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.

  • (2001) Received honorary degree from Yale.
  • Once lived in a house previously owned by New Yorker writer 'James Thurber' (qv).
  • He attended Groton Prep School and then entered Yale University on a scholarship in 1958 where he studied French and History and graduated with a BA in 1962. He spent his junior year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. After failing to quash the acting bug he studied at the American Actors Workshop in Paris. After leaving Yale he spent some months at the Clinton Playhouse. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and four children, 'Elisabeth Waterston' (qv), 'Katherine Waterston' (qv), Graham Waterston and 'James Waterston' (qv).
  • Son of George Chychele Waterston aka G. Chychele Waterston or George C. Waterston (b. Leith, Scotland, 20 May 1904, d. Sharon, Connecticut, 13 May 1995), diplomat, linguist, and wife (m. Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, 6 July 1935) Alice Tucker Atkinson (b. Brookline, Massachusetts, 10 Dec 1905, d. Sharon, Connecticut, 29 Nov 1993), and maternal grandson of musician Robert Whitman Atkinson (b. Heath Street, Brookline, Massachusetts, 14 Dec 1868, d. Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, 21 Aug 1934), Harvard 1891, and wife (m. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 5 Mar 1904) Elizabeth Bispham Page (b. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 27 Mar 1875, d. Middleborough, Massachusetts, Jan 1962).
  • Was nominated for Broadway's 1994 Tony Award as Best Actor (Play) for playing 'Abraham Lincoln (I)' (qv)in a revival of 'Robert E. Sherwood (I)' (qv)'s "Abe Lincoln in Illinois.".
  • 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).
  • Has appeared in episodes of three different television series with 'Jesse L. Martin' (qv): _"Law & Order" (1990)_ (qv), _"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999)_ (qv) and _"Law & Order: Trial by Jury" (2005)_ (qv).
  • Direct descendant of Richard Warren and wife Elizabeth Walker, Mayflower passengers.

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