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Lithgow’s Frustration as ‘Dexter’ Serial Killer

hollywoodexclusiveJohn Lithgow is enjoying the horrified response to his turn as serial killer Trinity on "Dexter" and wants us to know "The suspense gets absolutely excruciating" from this Sunday's (11/29) episode through the season finale Dec. 13.

"I would say my greatest difficulty and frustration arose out of one of their cleverest choices," admits the esteemed multiple Emmy and Tony winner. "There was so little of me in the first three or four episodes. I wanted to get in there and do it — but then, out of the eight shooting days on an episode, I'd only be there two or three days. That was because they wanted to keep Trinity a big mystery. They didn't show him much, and every time he appeared, it was very, very scary." He adds, "The interesting thing about the character is that it added more and more dimension every single week."

Meanwhile, the actor is busy. Lithgow, who'll return to the New York stage in January playing a gossip columnist in Douglas Carter Beane's new play, "Mr. & Mrs. Fitch," is also finding time to write his memoirs.

"My one-man show got me a whole bunch of offers to write an autobiography, because it is a very autobiographical show," he says of "John Lithgow: Stories by Heart," which he recently performed to raves at London's National Theatre. "I'm working away on that, not very methodically. I don't know how you writers do it," adds the author of nine children's books. "I find it extremely painful, a painful process. Acting comes a lot easier for me."

How far along is Lithgow in writing his life story? "I'm about 20 years old," he answers dryly.

And as for surprises and revelations that might be included, he maintains, "I haven't had nearly a shocking enough life."

TALKING OUT THE SIDE OF HIS MOUTH: "The Jeff Dunham Show," which stars ventriloquist-comedian Jeff Dunham, is bringing in numbers for Comedy Central — no thanks to critics, who have been fairly tough on the show.

"If you make everybody like it, no one's going to love it. You look at every great television series that's been on and people's opinions vary about it," notes Dunham, who had Comedy Central's highest-rated premiere. "Having harsh critics on one hand means there are people who love it on the other. Usually, those articles start out with 'Ventriloquists are creepy.' Once you start out with that, you've already lost the battle. It's like saying that guys in costumes are scary. That means you're probably not going to like Mickey Mouse."

Despite the varied opinions, Dunham is confident about what his show has to offer. "I think we're showing the fans something they've never seen before so we're getting good reactions from that. A lot of people who have never seen my act before are watching. We're the No. 2 show on the network right now so obviously we've done something right," he points out. "We have guidelines that we set for ourselves because we know what the demographic for that particular network likes. We also do what we like and what makes us laugh so I think we're satisfying both of those things. Most of what we're doing, though, is staying true to my live show and what the fans have come to expect and like."

In the meantime, Dunham is busy traveling the world with his live show, but he's happy to be spending Thanksgiving weekend at home with his three daughters.

SOMETHING NEW: Casting is under way for the TV Land pilot Sean Hayes is producing, "Hot in Cleveland" — and what a fun ride this could be for the actresses involved. The premise has three women in their 40s and 50s, best friend who've been achievers on the L.A. scene, landing unexpectedly in Cleveland due to an airline snafu — and realizing that in the heartland, things could be better for them than in La-la Land. In fact, they could still be, yes, "Hot in Cleveland." And they decide to stay. The not-yet-golden girls include a sarcastically witty celebrity salon proprietress, a divorced mother of college kids who's written a best-seller and an actress.

ON A HIGH NOTE: "Glee's" talented young stars have made the show a big success among audiences of all ages, but the show's more-experienced actors are definitely holding their own. In fact, they've been the glue holding everything together. "I think a lot of them kind of look up to me. They knew me beforehand from my Broadway stuff," says the hunky Matthew Morrison, who plays glee teacher Will Schuester. "And we all look up to Jane Lynch. I feel like her being on the show gives us credibility from the start. She's amazing."

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

To find out more about Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and read their past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

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