SAM WATERSTON Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Samuel Atkinson Waterston                                                         
Born: 15 November 1940 Cambridge, Mass., U.S.A.                                         
Samuel Atkinson Waterston (born November 15, 1940) is an Academy Award-nominated       
American actor noted particularly for his portrayal of Jack McCoy on the long-running   
NBC television series Law & Order. He has also appeared in many feature films.         
Waterston, one of four siblings, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His             
father, George Chychele Waterston, was an immigrant from Leith, Scotland and was       
a semanticist and language teacher. His mother, Alice Tucker Atkinson, was an           
American Mayflower descendant and worked as a landscape painter. Waterston             
attended both the Brooks School, a boarding school in North Andover,                   
Massachusetts, and the Groton School. He entered Yale University on a                   
scholarship in 1958 and graduated with a BA 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.                                 
Long before Jack McCoy, Sam Waterston played an award-winning Benedict in Joseph       
Papp's production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. He was also an               
impressive Hamlet. In fact, the classically trained Waterston has quite a few           
stage credits to his name. He continues live theater work during the summers,           
often seen acting at places like Longwharf Theater and the Yale "Rep" in New           
Haven. Waterston made his film debut in Fitzwilly in 1967. He starred with             
Katharine Hepburn in a 1973 TV movie adaptation of Tennessee Williams' The Glass       
Menagerie. The film also featured Michael Moriarty. Coincidentally, Waterston           
replaced Moriarty as the Executive Assistant District Attorney many years later         
on Law & Order. Other films include Savages (1972), The Great Gatsby (1974),           
Journey Into Fear (1975), Capricorn One (1978), Heaven's Gate and Hopscotch (1980),     
The Killing Fields (1984, nominated Academy Award for Best Actor), Mindwalk (1990),     
Serial Mom (1994) and Woody Allen's Interiors (1978), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986,     
cameo), and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989). Waterston is a six-time Emmy Award         
nominee as well as a winner of the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards.         
Aside from Law & Order, he has played other television roles including D.A.             
Forrest Bedford in I'll Fly Away. He also had a starring role in an episode             
segment on the TV series Amazing Stories called "Mirror Mirror". He is also on         
the Advisory Committee for the Lincoln Bicentennial, celebrating Abraham Lincoln's     
200th birthday. Waterston has portrayed Lincoln on stage and screen (The Civil         
War, Gore Vidal's Lincoln, Abe Lincoln in Illinois on Broadway, voiced Lincoln         
in an exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, and delivered       
Lincoln's Cooper Union speech May 5, 2004, which is available from C-SPAN.)             
Waterston has appeared in episodes of four different series with Richard Belzer:       
Law & Order, Homicide: Life on the Street, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and       
Law & Order: Trial by Jury. He also made a popular cameo appearance on an               
episode of Saturday Night Live as himself, extolling the virtues of Old Glory           
Insurance, meant to protect the user from robot attacks.                               
Waterston lent his voice to the popular animated television series Family Guy           
where he played Dr. Kaplan, the psychiatrist Brian Griffin consulted during his         
mid-life crisis in the episode "Brian in Love". His character, Dr. Kaplan, was         
modeled to look like Waterston. He was Dr. Kaplan's voice in the episode "Road         
to Rhode Island", but he is not credited in any other episode in which the             
character appears. Waterston also narrated NBC's documentary, The Great Race,           
the story of the famous 4 x 10-kilometer cross-country relay at the 1994 Winter         
Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, which Italy won over the host nation. The             
special aired during NBC's coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy,       
on February 18, the day before the 2006 relay took place, which was also won by         
Italy, though in dominant fashion, unlike the 1994 event. He added partial             
narration to PBS's documentary, Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of             
Discovery, serving as the voice of Thomas Jefferson. He also appeared in the           
first episode of ABC's Masters of Science Fiction, playing an amnesiac in the           
episode "A Clean Escape."                                                               
Waterston appeared on the 5,100th edition of Jeopardy!, on November 10, 2006,           
with Kathryn Erbe of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Christopher Meloni of Law         
& Order: Special Victims Unit. Waterston finished second to Meloni, and received       
a $25,000 prize, which he donated to Refugees International and Oceana.                 
Waterston is regularly featured in television advertisements for Toronto-Dominion       
Bank's TD Ameritrade (formerly TD Waterhouse, the bank's investment arm). He           
replaced former Law & Order castmate Steven Hill as TD's spokesman. Also, he has       
lent his voice to an ad for The Nation.                                                 
Waterston has also appeared in a recurring segment on The Colbert Report, called       
Sam Waterston Says Things You Should Never Believe In A Trustworthy Manner. The         
segments usually involve Waterston simply stating an obviously untrue film quote       
in a very convincing voice.