Actor John Lithgow to speak at Amherst College on Saturday in fundraiser for Jones Library

  • This image released by Lionsgate shows John Lithgow as Roger Ailes in a scene from “Bombshell.” Lithgow will speak at Amherst College on Saturday night. Hilary B. Gayle/Lionsgate via AP

Staff Writer
Published: 9/27/2023 4:50:55 PM

AMHERST — Actor, author and artist John Lithgow will be at Amherst College’s Johnson Chapel on Saturday evening for a talk that will, in part, speak about the ongoing capital campaign for Jones Library’s $43.95 million building project.

“An Evening with John Lithgow: In Support of Libraries, the Humanities, and Democracy in General” is the title of the free event, which starts at 7:30 p.m.

Lee Edwards, a trustee for the library who co-chairs the capital campaign, wrote in an email that she is delighted Lithgow is coming to Amherst.

“We also anticipate that his remarks will contain specific support for our plans to renovate and expand the Jones Library’s Amity Street building,” Edwards said.

Lithgow has connections to Amherst. His brother, David, and his family have lived in town since the early 1970s, while his late parents, Arthur, the founder of two Shakespeare festivals and artistic director of McCarter Theatre at Princeton University, and Sarah Price Lithgow, an actress, made Amherst their home during their later years. In addition, a nephew, Jay, is a Jones Library volunteer.

“John is well aware of the library’s needs and of the importance of the building project to both the library’s health and the town’s cultural civic, and economic vitality,” Edwards said.

The $43.95 million project to expand the building and restore the original 1928 portion is expected to break ground in 2024. When complete, the Jones Library is expected to be one of the most climate-friendly buildings in Amherst and have more space for programs, while being fully accessible for people with disabilities.

Proceeds from the Lithgow event support the Jones Library’s National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant.

Lithgow is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and serves on a commission to advance the cause of the humanities and social sciences and advocates for government action on their behalf. His books and performances for children support literacy and arts education.

Among his best known roles are Dick Soloman, a space alien in the television series “3rd Rock from the Sun,” Lord Farquaad in the animated movie “Shrek,” serial killer Arthur Mitchell in the television series “Dexter;” and Roberta Muldoon, a transgender former NFL player in the film “The World According to Garp.”

He has earned two Tony Awards, six Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, an American Comedy Award, four Drama Desk Awards, four Grammy Awards and two Academy Award nominations. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The event is by ticket and is free. To register, visit Donations are being accepted.

Onsite registration, which had been planned, is not going to be available due to the high interest. Those registered can arrive at 6:30 p.m.

Amherst College allows visitors to park in any valid space between 4:30 p.m. and 2 a.m. Metered spaces near the Amherst Town Common or on the streets in downtown Amherst are also available. Johnson Chapel is ADA-accessible and there are several handicapped parking spaces in front.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at


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