10 Things You Didn’t Know About Henry Thomas


Henry Thomas, celebrated widely for his iconic role as Elliot in E.T. the Extraterrestrial, is a recognizable figure in the world of film and television. Despite the popularity of his most famous role, many interesting aspects of his life outside and within the silver screen remain relatively unknown. Prepare to be intrigued as we reveal ten of these fascinating facts about Henry Thomas.

1. His First Experience in Acting

Young, rambunctious, and full of life, Henry Thomas embarked on his acting journey at the tender age of eight. His mother, Carolyn L. Thomas, brought him to a local community theater where he first found his passion and love for acting. It didn’t take long for him to develop his acting chops and delve into the world of performance art.

His first major break came in 1981 when he bagged the role of Harry, Jr. in the fantasy horror ‘The Watcher in the Woods’. The film was his first on-screen experience, successfully launching his journey in the world of acting.

2. The E.T. Audition

George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were captivated by Thomas’s performance in The Watcher in The Woods, which led them to consider him for the part of Elliott in E.T. When Thomas auditioned and was asked to imagine a scenario where authorities were taking his alien friend away, Thomas began crying. His emotional rawness impressed Spielberg so much that he got the part immediately after his audition ended.

This unforgettable, impromptu performance was his ticket to glory. Who knew that a young nine-year-old kid, barely a year into his acting career, could make Steven Spielberg say, “Okay kid, you got the job”?

3. Music-Centric Soul

Filmography aside, Thomas is also a musician with a deep love for music. He played with San Antonio band “The Blue Heelers” in the 1990s, showcasing his musical prowess. Though he wasn’t world-renowned for his musical skills as he was with acting, his passion for music has been an important aspect of his life.

Henry Thomas is multi-faceted, and his love for music is a testament to this. If you ever get a chance to hear The Blue Heelers, you can see this side of him that usually remains veiled from public eye.

4. Screen Adaptations of Stephen King’s Novels

Thomas portrayed characters in two adaptations of Stephen King’s novels. He played the adult version of Bill Denbrough in CBS’s miniseries “Stephen King’s IT”. He also starred as the lead in “Gerald’s Game,” a film adaptation of King’s 1992 novel, which aired on Netflix.

These performances show Thomas’s ability to immerse himself in diverse roles, leaving an indelible impression on the minds of viewers.

5. His Role in ‘Legends of The Fall’

Not only was Thomas involved in the world of fantasy and horror, but he also managed to secure a place in dramas with “Legends of the Fall”. In this epic film, Thomas played the character Samuel, the youngest of three brothers, which earned him rave reviews.

This movie further consolidated his credit as a versatile actor, adept at bringing to life diverse characters across various film genres.

6. A Passionate Author

Besides acting and music, Thomas also nurtured his love for writing. In 2008, he published a book entitled “The Window and The Mirror.” The novel is a fantasy set on a 19th-century whaling ship. The protagonist is sailor O’Toole, who embarks on a dangerous voyage from New England to the South Pacific.

From this endeavor, we can see Thomas’ flair for creativity is not just limited to acting and music. He is indeed a man of many talents and passions.

7. Texas Literary Hall of Fame

In 2014, Henry Thomas was inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame. This honor was bestowed in acknowledgment of his extensive contribution to literature. The achievement attests to his multifaceted talent but also depicts a side of him not well-known in the public eye.

Adding this to his list of accomplishments has redefined Thomas as more than just an actor. His credibility extends to the literary world, where he has made significant contributions.

8. His Support for Mental Health Awareness

Henry Thomas is an advocate for mental health awareness. He has spoken openly about the importance of mental health, thereby inspiring others to do the same. His actions and words bring light to the often-shadowed area of mental health.

This shows that Thomas is not just an actor of substance, but a person of substance as well. His commitment to raise mental health awareness can be felt in his words and actions.

9. His Love for Privacy

Despite being a public figure, Thomas manages to keep his personal life largely under wraps. His Instagram account, for instance, is private which is seldom the case with actors of his stature.

The aura of privacy that surrounds him not only makes him an intriguing person but also serves as a reminder that he is much more than what we see on screen. His choice to keep his personal life private shows his preference for simplicity and seclusion.

10. Triumphs Over Challenges

Thomas faced a significant challenge in his career when he was arrested for drunk driving in 2019. Nonetheless, he moved past this setback, re-establishing himself back in the industry.

His triumphant comeback is a testimony to his resilience. Despite setbacks, he managed to retrace his steps back to success, exemplifying the never-give-up spirit that he embodies.


Truly, Henry Thomas is an intriguing personality. A lot more than Elliot from E.T., he is an accomplished actor, a musician, an author, a private individual, and most importantly, an inspiring figure. Digging deeper into his life does not just enlighten us about his successful career, but also unravels a person of valour, creativity, passion, and resilience.

Henry Thomas on IMDb
The Window and The Mirror on Amazon