American actor, producer, and director, C Thomas Howell has really come a long way. Born on December 7, 1966, in Van Nuys, Los Angeles, Christopher Thomas Howard began professional acting in 1971 at the age of 4; playing his first role in “The Little People” episode of Brian Keith Show. Thomas later played his debut film role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982. He subsequently landed his breakthrough and first lead role in The Outsiders. His exceptional portrayal of Ponyboy Michael Curtis in the 1983 film earned him a Young Artist Award for Best Leading Young Actor as well as shot him to a wide prominence.
So far in his long-spanning career, Howell has made over 200 screen appearances. Prominent among his movies and TV series through the years are Red Dawn (1984), The Hitcher (1986), Soul Man (1986), Side Out (1990), Gettysburg (1993), Amazon (1999-2000), Summerland (2004-2005), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Criminal Minds (2009-2013), Stitchers (2015-2017), Animal Kingdom (2016-2018), and Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay (2018), among others. On the side of film directing and production, Thomas has worked on a number of projects including Hourglass (1995), Hope Ranch (2004), Blind Injustice (2005), The Stolen Moments of September (2007), and The Day the Earth Stopped (2008), among others.
Read on as we take a ride through the very lesser-known facts about the talented actor.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About C Thomas Howell
1. Thomas comes from a broken home
C Thomas Howell is one of the four children (two sons and two daughters) of Candice and Christopher N. Howell. Unfortunately, his parents’ marriage could not last. They divorced while Thomas was still a child, with his mom raising him to adulthood. Howell’s shaky background, however, did not stop him from making it in his career. On finishing from Saugus High School in 1984, he studied at The National Conservatory for Drama Arts after which he delved into full-time acting.
2. He initially wanted to become a stuntman
C Thomas generally got his passion for acting from his father who worked as a rodeo performer and stunt coordinator. With the exposure to his father’s profession from a tender age, Howell started dreaming of becoming a stuntman. He even started playing stunt roles as a child. He, however, later became something more diversified – an actor.
3. He tried rodeo riding
Owing to his father’s occupation, C Thomas Howell also had an active rodeo career from childhood. He was an active member of the California Junior Rodeo Association. Howell excelled in the sport to the point of emerging a junior rodeo circuit champion at the age of twelve. He, however, dropped rodeo for acting as he grew older.
4. He has married twice
As of 2019, C Thomas Howell has married twice. His first marriage was to Canadian-American actress, Rae Dawn Chong. Rae is the daughter of legendary stand-up comedian and actor, Tommy Chong. Howell met Chong on the set of Soul Man, and they subsequently married in 1989. Their union was, however, very short-lived as they divorced the next year, 1990. They had no kids together.
Following separation from Rae Chong, Thomas Howell met Sylvie Anderson in 1991. After dating for about a year, they married in 1992. Although this second marriage has also ended in a divorce, the first is nothing next to it as it lasted for almost a quarter-century. With Anderson, Howell has three kids – a daughter and two sons, namely: Isabell (b. 1993), Dashiell (b. 1997), and Liam (b. 2001). Anderson divorced Howell in 2016, citing irreconcilable differences.
5. The reason behind Howell’s drawn looks in the 2000s?
Between the early and mid-2000s, Thomas Howell spotted a lean stature and pale look that left many fans wondering what was exactly wrong with him. People had given it varying explanations, with many never coming to know the truth. Well, Howell had a ruptured appendix in 2003, a development that confined him to a hospital bed for 4 weeks. During this period, the actor drastically shed weight, losing up to 45 pounds! He also lost about three feet of his intestine alongside some parts of his stomach in a surgery that helped to save his life.
Although Howell never got his original looks back following the deadly illness, he fully recovered, gaining a good part of his lost weight back. He, however, subsequently follows a prescribed diet and workout routines.