John P. Connolly was first elected National President of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) at the August, 2001 Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. The 80,000-member union represents professional actors, newscasters, announcers, singers, dancers, comedians, stunt players, and other professionals who work across the Media Industries in television, radio, sound recordings, commercials, and new media. AFTRA organizes news professionals and performing artists in more than 25 Locals in nearly every major market nationwide.
Connolly has frequently appeared before Congress, the FCC, and state legislators advocating for artists’ and broadcast journalists’ rights, for level-playing-field production incentives to encourage US-based TV and motion picture production, for media democracy, for a national health care plan, in support of workers’ pension protections, and in defense of Congressional Entertainment Industries Caucus.
A veteran actor on stage, screen, and radio for 35 years, Mr. Connolly has worked extensively in films and television, appearing in major roles in 15 feature films, ten mini-series and Movies-for-Television, and scores of episodic comedies and dramas.
On television he has played recurring roles on NYPD Blue, West Wing, Will & Grace, General Hospital, Cop Rock, All My Children, As The World Turns, Young and the Restless, and Any Day Now. He currently appears on ABC’s drama Blind Justice, plus numerous guest starring roles on Without a Trace, The Practice, ER, Wings, and Star Trek, among many other TV series. While starring on Billy Crystal’s HBO series, Sessions, Mr. Connolly was nominated for a Cable Ace Award as best actor in a comedy. He is also a veteran of more than 300 commercials, both on and off-camera.
On stage, he has performed at many of the nation’s leading theatres from Broadway to LA, in roles ranging from Shakespeare’s Hamlet to Winston Churchill in Only A Kingdom. On Broadway he appeared as Pap Finn in Big River and the Lion in The Wizard of Oz. He produced the off-Broadway play Fighting Bob, a biography of the progressive icon Senator Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin.
A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Connolly is the oldest of six brothers – the notorious Connolly boys – and is proud to boast some 45 first cousins, testimony sufficient to his Irish Catholic roots. He studied history at LaSalle University and was awarded a fellowship and his Master of Fine Arts in Acting from Temple University’s School of Communications and Theatre. He serves on the School’s Board of Visitors and was named 2001 Distinguished Alumni.
He and his wife, Bronni, live in Hollywood, California with his son, James, a journalist, and two fine rescue dogs, the neurotically human-loving Kate, and the psychotically squirrel-hating Tess.