Jan. 26th, 1949
San Francisco, California, USA
David Strathairn's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2009 - The Uninvited
2009 - The People Speak
2009 - Cold Souls
2008 - The Spiderwick Chronicles
2007 - The Bourne Ultimatum
2007 - My Blueberry Nights
2007 - Fracture
2006 - Steel Toes
2006 - We Are Marshall
2005 - Missing in America
2005 - The Notorious Bettie Page
2005 - Good Night, and Good Luck
1999 - A Midsummer Night's Dream
1998 - Simon Birch
1997 - Bad Manners
1997 - L.A. Confidential
1996 - Mother Night
1995 - Home for the Holidays
1995 - Losing Isaiah
1995 - Dolores Claiborne
1993 - The Firm
1993 - Lost in Yonkers
1992 - A League of Their Own
1992 - Big Girls Don't Cry... They Get Even
1992 - Passion Fish
1992 - Bob Roberts
1992 - Sneakers
1991 - City of Hope
1990 - Memphis Belle
1988 - Call Me
1988 - Eight Men Out
1987 - Matewan
1986 - At Close Range
1984 - The Brother From Another Planet
1984 - Iceman
1983 - Silkwood
1900 - Heavens Fall
Guest TV Roles
Sheriff Matthew Stemkowski
David Strathairn was born on January 26, 1949 in San Francisco, California. His father was a physician and he has one sibling, a brother Tom. He attended Williams College, where he demonstrated great interest in the theater, and first befriended John Sayles, with whom he would later frequently collaborate. Strathairn graduated college and traveled to Florida to visit with a grandfather, but the grandfather passed away while Strathairn was en route. Strathairn, finding himself freshly-arrived and without friends in Florida, decided instead to join the Ringling Brothers Clown College and subsequently worked as a clown for six months in a traveling circus.
Relocating to New York State, he spent several years hitchhiking across America to work in local theaters during the summers. During one of these summers Strathairn reunited with Sayles, and this eventually resulted in his role in the highly regarded Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980), Sayle's directorial debut.
Thereafter Strathairn developed an extensive resume of supporting roles, which have become increasingly substantial as his stature in the industry has grown. Only a few examples of his work include an off-beat patient of the psychiatrist played by Dudley Moore in the romantic comedy Lovesick (1983), in Silkwood (1983) as Welsey, in L.A. Confidential (1997) as the enigmatic millionaire Pierce Patchett, and in A Map of the World (1999) as Howard, the husband of Sigourney Weaver's character. Sayles frequently casts Strathairn, whose performances can be seen in Sayles' The Brother from Another Planet (1984), Matewan (1987), Eight Men Out (1988), City of Hope (1991), and Passion Fish (1992). Perhaps most notable of his collaborations with Sayles is his superb performance co-starring with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in Limbo (1999).
He works in television occasionally and may be familiar to television viewers as Molly's boss in the series "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (1987).
Strathairn continues to be one of the most active male supporting actors in American film today, his work is highly regarded, and he can be counted on to deliver an understated yet powerful performance. His craggy, unorthodox good looks are perhaps attributable to his mixed Scottish and Hawaiian ancestry. Strathairn lives with his wife Logan and two children in Upstate New York.
- Attended Williams College with director 'John Sayles' (qv), who regularly casts Straithairn in his films.
- Recently filmed an 'Edward R. Murrow' (qv)-esque campaign ad for Kirsten Gillibrand's congressional campaign in New York's 20th District, his Congressional District.
- Last name is pronounced struh-THAIRN.
- Invited to join AMPAS in 2006.
- Went to Williams College in Williamstown, MA. and Ringling Bros. Clown College, FL.
- Father of 'Tay Strathairn' (qv) and Ebbe Strathairn (born 1987).
- He is of Scottish and Hawaiian extraction
- Has played Joseph Mazzello's father in two films: The River Wild and Simon Birch.