Henry Jackson Thomas Jr.

Henry Thomas

Henry Thomas is a distinguished American actor recognized with nominations for prestigious awards such as the Golden Globe, Saturn, and BAFTA. He rose to fame as a child actor, playing the lead role in Steven Spielberg’s iconic film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.” Over his career, he has featured in nearly 80 projects, including acclaimed films like “Indictment: The McMartin Trial,” “Dear John,” “Legends of the Fall,” and “11:14,” as well as notable TV series such as “The Haunting of Hill House,” “Moby Dick,” “Betrayal,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

What we know about this person

Full name:

Henry Jackson Thomas Jr.

Date of birth:

September 9, 1971

Zodiac sign:



San Antonio, Texas, USA





Marital status:

Married to Annalee Fery




5' 11" (1.8 m)


159 lbs (72 kg)



Early life

Henry Jackson Thomas Jr. was born on September 9, 1971, in San Antonio, Texas. He was the only child of Henry Jackson Thomas Sr., a hydraulic machinist, and Carolyn, a homemaker. From the age of five, Henry aspired to become a film actor.

He attended East Central High School, which was close to his home, and later enrolled at Blinn College. From a young age, Thomas was determined to pursue acting and convinced his mother to take him to auditions. Initially, his parents were hesitant about his acting ambitions but eventually supported him when he turned eight.


Henry Thomas in E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

Early career

Henry Thomas embarked on his acting journey in the early 1980s. As a smart and talented child, he exuded confidence in his abilities. By 1981, he had made his big-screen debut in the film “Raggedy Man,” starring alongside Eric Roberts, Sissy Spacek, and Sam Shepard. The young actor felt at ease with these seasoned stars and left a positive impression on the crew. His performance was well-received by both audiences and critics.

Henry was even nominated for the Young Artist Award for his role. That same year, he appeared in the TV movie “The Steeler and the Pittsburgh Kid” with Jim Brinson and Lonny Chapman. While this film didn’t have the same impact as “Raggedy Man,” it still highlighted his talent, attracting the attention of many directors and casting agents.


Henry Thomas in The Quest

“E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” and Global Fame

Henry Thomas’s acting skills caught the eye of numerous filmmakers, including the acclaimed director Steven Spielberg. By that time, Spielberg had already achieved significant success with films like “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “1941,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Casting for his new movie, Spielberg invited Thomas to audition.

Reports suggest that Henry’s audition greatly impressed Spielberg, even moving him to tears. The boy had to portray sadness and convincingly drew on the memory of his deceased dog. Following this powerful audition, Henry was immediately cast in the lead role of Spielberg’s upcoming film, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” which premiered on May 26, 1982.

Upon its release, Spielberg’s film, featuring Henry alongside Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote, Dee Wallace-Stone, and others, became an instant hit. With a budget of $10.5 million, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” grossed over $663 million worldwide. The film received nominations for the Oscars, Golden Globes, and various other awards.

Critics and audiences alike praised Henry Thomas’s outstanding performance. He was nominated for Best Young Actor for the second consecutive year and deservedly won the award in 1983. This role catapulted him to global fame. Additionally, one of the iconic scenes from “E.T.” was immortalized in the logo of Amblin Entertainment, a production company founded by Spielberg and his friends.

Henry Jackson Thomas Jr. Movies and TV Shows

  • 2019

    Doctor Sleep

    The Bartender / Jack Torrance

  • 2018

    The Haunting of Hill House

    Young Hugh Crain

  • 2017

    Gerald’s Game


  • 2016

    Ouija: Origin of Evil

    Father Tom Hogan

  • 2010

    Dear John


  • 2003



  • 2002

    Gangs of New York

    Johnny Sirocco

  • 2011

    The Mentalist

    Tommy Lisbon

  • 1994

    Legends of the Fall

    Samuel Ludlow

  • 1982

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial



Despite the sudden fame that came his way, Henry Thomas chose to prioritize his education. As a result, he took on fewer acting roles during the 1980s, being very selective with his projects. In 1983, he starred in the drama “Misunderstood” alongside Gene Hackman. The following year, the adventure film “Cloak & Dagger” premiered, where he acted with Christina Nigra, Dabney Coleman, and Michael Murphy.

After these roles, Thomas took a short break from acting. In 1986, he played a significant role in “Frog Dreaming” (“The Quest”) with Tony Barry. Two years later, he was featured in the crime drama “Murder One” with James Wilder and Stephen Shellen. In 1989, he worked on the film “Valmont,” acting alongside Colin Firth and Annette Bening.

In the 1990s, after completing his education, Thomas began to take on more projects. Notable films from this period include “Legends of the Fall” with Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins, “The McMartin Trial” with James Woods, and “Suicide Kings” with Christopher Walken. Additionally, in 1998, he was part of the main cast of the miniseries “Moby Dick,” which garnered positive reviews from viewers.

During the 2000s, Henry shifted his focus more towards television, though he continued to appear in major films. These include “Gangs of New York” with Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio, and “Dear John” with Channing Tatum and Amanda Seyfried. He also appeared in TV series such as “The Mentalist” with Simon Baker and “Masters of Horror” with Norman Reedus.

From 2010 to 2020, Henry Thomas appeared in many noteworthy films and series. These include “Doctor Sleep” with Ewan McGregor and Rebecca Ferguson, “The Haunting of Hill House” with Michiel Huisman and Carla Gugino, “Sons of Liberty” with Ben Barnes and Jason O’Mara, “Betrayal” with Hannah Ware, and “The Last Ride” with Jesse James.

Talk Shows

  • 2022

    The Drew Barrymore Show

    Role: Guest

  • 2022

    Entertainment Tonight

    Role: Guest

  • 2016

    Made in Hollywood

    Role: Guest

  • 2012


    Role: Guest

  • 1998

    The Howard Stern Show

    Role: Guest

  • 1998

    The Daily Show

    Role: Guest

  • 1998

    The Rosie O’Donnell Show

    Role: Guest

Henry Thomas’ personal life and family

Henry Thomas has been married three times. His first wife was actress Kelley Hill, whom he met in the 1990s. The couple tied the knot in 2000 but parted ways two years later. In May 2004, Thomas married German actress Marie Zielcke. They welcomed a daughter named Hazel soon after, but the family separated in 2007.

Currently, Henry is married to Annalee Fery. They reside in Wilsonville, Oregon, with their two children. Besides acting, Thomas enjoys writing songs and creating music. For a period, he was part of the band The Blue Heelers, which practiced in San Antonio. The band even had a contract with a major record label in the 1990s. Occasionally, Thomas contributes to the soundtracks of the films he appears in.


Henry Thomas in Midnight Mass

Henry Thomas now

Henry Thomas remains active in the entertainment industry. In 2021, he featured in several projects, including the miniseries “Midnight Mass” alongside Zach Gilford and Samantha Sloyan. The following year, he appeared in “The Midnight Club” with Iman Benson and Igby Rigney. In 2023, he was seen in the horror film “Pet Sematary: Bloodlines” with Jackson White and in the miniseries “The Fall of the House of Usher” with Bruce Greenwood and Rahul Kohli.

Published: May 17, 2024
Updated: June 24, 2024