Throughout his career John has appeared on the cover of a wide variety of magazines including Soap Opera Digest, TV Guide, and Starlog.
As a cast member of Guiding Light in the early 1980s, John often appeared on-screen shirtless, in a bathing suit, or wrapped in a towel. In the 1990s he appeared in an HBO movie, Strangers, in which he did a nude scene. This whole state of undress caused John's grandmother to ask him, 'Are you ever going to do anything and keep your clothes on?' Shipp jokes that one day someone will tell him to 'keep your shirt on!'
In the early 90s John did double duty on All My Children and in Broadway's Dancing With Lughnasa. Unfortunately, doing both shows took its toll on him and he ruptured a vocal chord, causing the AMC writers to send his character off to a prison for the criminally insane.
John was chosen from a group of 60 different actors to play the lead role in the television series The Flash. His main competition for the part was actor Richard Burgi, who went on to guest star on the show in the episode "Deadly Nightshade".
Douglas Marland, head writer for the CBS soap opera As the World Turns, created the part of "Douglas Cummings" specifically for John. The two had worked together previously on the CBS soap opera Guiding Light.
John attended Indiana University, but dropped out after two years.
John admits that when The Flash was released on DVD in early 2006 he was both shocked and disappointed that he was not approached to provide commentary or interviews for the release. He is, however, very happy with the finished product even without his additional input.
John admits that when his manager first mentioned doing The Flash to him he thought, "Oh God, never!" He soon changed his mind, and played the role throughout the show's entire run of 21 episodes.
John's theater credits include:
- Sit Down and Eat before Our Love Gets Cold
- Safe Sex
- Stopping the Desert
- Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
- The Killing of Michael Malloy
As teenagers, John and his sister would have a party every year for their friends on Christmas Eve. In 1969, members of their community learned that some of the kids attending the party that year were black. When John's father, who was a Baptist Minister at the time, was asked by members of the church to keep his children from having the party, he refused. That night, the Shipp house was riddled with bullets, but thankfully nobody was hurt. John's father, however, was fired the next day. Thirty years later, the community issued a public apology to his father and presented him with the key to the city.
In 1981 John released an album titled Images. He also performs on the album Soap Opera Christmas.
John studied acting with Julie Bovasso at LaMama Theater in New York.
John Wesley Shipp is slightly hearing impaired.
John is 6'1" with brown hair and brown eyes.
John won consecutive Daytime Emmy Awards in 1986 and 1987. The first was for his role of Doug Cummings on As the World Turns in the category of "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series". The second was for his role of Martin Ellis on Santa Barbara in the category of " Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series."
John: (about being on "Guiding Light") There was a big buzz and a lot of excitement about Daytime in those days. It was amazing in New York City how many fireman and policemen would stop you and recognize you, because in the firehouse during the day they'd have the show on. It was just a lot of fun.
John: In and of itself, my time spent on Guiding Light and As the World Turns stands alone. It wasn't just a stepping stone. I think a lot of actors in any media would love to attempt the kind of stories I was playing.
John: (on starring on "The Flash") My first impression was 'No, I don't want to do a television treatment of a super-hero,' because my experience with that had been the old Spider-Man series when somebody held a rope off-camera, and I knew I didn't want to run around in a pair of red tights. But I read the script and thought that this, even free of it's comic book roots, was a character that I would enjoy playing.
John: I love the whole process and experience of acting. I feel blessed to have this for my job.
John: (about starring on "The Flash") It was a great experience for me, it was a great show, it was an exciting show. We got a lot of attention, a lot of critical acclaim. It did a lot for me in my transition from theater and soap opera to prime time.