Born in Chapel Hill, NC, in 1946, Loudon Wainwright III came to fame when “Dead Skunk” became a Top 20 hit in 1972. He studied acting at Carnegie-Mellon University but dropped out to partake in the Summer of Love in San Francisco, where he wrote his first song in 1968.
He was soon signed to Atlantic Records by Nesuhi Ertegun and was eventually lured by Clive Davis to Columbia Records, which released “Dead Skunk.” His songs have since been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, his son Rufus Wainwright, and Mose Allison, among others. In 2011, they were commemorated by the comprehensive five-disc retrospective, '40 Odd Years.'
Additionally, Wainwright has co-written with songwriter/producer Joe Henry on the music for Judd Apatow’s hit movie 'Knocked Up,' written music for the British theatrical adaptation of the Carl Hiaasen novel 'Lucky You,' and composed topical songs for NPR’s 'Morning Edition' and 'All Things Considered' and ABC’s 'Nightline.' An accomplished actor, he has appeared in films directed by Martin Scorsese, Hal Ashby, Christopher Guest, Tim Burton, Cameron Crowe, Judd Apatow, and Steven Soderbergh.
Wainwright has also starred on TV in 'M.A.S.H.' and 'Undeclared' and on Broadway in 'Pump Boys' and 'Dinettes.' Most recently, he appeared in Soderbergh’s film, 'Mosaic,' and has been performing a one-man theatrical show, 'Surviving Twin,' which combines his songs and the writings of his late father.