Sam Waterston

Actor, Producer
An award-winning theater actor since the early 1970s, Sam Waterston became the soul of honesty, compassion and dedication through his portrayals of Abraham Lincoln in "Gore Vidal's Lincoln" (NBC, 1988) and his 16-year ... Read more »
Born: 11/14/1940 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Filmography

Actor (118)

Anesthesia 2015 (Movie)

Walter Zarrow (Actor)

The Newsroom 2011 - 2015 (TV Show)

Actor

Why Now?! 2014 (Movie)

(Actor)

Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen 2013 (Movie)

(Narrator)

Loitering With Intent 2013 (Movie)

(Actor)

Prohibition 2011 - 2012 (TV Show)

Voice

Homicide: Life on the Street 1991 - 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

I'll Fly Away 1991 - 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Law & Order 1994 - 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit 2000, 2007, 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Masters of Science Fiction 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

The 61st Annual Tony Awards 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)

Actor

Law & Order: Trial by Jury 2005 (Tv Show)

Actor

An American Celebration at Ford's Theatre 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Le Divorce 2003 (Movie)

Chester Walker (Actor)

The Commission 2002 (Movie)

Commission General Counsel J. Lee Rankin (Actor)

America's Millennium 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Family Guy 2000 (Tv Show)

Voice

The Great American History Quiz 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

Screen Actors Guild 4th Annual Awards 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Great Gatsby 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Kennedy Center Honors 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The Shadow Conspiracy 1997 (Movie)

President (Actor)

Inca: Secrets of the Ancestors 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Actor

The Proprietor 1996 (Movie)

(Actor)

A Gala For the President at Ford's Theatre 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Aegean: Legacy of Atlantis 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

Africa: A History Denied 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

China: All Power Under the Sky 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

Egypt: Quest For Immortality 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

Greece: A Passion for Perfection 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

Maya: The Blood of Kings 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

Mesopotamia: Return to Eden 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

Rome: The Ultimate Empire 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

The Journey of August King 1995 (Movie)

Mooney Wright (Actor)

Tibet: The End of Time 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Narrator

A Capitol Fourth (1994) 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Assault at West Point 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

I'll Fly Away: Then and Now 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

Serial Mom 1994 (Movie)

Dad--Eugene Sutphin (Actor)

The 51st Annual Golden Globe Awards 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

The Enemy Within 1994 (Movie)

President William Foster (Actor)

The Power of Dreams 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Narrator

50th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

A Captive in the Land 1993 (Movie)

Royce (Actor)

The American Television Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

The 44th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

The Environmental Tourist 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Actor

Mindwalk 1991 (Movie)

Jack Edwards (Actor)

The Man in the Moon 1991 (Movie)

Matthew Trant (Actor)

Night of 100 Stars III 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

A Walk in the Woods 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Crimes and Misdemeanors 1989 (Movie)

Ben (Actor)

Welcome Home 1989 (Movie)

Woody (Actor)

The 42nd Annual Tony Awards 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

The Blessings of Liberty 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Devil's Paradise 1987 (Movie)

Mr Jones (Actor)

Generation at Risk 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

September 1987 (Movie)

Peter (Actor)

Swimming to Cambodia 1987 (Movie)

(Actor)

Flagrant Desir 1986 (Movie)

Gerry Morrison (Actor)

Hannah and Her Sisters 1986 (Movie)

David (Actor)

Just Between Friends 1986 (Movie)

Harry Crandall (Actor)

Liberty Weekend 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

The 40th Annual Tony Awards 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Finnegan Begin Again 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

Warning Sign 1985 (Movie)

Cal Morse (Actor)

The Killing Fields 1984 (Movie)

Sydney Schanberg (Actor)

Q.E.D. 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Heaven's Gate 1980 (Movie)

Frank Canton (Actor)

Hopscotch 1980 (Movie)

Joe Cutter (Actor)

Sweet William 1980 (Movie)

William McClusky (Actor)

Capricorn One 1978 (Movie)

Air Force Lieutenant Peter Willis (Actor)

Interiors 1978 (Movie)

Michael (Actor)

Eagle's Wing 1977 (Movie)

White Bull (Actor)

Dandy, the All American Girl 1975 (Movie)

Philip LeClerq (Actor)

Journey Into Fear 1975 (Movie)

(Actor)

Rancho Deluxe 1975 (Movie)

Cecil Colson (Actor)

The Great Gatsby 1973 (Movie)

Nick Carraway (Actor)

Savages 1972 (Movie)

Man (Actor)

Cover Me Babe 1970 (Movie)

Cameraman (Actor)

Who Killed Mary Whats'ername? 1970 (Movie)

Alex (Actor)

Generation 1969 (Movie)

Desmond (Actor)

Three 1969 (Movie)

Taylor (Actor)

Fitzwilly 1967 (Movie)

Oliver (Actor)

A House Divided (TV Show)

Actor

As Ye Sow (TV Show)

Actor

David's Mother (TV Show)

Actor

Dempsey (TV Show)

Actor

Echoes From the White House (TV Show)

Voice

Friendly Fire (TV Show)

Actor

Gore Vidal's Lincoln (TV Show)

Actor

In Defense of Kids (TV Show)

Actor

Lantern Hill (TV Show)

Actor

Love Lives On (TV Show)

Actor

Miracle at Midnight (TV Show)

Actor

Much Ado About Nothing (TV Show)

Actor

Oppenheimer (TV Show)

Actor

Reflections of Murder (TV Show)

Actor

The Boy Who Loved Trolls (TV Show)

Actor

The Civil War (TV Show)

Voice

The Fifth Missile (TV Show)

Actor

The Glass Menagerie (TV Show)

Actor

The Matthew Shepard Story (TV Show)

Actor

The Nightmare Years (TV Show)

Actor

The Room Upstairs (TV Show)

Actor

Thomas Jefferson (TV Show)

Voice
Producer (1)

The Journey of August King 1995 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

An award-winning theater actor since the early 1970s, Sam Waterston became the soul of honesty, compassion and dedication through his portrayals of Abraham Lincoln in "Gore Vidal's Lincoln" (NBC, 1988) and his 16-year tenure as District Attorney Jack McCoy on "Law and Order" (NBC, 1990-2010). Blessed with a speaking voice that seemed imbued with these same qualities, he found his best showcases in earnest roles that required him to grapple with major issues, like Nick Carraway in "The Great Gatsby" (1974), physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in "Oppenheimer" (PBS, 1980), and journalist Sydney Schanberg in "The Killing Fields" (1984), which earned him an Oscar nomination. Television gave him his most memorable roles - in addition to Lincoln in the Vidal play and in "The Civil War" (PBS, 1990), he was the beloved father and lawyer in "I'll Fly Away" (NBC, 1991-93) and the prickly yet passionate McCoy on "Law and Order" and its many spin-offs. Admired for over four decades by critics, audiences and peers alike, Waterston was a star that eschewed the trappings of fame for the beauty of a great role.

Relationships

Annie Parisse Actor

Child-In-Law

Barbara Rutledge-Johns

Wife

Katherine Waterston Actor

Daughter

Elisabeth Waterston Actor

Daughter

James Waterston Actor

Daughter

George Waterston

Father
Emigrated from Leith, Scotland during the Depression directed Waterston in a production of "Antigone"

Alice Waterston

Mother
Was an American Mayflower descendant

Elizabeth Waterston

Daughter
Mother, Lynn Woodruff

Katherine Waterston

Daughter
Mother, Lynn Woodruff

Graham Waterston

Son
Mother, Lynn Woodruff

James Waterston

Son
Born January 17, 1969 mother, Barbara Rutlegde Johns played Gerard Pitts in Peter Weir's "Dead Poets Society" (1989) acted with father in a stage production of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" (2000)

Lynn Woodruff

Wife
Married Jan. 26, 1976

EDUCATION

Groton School

Groton , Massachusetts

Yale University

New Haven , Connecticut 1958 - 1962
Attended on scholarship; was in Paris from 1960-1961 at the Sorbonne with blacklisted, expatriate American film director John Berry

Brooks School

North Andover , Massachusetts
Boarding school where his father taught

Milestones

2012

Returned to series television on Aaron Sorkin's drama series "The Newsroom" (HBO) as a network news executive

2010

Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

2008

Appeared as Polonius in the Shakespeare in the Park production of "Hamlet"

2003

Appeared in "Le divorce," starring Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts

2002

Co-starred in the NBC TV-movie "The Matthew Shepard Story" as the father of slain college student

2000

Starred with son James Waterston in a production of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" at Syracuse Stage

2000

Produced the Showtime TV-movie "A House Divided"; also co-starred as the plantation owner who fathered a biracial child

1998

Starred as Dr. Karl Koster, a savior of Danish Jews during the Nazi's reign of terror in the fact-based TV-movie "Miracle at Midnight" (ABC)

1998

Featured as McCoy in "Exiled: A Law & Order Movie" (NBC)

1997

Played the U.S. President in the political thriller "Shadow Conspiracy"

1995

Feature film producing debut, "The Journey of August King"; also played small role

1994

Co-starred with Kirstie Alley in the acclaimed TV-movie "David's Mother" (CBS)

1994

Played the mild-mannered husband of Kathleen Turner's "Serial Mom"

1994

Joined the cast of the NBC drama series "Law & Order" as assistant district attorney Jack McCoy, replacing Michael Moriarty; in 2007, his character was promoted to New York district attorney, filling the slot vacated by Fred Thompson's Arthur Branch; earn

1993

Returned to the NYC stage to play Abraham Lincoln in a revival of Robert Sherwood's "Abe Lincoln in Illinois"; received a Tony nomination

1992

Made TV directorial debut with the "Since Walter" episode of "I'll Fly Away" (NBC)

1991

Starred on the NBC drama series "I'll Fly Away"; received Emmy nominations in 1992 and 1993

1991

Co-starred in the period drama "The Man in the Moon," starring a young Reese Witherspoon

1989

Fourth film with Allen, "Crimes and Misdemeanors"

1988

Played Abraham Lincoln in the two-part NBC movie "Gore Vidal's Lincoln"; Mary Tyler Moore co-starred as Mary Todd Lincoln

1988

Starred with Robert Prosky in "A Walk in the Woods," a play dealing with arms negotiation between the U.S. and the USSR

1987

Re-teamed with Allen for the film "September"

1986

Appeared in Woody Allen's "Hannah and Her Sisters"

1985

Co-starred with Mary Tyler Moore and Robert Preston in the HBO romance "Finnegan Begin Again"

1985

Acted on Broadway in "Benefactors" alongside Glenn Close and Mary Beth Hurt

1984

Received Best Actor Oscar nomination for his leading role as an American journalist in Cambodia in the feature film "The Killing Fields"

1982

Played physicist Quentin E. Deverill on the short-lived CBS adventure series "Q.E.D."

1982

Played physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in the seven-part PBS miniseries "Oppenheimer"

1980

Featured in "Hopscotch" and Michael Cimino's disastrous "Heaven's Gate"

1980

Co-starred in the Broadway comedy "Lunch Hour"

1979

Returned to TV-movies after five years to star opposite Carol Burnett and Ned Beatty in the acclaimed ABC drama "Friendly Fire"

1979

Played title role in the feature "Sweet William"

1978

Made first appearance in a Woody Allen film with a role in "Interiors"

1976

Acted in the features "Journey Into Fear" and "Dandy, the All American Girl"

1975

Landed title role in the NYSF production of "Hamlet"

1974

Co-starred with Tuesday Weld in the TV-movie "Reflections on a Murder"

1974

First came to attention in a major film "The Great Gatsby"; played the narrator Nick Carraway; initial film collaboration with Mia Farrow

1973

Made first TV-movie; played Tom in an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" (ABC), starring Katharine Hepburn; garnered first Emmy nomination

1972

Starred opposite Kathleen Widdoes in NYSF Central Park production of "Much Ado About Nothing"; later moved to Broadway (aired on CBS in 1974)

1970

Had featured role in the off-Broadway play "The Trial of the Catonsville Nine"

1968

Starred in Kopit's play "Indians"

1968

Cast as Prince Hal in the NYSF productions of "Henry IV, Part I" and "Henry IV, Part II"

1967

First released feature, "Fitzwilly"

1965

Made film debut in the unreleased feature "The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean"

1964

First appeared on television in "Camera Three" (CBS)

1963

Made Broadway debut in Arthur Kopit's "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad"

1963

First appearance with the New York Shakespeare Festival (NYSF) in "As You Like It"

1947

Made stage debut at age six as the Page in Jean Anouilh's "Antigone"; directed by his father

Bonus Trivia

.

When asked about being called "the thinking man's actor," Waterston responded: "Probably it's because I speak in blurry, incomplete sentences. It's so hard for people to figure out what I mean that they think it must be deep." – from New York Newsday, Nov. 28, 1993

.

On his stage debut, at age six: "I still remember all the bright lights on the stage and the dark theater. It seemed like magic to me. It still does." – Waterston quoted in New York Newsday, Nov. 28, 1993

.

Waterston received the 1996 William Shakespeare Award for Classical Theatre presented by The Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, DC.

.

In 2002, Waterston and fellow "Law & Order" castmate Jerry Orbach were honored as "Living Landmarks" by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

SIMILAR ARTICLES