Henry Thomas
Birth Date:
September 9, 1971
Birth Place:
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Famous for:
His role in 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' (1982)
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Following his auspicious debut as the young son of Sissy Spacek in 1981’s Raggedy Man, from which he earned a Young Artist nomination, American actor and musician Henry Thomas was shot to stardom as Elliot, the 10-year-old boy who befriends an alien in Steven Spielberg’s highly successful E.T the Extra-terrestrial (1982). For his outstanding acting, he won a Young Artist Award and also collected Golden Globe, BAFTA and Saturn nominations. A child star of the early 1980s, Thomas gained additional notice two years later with his praised performances in the 1984 films Misunderstood, and Cloak and Dagger, which brought him another Young Artist nomination. Later, in 2000, the award-winning actor regained his celebrity status with his applauded supporting turn as a cowboy in the Billy Bob Thornton epic All the Pretty Horses, opposite Matt Damon. He also had a supporting role in the acclaimed movie Gangs of New York (2002). On the small screen, Thomas has acted in numerous television films, most notably playing Ray Buckey in the docudrama Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995), where he took home a Golden Globe nomination.

In addition to acting, Thomas, who was once named one of VH1’s “100 Greatest Kid Stars” and ranked No. 4 in E’s “50 Cutest Child Stars All Grown-up” (2005), is also a musician. He is now in a band called The Blueheelers. As for his personal life, 6’1” Henry is the husband of German actress Marie Zielcke and has a daughter with her. His married life was also once linked to actress Kelly Hill.

The Little Thomas

Childhood and Family:

In San Antonio, Texas, Henry Jackson Thomas Jr., who would later be famous as Henry Thomas, was born on September 9, 1971. He was raised in Elmendorf, Texas, by his father, Henry Jackson Thomas (hydraulics mechanic), and his mother, Carolyn L. Davis. Henry, whose nickname is The Little Thomas, was educated at East Central High School in San Antonio, Texas, and later at Blinn College in College Station, Texas.

In May 20, 2000, Henry married actress Kelly Hill, but the marriage ended in separation. He found a new love in Marie Zielcke, a popular German actress, whom he married in May 2004. They held the ceremony in Las Vegas in the same Chapel where Britney Spears married Jason Allen Alexander. Henry and his wife have a daughter named Hazel.

All the Pretty Horses


San Antonio, Texas, native Henry Thomas realized that he wanted to become an actor when he was 5. Three years later, he convinced his mother to take him to a local audition that eventually led to his film debut at age 10 in Raggedy Man (1981), playing Sissy Spacek’s son. The role brought Thomas a Young Artist nomination for Best Young Motion Picture Actor. He made his television movie debut that same year in the NBC comedy-drama special The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid, which was based on an award-winning Coke commercial starring football star Joe Greene.

Thomas’ big breakthrough arrived a year later when noted director Steven Spielberg cast him in the starring role of Elliott, the earthly guide, protector, and friend of the little alien in the sci-fi film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), which went on to become one of America’s most popular features. Delivering a bright performance, he won a 1983 Young Artist for Best Young Motion Picture Actor and received a Golden Globe nomination for New Star of the Year, a BAFTA nomination for Outstanding Newcomer and a Saturn nomination for Best Actor.

The young actor continued to star with Gene Hackman in Misunderstood, a 1984 influential drama about reconciliation between a newly widowed father and his alienated young son. His performance earned rave reviews. In Cloak and Dagger (1984), he nabbed a Young Artist nomination for his lead performance opposite Dabney Coleman and Michael Murphy. The Richard Franklin-directed action-thriller marked Thomas’ last Hollywood film for almost a decade. A starring turn in the pleasant Australian adventure Frog Dreaming/The Quest followed in 1986, before he put acting on the backburner for several years.

Returning to the screen, Thomas took on the lead role of Billy Isaacs in the Canadian drama Murder One (1988), but it was his follow-up, Milos Forman’s Valmont (1989), where he appeared with Colin Firth, that proved to be the actor’s most prestigious project since E.T. Subsequently, Thomas portrayed the young Norman Bates in the TV movie sequel Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990), Cary Sloan in a television action-thriller starring Michael Biehn and Jason Bateman, A Taste for Killing (1992), and returned to U.S. films for a supporting role in 1993’s Fire in the Sky, a UFO drama for director Robert Lieberman. This was followed by a more substantial role in the big-budgeted period drama Legends of the Fall (1994), playing one of Anthony Hopkins’ three sons, Greg Hayes.

After receiving acclaim for his portrayal of Ray Buckey, one of the ill-fated defendants, in the HBO docudrama Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995), in which he picked up a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV, and costarring with Ed Harris and Amy Madigan in the TNT film Riders of the Purple Sage (1996), Thomas could be seen playing an over-obsessive budding moviemaker in the comedy film Hijacking Hollywood (1996), which he followed with imposing performances in the independent films Niagara, Niagara (1997, with Robin Tunney) and The Suicide Kings (1997, opposite Johnny Galecki, Jeremy Sisto and Christopher Walken). The actor also starred in the television remake of Moby Dick (1998), the crime-thriller Fever (1999, with David O’Hara) and the dark Showtime comedy The Happy Face Murders (1999).

In 2000, Thomas enjoyed another career-defining role when he took on the role of Lacey Rawlins, Matt Damon’s best friend, in the Billy Bob Thornton adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. He won praise for his impressive turn in the movie. After this, the actor acted in movies like The Quickie (2001), Dead in the Water (2002), I’m with Lucy (2002), Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York (2002, with Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Liam Neeson, and Leonardo DiCaprio), Honey Baby (2003), I Capture the Castle (2003), 11:14 (2003), Dead Birds (2004), The Hard Easy (2005), The Deal (2006) and Stephen King’s Desperation (2006, TV). He also appeared in the miniseries “Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King” (2006), as Robert Fornoy.

Recently sharing top billing with Louise Fletcher in the based-on-novel independent film The Last Sin Eater (2007), directed by Michael London Jr., Thomas is scheduled to play the supporting role of Eric in the black comedy Suffering Man’s Charity (2007), directed by and starring Alan Cumming. The film also stars David Boreanaz, Anne Heche and Carrie Fisher.


  • Young Artist: Best Young Motion Picture Actor, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, 1983
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