For the 2001 film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, John Cameron Mitchell directs and appears as the incredible leading role of Hedwig, a transsexual glam rocker from East Berlin who is on her way to the big time. Hedwig meets and falls for Tommy Gnossis, a rock star touring the United States, whose tour happens to coincide with Hedwig. Hedwig primarily performs at a small chain of seafood restaurants called Bilgewater’s, using the venues to tell her tragic life story in song. Tommy Gnosis, however, becomes infatuated with Hedwig, which leads the two to develop a relationship as they are on tour together. This relationship, however, is short-lived, as Tommy ultimately leaves Hedwig and steals all of her best songs in the process, going on to great success and leaving Hedwig behind.
John Cameron Mitchell was born in El Paso, TX as the son of a US Army Major General and a schoolteacher from Scotland. As an Army brat, Mitchell and his family moved frequently, spending time living on bases throughout the US, Germany, and Scotland. Mitchell was educated in a number of Catholic Schools. An openly gay director, John Cameron Mitchell ironically played the otherwise female role of the Virgin Mary in a Nativity staged by one of his schools.
Upon graduation, Mitchell attended Northwestern University to study theatre. It was here, where he finally felt comfortable enough to come out to his friends and family as gay.
Mitchell began his career with a variety of on and off Broadway performances, as well as some guest roles in popular television series. In 1998, Mitchell wrote, directed, and starred in his award winning Broadway musical and film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The project inspired Mitchell to pursue more writing opportunities, allowing him to pen and direct a number of successful film projects.
After working on Broadway for over a decade, John Cameron Mitchell wrote, directed, and starred in his first feature film, Hedwig and the Angry Inch in 2001. The film followed a successful debut as a Broadway music two years prior, and earned Mitchell awards at numerous international film festivals.
Mitchell followed Hedwig with two more feature films, Shortbus and Rabbit Hole, which earned lead actress Nicole Kidman an Oscar nomination. In recent years, Mitchell has focused on shorts and television projects, including L.A.dy Dior starring Marion Cotillard, Nurse Jackie, and Happyish.
Mitchell currently resides in New York and is a DJ with the monthly party “Mattachine,” which he helped co-found.