NBC Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
NBC Insider Law & Order Franchise

Tony Goldwyn's Sprawling Career From Ghost to Oppenheimer and Now Law & Order

The acclaimed actor, producer, writer, director is the new district attorney on the original Law & Order.

By Jessica White

Sam Waterston left some mighty big shoes to fill after Jack McCoy's Law & Order exit, but if there's anyone up for the task of ushering in a new era for the franchise, it is the wickedly brilliant Tony Goldwyn

How to Watch

Watch the Season 24 premiere of Law & Order Thursday, October 3 at 8/7c on NBC

Boasting an acting career that spans five decades, Goldwyn an accomplished star of film, television, and the stage, boasting a jaw-dropping roster of credits to his name. Whether he's playing a district attorney, a tree-swinging hero, or even the President of the United States, he is a bona fide scene-stealer.

RELATED: Scandal's Tony Goldwyn is Joining the Law & Order Cast

Goldwyn's gleaming resume is a testament to his dedication and passion for the craft. Look back on some of Goldwyn's career highlights, below.

Tony Goldwyn's Early Acting Career

Tony Goldwyn attends a screening for A Good Person

After studying acting at New York City's HB Studio, Goldwyn's career took off in the late 1980s as he appeared in various films and television series. 

Goldwyn made his acting debut in the 1986 horror film Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives as Darren, one of Jason's ill-fated victims. 

RELATED: Who Is in the New Law & Order Cast for Season 23?

The following year, Goldwyn scored four television guest roles, appearing in episodes of St. Elsewhere, Matlock, CBS Summer Playhouse, and Designing Women. He appeared on L.A. Law, Hunter, and Murphy Brown in 1988.

He appeared as the ghostly brother of Bernadette Peters' character in the television short The Last Mile (1992), in 1996's The Boys Next Door, and then flaunted his astronomical talent as Neil Armstrong in the 1998 miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. 

In 2001, Goldwyn appeared in NBC's Frasier as Roger in Season 9, Episode 5 ("Love Stinks"). He also landed a guest role in the romantic drama series The L Word, appearing in two episodes as Burr Connor between 2004 to 2005. (Goldwyn would later also direct several episodes of The L Word.)

RELATED: Where You Can Watch Law & Order on NBC

Tony Goldwyn's 90s Movies, From Ghost to Tarzan

Tony Goldwyn as the voice of Tarzan in Disney's Tarzan

In 1990, Goldwyn gained traction after being cast as villain Carl Bruner in the supernatural thriller Ghost, a role that firmly put Goldwyn on the map. He starred opposite Patrick Swayze, Whoopi Goldberg, and Demi Moore.

Goldwyn continued to rake in film roles after that, appearing in Kuffs (alongside Christian Slater, Milla Jovavich, and Ashley Judd) and Traces of Red in 1992, The Pelican Brief (1993) with Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington, The Last Tattoo (1994),The Last Word (1995), Reckless (1995) opposite Mia Farrow, and in Pocahontas: The Legend (1995) as Sir Edwin Wingfield.

Also in 1995, Goldwyn landed a major role in the biopic Nixon as Harold Nixon. Goldwyn and the ensemble's performance was applauded, earning a 1996 Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast.

He then starred in: 1996's The Substance of Fire with Sarah Jessica Parker; 1997's Trouble on the Corner and Kiss the Girls (the latter with Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd); and 1998's The Lesser Evil.

In 1999, Goldwyn took his talent to the voice acting studio to star as the gravity-defying Tarzan in Disney's animated film. That's right — that iconic victory cry shouted by the man who lives among the gorillas was generated by none other than Goldwyn.

Aside from starring in the original animated film, Goldwyn also provided the voice of Tarzan for the 1999 and 2001 video games, as well as in the 2002 Kingdom Hearts game in which the beloved character briefly appeared. 

Tony Goldwyn Later Movie Roles, From Divergent to Oppenheimer

Tony Goldwyn attends the tony awards in a beige suit and bowtie

At the turn of the century, Goldwyn continued to gather exciting film roles, starring in notable projects like The 6th Day (2000), An American Rhapsody (2001), and 2002's Abandon.

In 2003, Goldwyn joined the cast of The Last Samurai as Colonel Bagley, a commanding officer for the 7th Cavalry Regiment and the film's primary antagonist, starring alongside Tom Cruise, Billy Connolly, and Hiroyuki Sanada.

After appearing in the films The Godfather of Green BayAmerican Gun, and The Sisters between 2005 and 2009, Goldwyn took on a role that showcased his dark side in the horror film The Last House on the Left. Goldwyn played John Collingwood, a revenge-driven father who sets out to exterminate a group of serial killers. In 2011, Goldwyn starred in The Mechanic alongside Jason Statham.

RELATED: Everything to Know About Law & Order Season 23

In 2014, Goldwyn landed a role in the sci-fi saga Divergent, based on the novels of the same name. Goldwyn played Andrew Prior, the father of Shailene Woodley's Beatrice "Tris" Prior, the franchise's protagonist. Although his character died in the first installation, Goldwyn also appeared in the sequel film, Insurgent, in holographic training sequences.

He then appeared in 2016's The Belko Experiment and Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House about the anonymous source Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal. In 2021, he starred alongside Will Smith in King Richard. The ensemble for King Richard earned a 2022 SAG nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. 

Since 2022, Goldwyn has also appeared in The People We Hate at the WeddingPlane (2023), and Murder Mystery 2.

In 2023, Goldwyn joined the dynamite ensemble cast of Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer as Truman-era government official Gordon Gray. Oppenheimer received 13 Academy Award nominations, with Goldwyn delivering a standout performance as one of Oppenheimer's adversaries.

Tony Goldwyn's Later Television Roles From Scandal to Lovecraft Country

Tony Goldwyn as President Fitzgerald Grant on Scandal

Goldwyn had a minor role in Dexter in 2006 as Dr. Emmett Meridian. He also appeared in four episodes of Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Frank Goren, the problematic half-brother of Det. Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio), in Seasons 6 and 7. Goldwyn then joined an impressive lineup of series guest stars for a 2009 episode of The Good Wife. 

One of Goldwyn's best-known roles was Scandal's President Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant III. Spoiler alert — one of the political drama's many scandals was the love affair between Fitz and Kerry Washington's Olivia Pope. Goldwyn's charm and effortless chemistry with Pope was an audience obsession for all of Scandal's six seasons., and he was nominated for a 2017 Prism Award for Performance in a Drama Series Episode for his role.

Following his smash success as Scandal's ruggedly handsome political leader, Goldwyn starred in the 2019 horror action series Chambers alongside Uma Thurman, in 2020's Lovecraft Country, and 2021's The Hot Zone: Anthrax.

Tony Goldwyn as Law & Order D.A. Nicholas Baxter

Tony Goldwyn as District Attorney Nicholas Baxter on Law And Order Season 23

After 19 seasons of courtroom thrills, longtime series star Waterston passed the torch to none other than Goldwyn as Law & Order's new legal commander, D.A. Nicholas Baxter. Goldwyn's first appearance as Jack McCoy's replacement is in Season 23, Episode 7 ("Balance of Power") as Baxter ushers forth a new chapter of the NBC nail-biter.

RELATED: We Just Learned This Major Detail About Tony Goldwyn's New D.A. Role on Law & Order

Tony Goldwyn's Stage Credits and Audiobooks

Detective Robert Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) and Michael Goren (Tony Goldwyn) on Law & Order: Criminal Intent

According to his biography on Broadway.com, Goldwyn launched his acting career as a stage performer, starring in many plays and musicals throughout his industry tenure. 

RELATED: What Happened to Sam Waterston's Character Jack McCoy on Law & Order?

To scratch the surface of his theatrical career, some of Goldwyn's New York-based stage credits include The Sum of Us at the Cherry Lane Theatre (1989), Spike Heels at the Second Stage Theater (1992), Holiday at Circle in the Square Theatre (1995-1996), Promises, Promises at the Broadway Theatre (2010-2011), The Water’s Edge at the Second Stage Theater (2006), Network at the Belasco Theatre (2018), and The Inheritance at the Barrymore Theatre (2020).

After taking many bows throughout his theatrical tenure, it's no wonder Goldwyn has flexed that diaphragm as the narrator of nine audiobooks. Some of Goldwyn's most notable titles include The GriftersThe Millionaires, and Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City and Thunderstruck.

Tony Goldwyn's A Walk On The Moon featuring Viggo Mortensen and Diane Lane

What films and television shows has Tony Goldwyn directed?

Goldwyn made his directorial debut in the 1999 film A Walk on the Moon, a historical drama centered around Woodstock and the 1969 moon landing.

In 2001, Goldwyn also directed the romcom Someone Like You, starring Ashley Judd, Hugh Jackman, and Marisa Tomei. Goldwyn also directed the 2004 romcom The Last Kiss, starring Scrubs actor Zack Braff

In 2004, Goldwyn shifted his directorial focus to embrace television projects, directing three episodes of The L Word and two episodes of Grey's Anatomy. From 2006 to 2007, Goldwyn directed four episodes of Dexter. 

Some of Goldwyn's other directorial credits include Private Practice (2007), Conviction (2010), and Justified (2010-2012). While starring in Scandal, Goldwyn played double duty as a director for nine action-packed episodes. 

Goldwyn also directed an episode of the original Law & Order series, taking the reigns for Season 16, Episode 18 ("Thinking Makes It So"). 

In 2023, Goldwyn directed, produced, and starred in the dramedy Ezra, a film following a former late-night comedy writer who goes on a cross-country road trip to get a new lease on life. The film starred Goldwyn, Robert De Niro, Vera Farmiga, Whoopi Goldberg, and The Office's Rainn Wilson

Tony Goldwyn as Ben Lefevre in Chambers

Who are Tony Goldwyn's parents?

Born on May 20, 1960, in Los Angeles, Goldwyn is the son of actress Jennifer Howard and film producer Samuel Goldwyn Jr.

His name might seem familiar to movie lovers because his grandfather, Samuel Goldwyn, was one of the founders of the century-old production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Growing up in a family of entertainment industry moguls, Goldwyn had a love for the arts early in life. 

Don't miss one of Goldwyn's most thrilling roles yet by watching Law & Order on Thursdays at 8/7c on NBC and the next day on Peacock