John Locke is shot during the third-season finale for "Lost." But Terry O'Quinn, who won a 2007 Emmy award for playing Locke, probably did not mind: Disasters have been very good to him. O'Quinn's film debut in 1980 was in "Heaven's Gate," the famously disastrous Western by Michael Cimino. For that role, he took horseback-riding lessons from a woman who became (and remains) his wife.
The disaster that is the premise of "Lost" (a plane crash strands 48 survivors on a tropical island) saved Terry O'Quinn and his wife Lori, who were living in Maryland and going through a tough time financially. Series co-creator J.J. Abrams called to offer the role without an audition. O'Quinn and his wife moved to Hawaii.
J.J. Abrams, who liked O'Quinn's "great, chiseled face" and the sense that he had "gone through the trenches," knew the actor from his role as FBI director in Abrams' "Alias." O'Quinn also regularly played a captain on "JAG" and a general on "The West Wing." O'Quinn first gained notice when he starred in the 1980s in "The Stepfather," pictured, and its sequel, playing a seemingly mild-mannered serial killer.
Terry O'Quinn's character on "Lost" benefited from the crash as well. Back home, he worked as a collections supervisor for a box company and needed a wheelchair. (Here he is with fellow crash survivor Boone, played by Ian Somerhalder, in a flashback.)
In flashbacks on "Lost," viewers learned that Locke grew up in an orphanage. When he finally meets his father as an adult, the man cons him out of a kidney and then cuts him out of his life again.
After the crash, Locke miraculously recovered the use of his legs. Of all the survivors, Locke seems most adept at adapting to the jungle and living off the land, making tools, hunting, collecting water and reading mysterious files.
There seems little question that Terry O'Quinn is enjoying himself in the role of John Locke. Here, he poses during this year's Monte Carlo Television Festival (which since 1961 has aimed at encouraging "the new art form of television.")
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Winning the 2007 Emmy for supporting actor in a drama series was not bad news.
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Terry O'Quinn's role on "Lost" depends on what new disasters await Locke in the future.