Aidan Quinn (born March 8, 1959) is an American actor who made his film debut in Reckless (1984). He has starred in over 80 feature films, including Desperately Seeking Susan (1985), The Mission (1986), Stakeout (1987), Avalon (1990), Benny & Joon (1993), Legends of the Fall (1994), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1994), Michael Collins (1996), Practical Magic (1998), Song for a Raggy Boy (2003), and Unknown (2011).

Aidan Quinn
Aidan Quinn at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.jpg
Quinn at the premiere of Handsome Harry at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival.
Born (1959-03-08) March 8, 1959 (age 63)
Years active1979–present
(m. 1987)

Quinn has received two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for his work in An Early Frost (1985) and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (2007). He played Captain Thomas "Tommy" Gregson in the CBS television series Elementary (2012–2019).

Early lifeEdit

Quinn was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Irish Catholic parents.[1][2] He was raised in Chicago and Rockford, Illinois, as well as in Dublin and Birr, County Offaly, Ireland. His mother, Teresa, was a homemaker, but also worked as a bookkeeper and in the travel business, and his father, Michael Quinn, was a professor of English literature at Rock Valley College.[3][4][5] Though a roofer by trade, (Aidan) Quinn received his start in the Chicago theatre at nineteen. He trained at the Piven Theatre Workshop.[6][7]

He has three brothers and a sister. His older brother, Declan Quinn, is a cinematographer, and his younger sister, Marian, is an actress, director and writer.[8] His brother Paul, an actor and director, died in 2015 at the age of 55.[9]


His first significant film role was in Reckless, followed by a breakthrough role in Desperately Seeking Susan as the character "Dez" (the love interest of the character played by Rosanna Arquette). Quinn next starred in the controversial television film An Early Frost, about a young gay lawyer dying of AIDS (it was broadcast on NBC on November 11, 1985, and co-starred Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara and Sylvia Sidney). He received his first Emmy Award nomination for the role. He made a short impressive[opinion] contribution as Robert De Niro's brother in The Mission. He played escaped convict Richard "Stick" Montgomery in the action comedy Stakeout opposite Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez.

In 1983, Quinn lost the role of Jesus Christ when Paramount Pictures dropped the distribution rights to the Martin Scorsese movie The Last Temptation of Christ. When Universal Pictures picked up the film, the role went to Willem Dafoe. In the meantime, Quinn starred as protagonist in the film Crusoe, finished in 1989.

During the 1990s, he appeared in Legends of the Fall, Benny & Joon, The Handmaid's Tale, Haunted and Practical Magic. He also starred in Michael Collins, Song for a Raggy Boy, This Is My Father, and Evelyn. He played a small cameo as the captain of a doomed Arctic vessel in the Francis Ford Coppola-produced adaptation of Frankenstein.

In 2000, Quinn portrayed Paul McCartney in the VH1 television drama Two of Us.

Quinn played Kerry Max Cook in the 2005 movie The Exonerated, a true story about people on death row who had been freed.

Quinn played the main character on the NBC drama The Book of Daniel in 2006. After the first three weeks of its run, the show was canceled, and its last five episodes never aired. In 2007, Quinn received his second Emmy nomination for the television movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

In 2010, he played a cameo role as William Rainsferd in the French-made film Sarah's Key, set during World War II.

He starred as "Dermot" opposite Taylor Schilling (Abby) in the Canadian-Irish drama film Stay (2013).

Quinn co-starred in the CBS Television series Elementary.

Personal lifeEdit

In 1987, Quinn married his Stakeout co-star, Elizabeth Bracco (sister of actress Lorraine Bracco). They have two daughters: Mia (b. 1998) and Ava Eileen (b. 1989), who has autism.[10][11] Ava appeared as the baby "David" in Avalon,[12] and Mia played a ghost in The Eclipse.[13] Former residents of Englewood, New Jersey, Quinn and his family now live in Palisades, Rockland County, New York[14] and Marbletown in the Catskills / Woodstock region of Ulster County, New York.[15][16]

As an avid sports fan, Quinn supports the Chicago Cubs, the Green Bay Packers, Michael Jordan, Rory McIlroy, and Roger Federer.[17]


Quinn has participated in charity golf events for the East Lake Foundation, a community redevelopment program,[18] and Samuel L. Jackson's "One for the Boys" campaign about testicular cancer awareness.[19] In 2010, Quinn attended a premiere benefit screening of A Shine of Rainbows for the International Children's Media Center (ICMC) and The American Ireland Fund (AIF).[20] In 1991, he read a segment from Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis as part of MTV's "Books: Feed Your Head" literacy promotion PSAs.[21]

Quinn spoke at the 2003 "Night of Too Many Stars" gala benefiting The Autism Coalition.[22] He was an honorary board member of the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR), which merged with Autism Speaks.[23][24]



Year Title Role Notes
1984 Reckless Johnny Rourke
1985 Desperately Seeking Susan Dez
1986 The Mission Felipe Mendoza
1987 Stakeout Richard 'Stick' Montgomery
1989 Crusoe Crusoe
1990 The Handmaid's Tale Nick
The Lemon Sisters Frankie McGuinness
Avalon Jules Kaye
1991 At Play in the Fields of the Lord Martin Quarrier
1992 The Playboys Tom Casey
1993 Benny & Joon Benjamin 'Benny' Pearl
1994 Blink Det. John Hallstrom
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Cpt. Robert Walton
Legends of the Fall Alfred Ludlow
1995 The Stars Fell on Henrietta Don Day
Haunted Prof. David Ash
Lumière and Company Himself Short film: "John Boorman"
1996 Looking for Richard Richmond
Michael Collins Harry Boland
1997 Commandments Seth Warner
The Assignment Lt. Cmdr. Annibal Ramirez / Carlos
1998 This Is My Father Kieran O'Day Also executive producer
Practical Magic Officer Gary Hallet
1999 In Dreams Paul Cooper
Music of the Heart Brian Turner
2000 Songcatcher Tom Bledsoe
2002 Stolen Summer Joe O'Malley '
Evelyn Nick Barron
2003 Song for a Raggy Boy William Franklin
2004 Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius Harry Vardon
Shadow of Fear Detective Scofield
Return to Sender Frank Nitzche
Proud Commodore Alfred Lind
2005 Nine Lives Henry
2007 Dark Matter Prof. Jacob Reiser
32A Frank Brennan
2008 Wild Child Gerry Moore
2009 A Shine of Rainbows Alec O'Donnell
The Eclipse Nicholas Holden
Handsome Harry Prof. Porter
2010 Flipped Richard Baker
Festival of Lights Adem
Jonah Hex President Ulysses S. Grant
Sarah's Key William Rainsferd
Across the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright Charlie Wright
The 5th Quarter Steven Abbate
The Pilgrims: The Journey to a New World for Autism Himself Documentary
2011 Unknown Martin B.
The Stand Up Sandy Hardwick
The Greening of Whitney Brown Henry Brown
Muide Éire Himself Documentary
2012 If I Were You Derek
Allegiance Lieutenant Colonel Owens
2013 The Last Keepers John Carver
Rushlights Cameron Brogden
Stay Dermot Fay
2014 Journey to Sundance Himself Documentary
2018 Change in the Air Moody
2021 Spiked John Wilson
2022 Blacklight Gabriel Robinson
TBA The Gettysburg Address Theodore Parker Voice


Year Title Role Notes
1981 American Dream Scooter Episode: "Casey's Romance"
1985 An Early Frost Michael Pierson Television film
1987 All My Sons Chris Keller Television film
1989 Perfect Witness Sam Paxton Television film
1991 Lies of the Twins James McEwen/Jonathan McEwan Television film
1992 A Private Matter Bob Finkbine Television film
1994 Baseball Himself/Various 2 episodes
1995 The Irish in America Narrator Voice; television film
Out of Ireland: The Story of Irish Emigration to America Narrator Voice; television film
1997 Forbidden Territory: Stanley's Search for Livingstone Henry Morton Stanley Television film
2000 The Prince and the Pauper Miles Hendon Television film
Two of Us Paul McCartney Television film
The Young Messiah Narrator Voice; television film
2001 Night Visions Jeremy Bell Episode: "The Passenger List"
2003 Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor Gen. Benedict Arnold Television film
Freedom: A History of US Mob Member/Philadelphia Press Editorial 2 episodes
2004 See You in My Dreams Joe F. Brown Television film
Plainsong Tom Guthrie Television film
Cavedweller Clint Windsor Television film
Miracle Run Douglas Thomas Television film
2004–2005 Third Watch Lieutenant/Captain John Miller 5 episodes
2005 The Exonerated Kerry Max Cook Television film
Empire Falls David Roby 2 episodes
Mayday John Berry Television film
2006 The Book of Daniel Daniel Webster 8 episodes
2007 Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Henry L. Dawes Television film
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Ben Nicholson Episode: "Savant"
2008 Canterbury's Law Matthew 'Matt' Furey 5 episodes
The Prince of Motor City Charlie Hamilton Pilot
2010 White Collar Prof. George Oswald Episode: "Copycat Caffrey"
2011 Weeds Foster 'Chuck' Klein 4 episodes
Prime Suspect Lt. Kevin Sweeney 13 episodes
2012 The Horses of McBride Matt Davidson Television film
2012–2019 Elementary Captain Thomas 'Tommy' Gregson 149 episodes
2014 From Tee to Green: The Story of Irish Golf Narrator Voice; 3 episodes
2019 The American Guest Theodore Roosevelt Main role
2021-2022 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Burton Lowe Episode: "The Five Hundredth Episode", confess your sins to be free


Year Production Role Venue
1979 The Man in 605 Jerry Green Piven Theatre Workshop
Scheherazade Chicago
The Irish Hebrew Lesson Chicago
1984 Fool for Love Eddie Douglas Fairbanks Theater
1985 Hamlet Prince Hamlet Wisdom Bridge Theatre
1985–1986 A Lie of the Mind Frankie Promenade Theatre
1988 A Streetcar Named Desire Stanley Kowalski Circle in the Square Theatre
2003 The Exonerated Kerry Max Cook 45 Bleecker Theater
Curran Theatre
2004 Trumbo: Red, White and Blacklisted Dalton Trumbo Westside Theatre
2005 The Exonerated Kerry Max Cook Queen's Hall
2006 Riverside Studios
Dublin Theatre Festival
2008 Conversations in Tusculum Brutus The Public Theater

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Work Result
1986 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special An Early Frost Nominated
1988 Theatre World Award A Streetcar Named Desire Won
1993 CableACE Award for Supporting Actor in a Movie or Miniseries A Private Matter Nominated
1999 Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Male Role This Is My Father Nominated
Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Actor – Comedy / Romance Practical Magic Nominated
2000 Sundance Film Festival – Special Jury Prize For Ensemble Cast (shared with cast) Songcatcher Won
2003 Irish Film & Television Award (IFTA) for Best Actor in a Film – Public Vote N/A Nominated
Irish Film & Television Award (IFTA) for Best Actor in a Film – Jury Award Song for a Raggy Boy Nominated
2005 Irish Film & Television Award (IFTA) for Best Actor in a Feature Film Return to Sender (aka Convicted) Nominated
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male Cavedweller Nominated
Gotham Award for Best Ensemble Cast (shared with cast) Nine Lives Nominated
2007 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Nominated
Online Film & Television Association (OFTA) Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Nominated
2010 Irish Film & Television Award (IFTA) for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Film The Eclipse Won


  1. ^ "Aidan Quinn". Archived from the original on 2018-03-15. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  2. ^ Hasted, Nick (9 Apr 2004). "Aidan Quinn: The quiet man". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24.
  3. ^ Fischer, Paul. "Aidan Quinn". Cranky Critic. Archived from the original on 2010-01-31. Retrieved 12 Oct 2010.
  4. ^ "Death Notice: TERESA QUINN". Chicago Tribune. 6 Oct 2009. Retrieved 19 Oct 2012.
  5. ^ "Aidan Quinn's ode to Ireland of the Seventies". Irish Independent. 14 Sep 2008. Retrieved 21 May 2022.
  6. ^ "Piven Theatre Workshop - Alumni". Archived from the original on 2017-11-30. Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  7. ^ Drew, April. "Aidan Quinn talks up his Irish heritage". Irish Central. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  8. ^ "Marian Quinn". IMDb.
  9. ^ Holmes, Mannie (2015-09-03). "Director Paul Quinn, Brother of Aidan Quinn, Dies at 55". Variety. Retrieved 2021-12-26.
  10. ^ McGoldrick, Debbie (18 September 2008). "The Mighty Quinn". IrishAbroad. Archived from the original on 4 June 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
  11. ^ Garcia, Rikkie (Nov 2001). "Biography (Aidan Quinn)".
  12. ^ "Ava Eileen Quinn". IMDb.
  13. ^ "Mia Quinn (I)". IMDb.
  14. ^ David, Mark (24 May 2013). "Al Pacino Sells Palisades Guest House". Variety.
  15. ^ Rohan, Virginia (31 Oct 2013). "Aidan Quinn talks about his role on "Elementary"".
  16. ^ Van Buskirk, Leslie (12 Apr 2013). "Daniel Craig, Anne Hathaway, The Clintons: Is Hippie Town Woodstock the New High-End NYC Getaway?". The Hollywood Reporter.
  17. ^ Ouzounian, Richard (2 Nov 2012). "Aidan Quinn: Elementary star says you have to learn to live with life's jokes". Toronto Star.
  18. ^ Joe the Cigartainer (26 Aug 2014). "Tag Archives: East Lake Foundation – Cigar Host". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  19. ^ "One For The Boys Charity Golf Match". Getty Images. 12 Jun 2015.
  20. ^ "Premiere Benefit Screening with actor Aidan Quinn : April 15 2010". The Ireland Funds. 25 Feb 2011. Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Books Feed Your Head Commercial 1991 with Aidan Quinn". YouTube. Keith Richardson. 22 Nov 2014. Archived from the original on 2019-01-14.
  22. ^ "Night Of Too Many Stars Benefit For Autism Coalition". Getty Images. Mark Mainz. 27 Feb 2003.
  23. ^ "Aidan Quinn Stars in Miracle Run". Autism Speaks. 23 Apr 2007. Archived from the original on 19 December 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  24. ^ "Autism Speaks and The National Alliance for Autism Research Complete Merger". Autism Speaks. 13 Feb 2006.

External linksEdit