William Atherton

Actor
A pale, fair-haired, lanky performer, William Atherton first distinguished himself in the theater. After becoming the youngest member of the Long Wharf Theater Company (New Haven, Connecticut) while still a high school ... Read more »
Born: 07/29/1947 in Orange, Connecticut, USA

Filmography

Actor (73)

Butterfly Legend 2014 (Movie)

Arthur (Actor)

Defiance 2014 (Tv Show)

Actor

Jinn 2014 (Movie)

Father Westhoff (Actor)

Childrens Hospital 2013 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Citizen 2013 (Movie)

Winston (Actor)

Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie 2012 (Movie)

Earle Swinter (Actor)

Workaholics 2012 (Tv Show)

Actor

Castle 2011 (Tv Show)

Actor

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

Actor

Lost 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Glades 2010 (Tv Show)

Actor

Life 2008 - 2009 (Tv Show)

Actor

Ghouls 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Monk 2008 (Tv Show)

Actor

Towards Darkness 2008 (Movie)

John King (Actor)

Numb3rs 2007 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Girl Next Door 2007 (Movie)

David Moran as an adult (Actor)

Totally Baked: A Pot-u-mentary 2007 (Movie)

Lyle Funonion (Actor)

Desperate Housewives 2006 (Tv Show)

Actor

Gone, But Not Forgotten 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Actor

Headspace 2006 (Movie)

Dr. Ira Gold (Actor)

Stargate SG-1 2006 (Tv Show)

Actor

Boston Legal 2005 (Tv Show)

Actor

Into the Sun 2005 (Movie)

Block (Actor)

Law & Order 1985 - 1987, 1991 - 1992, 1997 - 2002, 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Last Samurai 2003 (Movie)

Winchester Rep (Actor)

Race To Space 2002 (Movie)

Stanton (Actor)

Bread and Roses 2001 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Night Visions 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Who's Your Daddy? 2001 (Movie)

Uncle Duncan (Actor)

Murder, She Wrote 1985 - 1987, 1991 - 1992, 1999 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

The Crow: Salvation 2000 (Movie)

Nathan Randall (Actor)

The Practice 1985 - 1987, 1991 - 1992, 1997 - 2000 (Tv Show)

Actor

Executive Power 1997 (Movie)

President Fields (Actor)

Hoodlum 1997 (Movie)

Thomas E Dewey (Actor)

Mad City 1997 (Movie)

Dohlen (Actor)

Michael Kael vs. The World News Company 1997 (Movie)

James Denit (Actor)

Bio-Dome 1996 (Movie)

Dr Noah Faulkner (Actor)

Saints and Sinners 1996 (Movie)

McCone (Actor)

Frank and Jesse 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Robin Cook's Virus 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

The Pelican Brief 1993 (Movie)

Bob Gminski (Actor)

Easel Kill 'Ya 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

Oscar 1991 (Movie)

Overton (Actor)

Buried Alive 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Die Hard 2: Die Harder 1990 (Movie)

Dick Thornberg (Actor)

Grim Prairie Tales 1990 (Movie)

Arthur (Actor)

Intrigue 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Actor

Die Hard 1988 (Movie)

Thornburg (Actor)

The Law and Harry McGraw 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

No Mercy 1986 (Movie)

Allan Deveneux (Actor)

Real Genius 1985 (Movie)

Professor Jerome Hathaway (Actor)

Ghostbusters 1984 (Movie)

Walter Peck (Actor)

Looking For Mr. Goodbar 1977 (Movie)

James Morrissey (Actor)

Independence 1975 (Movie)

Benjamin Rush (Actor)

The Day of the Locust 1974 (Movie)

Tod (Actor)

The Hindenburg 1974 (Movie)

Boerth (Actor)

The Sugarland Express 1974 (Movie)

Clovis Poplin (Actor)

Class of '44 1973 (Movie)

Fraternity President (Actor)

The New Centurions 1971 (Movie)

(Actor)

A Fight For Jenny (TV Show)

Actor

Aces 'N' Eights (TV Show)

Actor

Broken Trust (TV Show)

Actor

Centennial (TV Show)

Actor

Chrome Soldiers (TV Show)

Actor

Diagnosis of Murder (TV Show)

Actor

Intrigue (Movie)

(Actor)

Jersey Shore Shark Attack (TV Show)

Actor

Malibu (TV Show)

Actor

Raven Hawk (TV Show)

Actor

Tomorrow's Child (TV Show)

Actor

Biography

A pale, fair-haired, lanky performer, William Atherton first distinguished himself in the theater. After becoming the youngest member of the Long Wharf Theater Company (New Haven, Connecticut) while still a high school student, he went on to off-Broadway where he originated the part of Ronnie Shaughnessy in John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves", as well as the title roles of David Rabe's "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel" (both 1971) and David Wiltse's "Suggs in the City" (1972). That year also saw him make his Broadway debut in the short-lived "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window" and his feature debut in "The New Centurions". Often cast as weaklings or high-strung characters, Atherton attracted attention as the likably charismatic escaped convict husband of Goldie Hawn in Steven Spielberg's "The Sugarland Express" (1974) and struck the correct balance of ambition and bewilderment as the aspiring art director whose perceptions of Hollywood shape John Schlesinger's "The Day of the Locust" (1975). He also turned up as a persistent suitor of Diane Keaton in "Looking For Mr. Goodbar" (1977), his last feature for seven years.

Relationships

Robert Atherton Knight

Father

Myrtle Knight

Mother

Bobbi Goldin

Wife
married on December 8, 1980

EDUCATION

Carnegie Institute of Technology

Pittsburgh , Pennsylvania 1969
school renamed Carnegie-Mellon University

Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena , California
attended on scholarship

Milestones

1999

Portrayed Darryl Zanuck in Martha Coolidge's "Introducing Dorothy Dandridge" (HBO)

1998

Essayed pathetically hormonal US President in routine thriller "Executive Power"

1997

Returned to journalistic mode as an arrogant TV newscaster in Costa-Gavras' "Mad City"

1997

Played New York state prosecutor Thomas E Dewey in "Hoodlum"

1996

Co-starred as Dr. Noah Faulkner, the head of the environmentally-controlled scientific community called "Bio-Dome"

1995

Portrayed Allan Pinkerton in "Frank and Jesse" (HBO)

1993

Appeared in "The Pelican Brief"

1992

Delivered an assured performance as the corrupt sheriff in "Chrome Soldiers" (USA Network)

1990

Reprised role of Thornburg in "Die Hard 2: Die Harder"

1988

Created role of newscaster Dick Thornburg in "Die Hard"

1984

Co-starred in "Ghostbusters" as the butt of perhaps Bill Murray's funniest line

1983

Back on Broadway as Lieutenant Commander John Challee in revival of Herman Wouk's "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial"

1980

Returned to Broadway in Arthur Miller's "The American Clock"

1978

Performed in one-man show, "William Atherton: Acting, Ethics, Person"

1978

TV miniseries debut, "Centennial" (NBC)

1977

Cast as Diane Keaton's beau in "Looking for Mr. Goodbar"

1976

Acted the part of Bing Ringling in New York Shakespeare Festival production of Guare's "Rich and Famous"

1975

Played saboteur who planted the bomb on "The Hindenberg"

1975

Portrayed a budding art director smitten by aspiring starlet Karen Black in "The Day of the Locust"

1974

Sang "What'll I Do?" behind title credits for "The Great Gatsby"

1974

Gained critical attention for his work opposite Goldie Hawn in Steven Spielberg's "The Sugarland Express"

1972

Broadway debut, "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window"

1972

Created title role of David Wiltse's "Suggs in the City" on stage

1972

Screen acting debut in "The New Centurions"

1970

Portrayed Ronnie Shaughnessy in original off-Broadway production of John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves"

1970

Originated title role in off-Broadway production of David Rabe's "The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel"

1964

Stage debut in "The Boy Friend" at the Clinton (Connecticut) Playhouse

Bonus Trivia

.

After Peck (Atherton) charges the Ghostbusters with fraudulently staging the psychic disturbances, Stantz (Dan Aykroyd) proclaims: "Everything was fine with our system until the power grid was shut off by 'dickless' (Atherton) here." When Peck responds by accusing them of causing the explosion, the mayor (David Margulies) asks, "Is this true?" Venkmen (Bill Murray) replies: "Yes, it's true. This man has no dick." Peck lunges wildly at Venkman, and only after several frantic moments is calm restored to the office. "Well, that's what I heard," Venkman adds quietly. --from "Making Ghostbusters", edited by Don Shay

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