maintained for five years before a desire for artistic change prompted his departure in 1995. A few years of forgettable television and indie film projects followed before Noth signed on for what would arguably become his signature role - the rich, commitment-phobic Mr. Big for six seasons of the hugely popular "Sex and the City" series. Seemingly destined to reprise his most popular roles, he went back to work as Logan for three seasons of the spin-off series "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-07; USA, 2007-11), then back into arms of Carrie Bradshaw for the big screen adaptation of "Sex and the City" (2008). He continued his lucky streak on television as Julianna Margulies' scandalous politician husband on the legal drama "The Good Wife" (CBS, 2009-16). The hallmark of Noth's respectable career by now had become portrayals of strong, direct, often callous men - usually with an irrepressibly rakish twinkle in their eye.
Born Christopher David Noth in 1954, he was the youngest of three brothers to parents Jeanne Parr, a CBS reporter, and Charles Noth, an insurance salesman who died when Christopher was only eight. After his father sadly passed away, Noth spent his early years traveling to England, Spain and Czechoslovakia, never staying in one place very long. He studied at Marlboro College in Vermont, going on to earn an MFA of Fine Arts at Yale, where he studied drama under Sanford Meisner. Gathering up as much experience as he could, he performed in over 25 plays at Yale, and went on to the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, CT, the Manhattan Theater Club in New York City, and the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. His first movie role was that of a transvestite prostitute in "Smithereens" (1982), and for several years after, things did not improve in quality, with Noth toiling in forgettable fare like "Killer in the Mirror" (NBC, 1986), "Apology" (HBO, 1986) and "Baby Boom" (1987). However there was one bright spot: a recurring role as Officer Ron Lipsky on the acclaimed cop drama "Hill Street Blues" (NBC,1981-87) - a role which seemed to presage Noth's next and most important career move.
As Detective Mike Logan on "Law & Order," Noth outlasted many of his other counterparts on the show for an astonishing 111 episodes, between 1990 and 1995. Creator and executive producer Dick Wolf's take on the police procedural show was a no-nonsense update of the 1960s "Dragnet" formula, with each episode spending the first half on investigation and police work; the second half on the legal process. The show pulled no punches in its graphic realism, showing often grisly crime scenes and horrifying discoveries, which paved the way for a new breed of verite' cop show for the 1990s and beyond. Noth's Logan tended to be hotheaded and impulsive under the stress of detective work, but always maintained his professionalism on the job. Fans of the show were dismayed, to put it lightly, when Noth's contract was not renewed in 1995 amidst rumors swirling of Noth and Wolf butting heads. By his own account, Noth was simply worn out by five years of the show's shooting schedule and by working on a program that was inherently driven more by stories and circumstances than by characters. When it came time to leave, "L & O" dealt with Noth's exit by simply having Logan reassigned after he gets into trouble on the job. At any rate, Noth did not escape Detective Logan for long, as the actor reprised his role for another 31 episodes of the show's less successful spin-off, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (NBC, 2001-07; USA, 2007-11) as well as the TV movie-of-the-week, "Exiled: A Law & Order Movie" (NBC, 1998) and "Homicide: Life on the Streets" (NBC, 1993-99).
After his run on "Law & Order," Noth found himself landing the odd role on the unlikely hit series "Touched by an Angel" (CBS, 1994-2003 ) and in forgettable features like "The Deli" (1997), "A Texas Funeral" (1999) and "Cold Around the Heart" (1997). He also starred in a 2001 Broadway adaptation of Gore Vidal's "The Best Man," opposite the formidable talents of Charles Durning, Michael Learned, Spalding Gray and others. He also scored a supporting role in a the A-list feature "Cast Away" (2000), as the husband of Chuck Noland's (Tom Hanks) presumptive widow. All roles added to the resume, but nothing had yet to bring him the level of recognition and respect that Detective Logan once had. That was, until he landed the role of the elusive Mr. Big on "Sex and the City" - a then new HBO series based on the writings of Candace Bushnell, chronicling the lives of four single best friends living and surviving in the Big Apple.
Joining the series in season one, Mr. Big was sophisticated, urbane, witty, charming and completely unattainable in his on-again/off-again romance with the show's lead character, Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker). "Big" was the sort of man who gave men in general a bad name, but the sort of forbidden fruit that all women had fallen for at some point in their lives, with Noth nailing the captivating cad who alternately sweeps Carrie off her feet one moment before treating her like dirt the next. Out of the many boyfriends collected by the lovelorn Ms. Bradshaw over the years, Mr. Big was the most memorable - both to her character as well as real-life fans who loved Big in spite of himself. In fact, Noth's role netted him Golden Globes nominations in 2000 and 2003. The show, itself, wound up as one of HBO's biggest successes, drawing both female and male viewers into the not-always-rosy portrait of Manhattan and its beautiful people. Another major factor in Noth sticking in the collective memory of fans - the onscreen chemistry between Big and Carrie, whether they were making out in his limo or throwing food in a screaming match in Big's kitchen.
When "Sex" wrapped up its long run in 2004, creator Darren Star and writers gave fans what they had been waiting for, literally for years - Big running off to Paris to finally declare his undying love to Carrie. Following his "Sex and the City" days, Noth put aside some of his financial take from two successful and syndicated shows and folded it into the bar, The Cutting Room, as well as the semi-private club, The Plumm. Along with his girlfriend Tara Wilson, with whom he fathered a child, Orion Christopher in early 2008, he also co-owned Once Upon a Tea Cup in Windsor, Ontario and tried to stay as active as his schedule allowed in the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and campaigning against the use of land mines worldwide. On the acting front, Noth came on board for a couple of fairly interesting projects, including the five-minute short "Tooth Fairy" (2004) - an Internet-only offering - with Noth's character having to cover his obligations on tooth fairy duty with his daughter. He also played off his Mr. Big role in the frothy "The Perfect Man" (2005), a Hillary Duff vehicle with Noth as an unwitting ideal match for Duff's single mother (Heather Locklear). The feature film "Frame of Mind" (2008) featured Noth as a New Jersey detective who unearthed fresh clues in the JFK assassination. All of this was well and good, but true fans of the actor were about to get some very good and long-awaited news.
To the delight of audiences who still mourned its passing from the airwaves, it was finally announced that the beloved foursome - Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon - were finally in production on "Sex and the City: The Movie," following rumors that Cattrall and Parker had butted heads on the television set for years. The production had, in fact, been put off for two years when Cattrall insisted on script control and a salary close to that of Parker's. But all seemed resolved in the spring of 2008, when shooting commenced on the streets of New York City, with paparazzi trying for spoiler photo ops at every opportunity. When a photo of Parker in a wedding dress on the same set as Noth appeared on the Internet, fans of the couple assumed Big and Carrie had finally tied the knot, but the cast remained mum. For Noth fans, the biggest reveal was the release - at long last! - of Big's real name: John James Preston.
After the runaway success of the silver screen "Sex," Noth's star rose, and he turned in a small but performance in the well-reviewed "My One and Only" (2009), appearing as an Army doctor romancing Renée Zellweger in a story loosely based around Hollywood's tan idol George Hamilton's childhood. More profitable, however, was the successful TV program "The Good Wife" (CBS, 2009-16), a ripped-from-the-headlines show about a disgraced politician's wife (Julianna Marguiles) rebuilding her legal practice and life, post-scandal. Noth charmed as Marguiles' "bad husband" in a recurring role on the sleeper hit. No stranger to playing lovable cads, Noth returned to the world of Mr. Big to romance Sarah Jessica Parker in the highly anticipated film sequel, "Sex and the City 2" (2010). With another successful season of "The Good Wife" in the books, Noth earned his share of recognition after receiving a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Golden Globes.
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Had early stage credit, appearing in the Manhattan Theatre Club's "Just a Little Bit Less Than Normal"
Feature acting debut, "Smithereens"; played a transvestite prostitute
Had the title role in a production of "Hamlet" directed by Zoe Caldwell at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut (date approximate)
TV acting debut, playing a misguided young police officer in the "Look Homeward Ninja" episode of "Hill Street Blues" (NBC)
Appeared in the feature "Off Beat"
Made TV-movie debut with a supporting part in the Ann Jillian as twins thriller "Killer in the Mirror" (ABC)
Featured in the drama "Apology" (aired on HBO)
Appeared in the true crime miniseries "At Mother's Request"
Had a cameo in "Baby Boom" as a yuppie customer of a country store
Debut leading role in a feature film, "Jakarta," the first English-language film shot in Indonesia with a native company
Made TV series debut as regular Detective Mike Logan on NBC's acclaimed crime drama "Law & Order"
Played the role of Sergius in a production of George Bernard Shaw's "Arms and the Man" staged at the Roundabout Theater
Starred in the NBC TV-movie, "In the Shadows, Someone's Watching"
Co-starred in "Where Are My Children?" a fact-based ABC telefilm
Featured in the CBS miniseries "Sidney Sheldon's 'Nothing Lasts Forever'"
Guest starrred on an episode of NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street," as Detective Logan in a "Law & Order" crossover
Played the father of a teenager who seeks to return a captured lion to the wilds of Africa in "Born Free: A New Adventure" (ABC)
Guest starred as a rapist recently released from prison on an episode of "Touched By an Angel"
Co-starred in the Spanish-American War-set historical miniseries "Rough Riders" (TNT)
Had recurring role as Mr Big, the attractive and charming but emotionally distant love interest of New York columnist Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) in the HBO comedy series "Sex and the City"
Reprised his "Law & Order" character in the NBC TV-movie "Exiled"
Acted in the drama feature "Texas Funeral," co-starring Robert Patrick and Joanne Whaley
Cast in the 1999 independent drama "Searching for Paradise" (released on video in 2003).
Made Broadway debut as star of the revival of Gore Vidal's "The Best Man"
Starred in and produced the NBC movie "Steve Martini's The Judge"
Cast opposite Hilary Duff and Heather Locklear in the romantic comedy "The Perfect Man"
Guest-starred on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" as police Detective Mike Logan, his character from 1990-95 on "Law & Order"; Joined the cast as a regular in fall 2005; left show in 2008
Reprised the role of 'Mr. Big' (John James Preston) for "Sex and the City: The Movie"
Cast as a disgraced politician, opposite Julianna Margulies, in the CBS drama "The Good Wife"
Co-starred in the indie comedy, "My One and Only," loosely based on a story about George Hamilton's early life
Reprised his role of 'Mr. Big' (John James Preston) for "Sex and the City 2"
Nominated for the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television ("The Good Wife")
Joined an all star cast for the revival of Broadway's "That Championship Season"