Joe’s career continued on its upward trajectory in 2014 when he became a member of Actor’s Equity in late December, as a result of his work as Lyman Wyeth in Jon Robin Baitz’s hit play “Other Desert Cities’ at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre. The Walnut Street Theatre is the oldest operating theatre in America. A National Historic Landmark, its stage has been graced by such notable actors as Marlon Brando, George C. Scott, Robert Redford, Henry Fonda, Lauren Bacall, Julie Harris and Katherine Hepburn.
Spring 2013 was a busy time for Joe. In April, he appeared opposite Andrea McArdle (Broadway’s original “Annie” and youngest Tony nominee ever) in a regional theatre production of the Broadway musical Mame. During the run of Mame, he was cast by noted writer-director Abel Ferrara and joined Golden Globe winner Gerard Depardieu and Emmy nominee and Golden Globe winner Jacqueline Bisset in Welcome to New York, a film based on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn 2011 sex scandal. He plays the attorney who succeeded in getting the charges dismissed. The film had its world premiere at Cannes in May, 2014, garnering rave reviews and can currently be seen in 42 countries worldwide. It opens in the United States in late September 2014.
Lawless is the second of two children to Peggy Hickey & Joe Lawless, third generation Irish Americans and had a typical suburban childhood parochial school and crowded classrooms; Little League baseball, Pop Warner football, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
Joe saw his first Broadway show at the age of 10 and was immediately hooked. He was lucky enough to be admitted to St. Joseph’s Prep (a private Jesuit prep school in Philadelphia) where he won the Drama Award at graduation for roles in You Can’t Take it With You, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Music Man, Murder in the Cathedral and as the Devil in J.B. His college performances included The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night, Coriolanus, Richard III and Mrs. Warren’s Profession. Joe also found time to be elected President of Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit schools’ Honors Fraternity.
He then graduated from Villanova Law School, served as an Assistant District Attorney, Special Prosecutor and wrote the bestselling legal treatise, Prosecutorial Misconduct. At the same time, he managed to appear in his first professional productions as Arthur in Camelot, Curley in Oklahoma! and Harold Hill in The Music Man.
Joe then took a long “hiatus” to practice law, successfully try a number of high visibility criminal cases and become a sought after “talking head” on such shows as Nancy Grace, Geraldo at Large and Good Morning America.
At the nudging of some friends, Joe finally returned to acting in Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, as Sherlock Holmes in The Hound of the Baskervilles, followed by Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and A Moon for the Misbegotten. In 2012, he took on the role of Judge Logan and his first feature film, the indie Nightingale.