Sam Waterston

Sam Waterston

Nov. 15th, 1940
Born in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
6' 1

Sam Waterston's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Law & Order TV Show
Law & Order
The Newsroom TV Show
The Newsroom
Masters of Science Fiction TV Show
Masters of Science Fiction
Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light TV Show
Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light
I'll Fly Away TV Show
I'll Fly Away
Hawk TV Show
Oppenheimer (UK) TV Show
Oppenheimer (UK)
Q.E.D. TV Show

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Samuel Atkinson "Sam" Waterston (born November 15, 1940) is an American actor, producer and director. Among other roles, he is noted for his Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Sydney Schanberg in The Killing Fields (1984), and his Golden Globe-nominated and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning portrayal of Jack McCoy on the NBC television series Law & Order. He has been nominated for multiple Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, BAFTA and Emmy awards, having starred in over eighty film and television productions during his fifty-year career. Allmovie has characterised Waterston as having "cultivated a loyal following with his quietly charismatic, unfailingly solid performances".

In January 2010, Waterston received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Two years later, in 2012, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

Waterston, the third of four siblings (Roberta, George, and Ellen), was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His mother, Alice Tucker (née Atkinson), a landscape painter, was of English ancestry, and a descendant of Mayflower passengers. His father, George Chychele Waterston, was an immigrant from Leith, Scotland, and a semanticist and language teacher.

Waterston attended both the Brooks School, a boarding school in North Andover, Massachusetts, where his father taught; and the Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts. He entered Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, on a scholarship in 1958 and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1962. After graduating from Yale, he attended the Clinton Playhouse for several months. Waterston also attended the Sorbonne in Paris and the American Actors Workshop.

Waterston's film credits include Hopscotch, Man in the Moon, The Shadow Conspiracy, John Waters' Serial Mom, Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie and the Woody Allen films September, Interiors, Hannah and Her Sisters and Crimes and Misdemeanors.

  • Eight cousin three times removed of 'George Bush (I)' (qv) and four times removed of 'George W. Bush' (qv) and eighth cousin of 'Franklin Delano Roosevelt' (qv).
  • Once lived in a house previously owned by New Yorker writer 'James Thurber' (qv).
  • Has appeared in episodes of four different series with 'Richard Belzer' (qv): _"Law & Order" (1990)_ (qv), _"Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993)_ (qv), _"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999)_ (qv) and _"Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005)_ (qv).
  • Both he and his _Rancho Deluxe (1975)_ (qv) and _Heaven's Gate (1980)_ (qv) co-star 'Jeff Bridges (I)' (qv) were Oscar nominated for Best Actor in 1984, for _The Killing Fields (1984)_ (qv) and _Starman (1984)_ (qv) respectively.
  • Has the distinction of starring in two television series in which he played a prosecutor--D.A. Forrest Bedford in _"I'll Fly Away" (1991)_ (qv) and E.A.D.A. Jack McCoy in _"Law & Order" (1990)_ (qv).
  • He received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from The University of the South on October 12, 2004
  • Voices the TV ad for "The Nation", a political commentary magazine with a progressive viewpoint. Included is the line "The Nation gives you that liberal media slant you can't get anywhere else".
  • Has a summer home in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts.

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