John Barrowman

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I would wish that people would accept people for who they are, not be judgemental, allow people to live their lives and enjoy themselves and that would be my wish for people.

John Scot Barrowman (born 11 March 1967) is a Scottish actor, author, dancer, singer, and TV presenter who has lived and worked both in the United Kingdom and the United States. He currently lives in the UK with his husband, English architect Scott Gill.


I work hard, but I play hard, too, and that's the one part of me that nobody sees. But I intend to be around for a long time yet.
  • I've kind of made Jack a hero that I would like to have looked up to as a little boy because as a little boy, I knew I was gay but I didn't know what it was. Didn't know who to talk to about it. … I wanted kids to like him, and I wanted women, men, I wanted everyone to like him. But first I wanted people to hate him. I wanted them to think he was arrogant and pushy and too sure of himself. And I wanted them to follow the arc of the change he went through in the final episodes of Doctor Who.
  • Cher had just been to see Sunset Boulevard. She hunted me down the next day through management to ask me out to dinner. I wouldn't break my first date with Scott which felt like the chance of a lifetime, so after a pause she said, "Fine, bring him." I drove my car, Scott rode his bike. Scott parked his bike down the street. And we all met up, and we had dinner with Cher, and we had a fab time. At the end of the evening she said to me: "Walk me to my car, you'll love it." As we're walking to the car arm in arm, the photographers just come out of… the bushes, you name it. And we walk to the car and she leanes over and she goes "When I get in the car, give me a kiss." And I'm like "Fine." – What gay man wouldn't want to give Cher a kiss? So we kiss and they catch it just at that moment. The next day in the tabloids I was her new toyboy. But little did they know that the boy with the bicycle who walked out after us went and unhooked his bike, I put her in the car, went off, got my Jag, opened the trunk, put his bike in the trunk and I took him home. That would've been the story! —And he stayed. For 18 years now.
    • Fern Britton Meets John Barrowman BBC 2012
  • Two men as two women and as a man and a woman can have a loving relationship and make a commitment. And that's what marriage is about.
    • Fern Britton Meets John Barrowman BBC 2012
  • You have to work hard in the industry. I didn't come into the industry and into the business and to do what I do to become famous. But I knew in the back of my head that if fame came along with it, that was a blessing. I love when someone recognizes me or wants an autograph. But for me it was about working rather than being a "star".
    • Fern Britton Meets John Barrowman BBC (2012)
  • Personally, in my home life it's the same, but professionally it's different. I'm not having to fight or push as much to get in to be seen for TV shows or for films. The calls are coming in. Also the fans are great. I love them and I am one myself.
    • On how Doctor Who fame changed his life, in Attitude (2005)
  • I would love to lecture to women on men. I'd tell them everything about men: gay, straight, bi, how we're all the same, how we're all bastards.
    • Morwenna Ferrier (Sunday September 7 2008). What I know about men. The Observer. Retrieved on Sunday September 7 2008.
  • I would wish that people would accept people for who they are, not be judgemental, allow people to live their lives and enjoy themselves and that would be my wish for people.
    • Taste of My Life BBC2 (2008)
  • When I first came into the industry I thought, why do you need to know if I'm gay? Why do you need to have a definition of somebody before you find out who they are and what they are as a person and what they can do in the performance of their job? What they do in their bedroom or who they love does not define who they are as an individual or human being! Because we all love different people. There are so many young men and women in society at the moment who have that struggle. But not they are tormented inside; it is because of what they are hearing around them. And these people who claim to be Christians are telling these young men and women that they are wrong. That they are evil. That they should not love. That they were not made this way. How dare you make that judgement? It hurts me and it upsets me when I hear people who say they are Christians who aren't saying very nice things about other people
    • Fern Britton Meets John Barrowman BBC (2012)
  • I love Christmas. I work in Pantomime over the christmas period. On christmas eve I always say to the audience: "Let's celebrate the birth of a child and the start of a new beginning. Let's all sing Silent Night." And we all start singing and halfway through it everybody on the stage is just in tears. Calm comes across everybody. And there is no judgement, there is no anger. It is everybody sitting and thinking about one tiny thing but thinking about it all together and being one with each other. It's just incredible.
    • Fern Britton Meets John Barrowman BBC (2012)

Quotes about John Barrowman[edit]

  • Jodie Prenger: We are still in a generation where people are scared of who they really want to be. And the way John is just proud and so comfortable in himself, I think is great. I think it is giving people total inspiration to be who they are. He is genuinely just your regular guy with a big heart that loves doing what he does.
  • Myleene Klass: You've got to be incredibly, incredibly brave to be yourself — that's what's great about John. He can sing, he can dance, he can act, he can do it all. He's got this sort of cheeky persona, he knows how to laugh, he knows how to enjoy life. But I think that stems from somewhere a lot deeper, and that's his real closeness to his family. And that becomes apparent immediately. He is such a positive person and it's infectious.
  • Bernard Cribbins OBE: He's a bit like Tigger. He bounces around a lot [laughs]. I first met him in Anything Goes in 1989. All I saw were teeth on this very tall good-looking young man, and this broad Glaswegian accent.
  • David Tennant: It was great when John came on set because he's John! In all honesty, having John around is always enormous fun. He's a constant… he's like a Roman candle of effervescent life. And that goes back to a story I am not telling you as well since there's children in the room.
  • Willa Holland: Most of the time you've just got to sit back and watch John do John 'cause it's just one of the most amazing things you could ever witness in your life. And then a lot of times he brings you into it and you can't say no. It's kind of 50/50 at the end of each take. But regardless, every time we work together it's pretty hard to focus on the job at hand. For example, when we were shooting the scene where I actually was shooting him, we did a few rehearsals and I can't remember exactly what he was doing but it was kind of the look on his face and just this weird smile that he would give to me and I just could not take it seriously. It's kind of amazing. I mean, just picture John.
  • Stephen Amell: It's not that he pulls pranks. He's not like a prankster. It's not like all of a sudden I go put on the Arrow suit and it's filled with A535 or something like that. Although that would be pretty funny. It's more that there's just… You know, you've been to a panel? John's panels typically are called Anything Goes. Anything goes! Anything! John Barrowman gets away with more stuff than I've ever seen anyone get away with just because there's never a filter. So the expectation is: he really could be behind me right now. Would anybody be surprised? Exactly. He can always be around the corner. That's how I live my life. Barrowman is always standing behind me waiting to strike. Yeah, he's just a good guy. To pick your favourite thing or the funniest thing that John Barrowman has done is like picking your favourite flavour of ice cream. You can… but they're all so good! Why would you want just one? And to that end I've learned a lot of lessons from John. And I mean principally… I mean A) How to be the lead of a show. You know, he was the first guy that I really got to… I got to pick his brain. God, there's nothing I can say about him that can't be turned into something filthy. I hadn't been the lead of a show, so to hear about his experiences on Torchwood and then just in general to watch the way that he carries himself, to watch the level of respect he has for the crew, to watch the fact that his energy never changes, right? If they held a camera on John and we were on stage, I want you to tell me: is it ten o'clock on monday morning or is it four o'clock on friday morning? Tell me. You can't! 'Cause he's always the same. He always brings that same level of energy and professionalism and just joy to work and he carries that through with, you know, he and I hanging out in Palm Springs or we have these Con weekends. It's just great. I love John. I miss him.
  • Eve Myles: He walks into a room and he demands attention without doing a single thing. He's an incredible singer, he's a wonderful dancer, he's a wonderful actor. That, and he's a smashing presenter 'cause he's great with people. It's not work to John. […] John Barrowman is always going to be an entertainer in some form or another. He was going to be either on the stage, or the screen, or a presenter, or a writer… something that allows him to make other people feel good. […] His family are everything to him. And he'd be the first person to say, if someone would say something that wasn't true or that was upsetting him or somebody that he cared for or loved, he'd be the first one there.
  • James Marsters: I love John Barrowman. I think he's a great guy. He saved my ass more than once. Really, properly saved my job on that show one time: On the first episode during that kissing/fighting scene I blew a gag. When we went through the glass, I took the wrong angle and I got cut. But I didn't want anyone to know that I blew the gag because if you blow the gag, they're gonna send a stuntman in and you'll never get back on the set. So, the next day comes and I'm still bleeding through the costume. And John spots it and he comes up and he goes, "Dude, go to your trailer. I'll get you a doctor. Just go. Go, go, go." And the director is like "Where are you going?" so John goes to talk to him. Then he got his own personal physician to come and stitch me up, helped me take the stain out of my costume, get me back on set – no one knew anything. So, John is the man! In all honesty, I'd rather kiss John than anybody else I ever had to kiss 'cause I trust that man. I really don't feel sexy when I'm filming a love scene, it's always quite surgical because of the lighting and camera angles and it's just a very strange situation especially for me. Because if someone says "Okay, kiss him!" and then shouts "Action!" and you are getting paid for it, what is your profession? […] So for me it really is a very uncomfortable day whenever you shoot that stuff. And so what you really want is someone that you trust and feel comfortable with and someone who you really think has your back as a friend. Some people like to pull pranks and make fun of you in these situations. […] Now, on the other end of it you get John Barrowman: Usually John is exactly that prank kind of guy – on my very first day on the set we were in the meeting room at the [BBC] headquarters and I watched him just being all over the female members of the cast who to me seemed really annoyed. And I remember thinking, Holy shit! If he comes on to me like that tomorrow, I'm gonna clock him. And then I'm gonna lose my job! Okay, I'm gonna have to communicate this right now. So I went over to Naoko and showed her some self-defence moves I know – like hitting the solar plexus or stamping on those beautiful little bones we all have at the top of the foot. And they all – the whole cast, including Naoko – turned to me like "Who let this stupid, immature, homophobic American in our world?" I just was instantly embarrassed, oh my god. And so I was really not looking forward to going to work the next day just because I'd made such an ass of myself, you know. And John comes up to me that day and he was like "Hey, man, how're you doing? So, uh, most of this is fight anyway but, you know, as far as the kiss is concerned, do you want to save it for the day and keep it fresh or do you want to rehearse it? What are you most comfortable with, man?" —He was totally there for me. To make me comfortable, to make sure everything worked. He just completely changed gears because he understood what my needs were. That guy is a real leader. Apparently his dad used to run a factory and he would go watch his dad be a factory leader every day and he always wanted to be like his dad. He really is. I mean, I don't know his dad, so this is far out. But as far as being able to lead a group of people, that's John. So, the short answer being: I'd rather kiss John than probably most of the actresses I've kissed in my life! However, a little note for all you guys: shave! It hurts. You kiss a guy with a good beard and he's got a little stubble, even a little bit of stubble, and it's like sandpaper! So, yeah, I'm thinking of waxing.
  • Fern Britton: He is famously straight-talking. What you see is what you get and he's not afraid to fight for what he believes in. And behind the showbiz manier he's a man who absolutely believes in practicing what he preaches. He has no conflict in having a faith and being gay. Despite encountering prejudice, he still has a great energy and appetite for life. He's a man now equally comfortable as West End star, quiz show host, worrier of small animals, friend to aliens, talent show judge, and sometime companion to the world's most famous time traveller. You could be forgiven to think that this love affair with fame and the fiercely ambitious drive that took John from a theme park in the States to a saturday night staple on BBC1 means that John must have a ruthless side. But, breaking news, John Barrowman really is the nicest man in television and it's his parents and their Christian values that he has to thank for that. He is such an exuberant and energetic performer, who's faith underpins his zest for life. Behind this much-loved showbiz performer there's a man with a heart of gold.
  • Carole E. Barrowman: The one thing that will send John over the edge, even in public, is if he sees someone being rude or mean or just being disrespectful to an elderly person. Definitely this relationship [with his grandmother Murn] has been a defining one, I think, in his life. […] You cannot underestimate how big a fan of Doctor Who John was when he got that part. He heard about it in Covent Garden when he was with my daughter Claire and he literally ran up a wall.

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