Sam Waterston - Rotten Tomatoes

Sam Waterston



Educated at Yale and the Sorbonne, Sam Waterston, born November 15th, 1940, is far more than the "general purpose actor" he was pegged to be by one well-known film historian. A respected player on the stage, screen, and television, Waterston has cultivated a loyal following with his quietly charismatic, unfailingly solid performances.



After beginning his career on the New York stage -- where he has continued to perform throughout his long career -- Waterston made his film debut in The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean in 1966. For a long time, his film career was not nearly as remarkable as his work on the stage and television, although non-New York audiences were made acutely aware of the depth and breadth of Waterston's talents when, in 1973, he starred in the television adaptation The Glass Menagerie (appearing alongside Katherine Hepburn) and -- also on TV -- in Tony Richardson's A Delicate Balance. The following year, the actor further impressed television audiences when he starred as Benedick in the CBS TV adaptation of Joseph Papp's staging of Much Ado About Nothing.

Also in 1974, Waterston proved to be the best of the screen's Nick Carraways when he was cast in that expository role in the The Great Gatsby; subsequent films ranged from the midnight-movie favorite Rancho Deluxe (1975) to the unmitigated disaster Heaven's Gate (1981). In the late '70s, Waterston was "adopted" by Woody Allen, joining the director's ever-increasing unofficial stock company for such films as Interiors (1978), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), September (1987), and Crimes and Misdemeanors. Waterston was nominated for an Academy award for his powerful portrayal of a conscience-stricken American journalist in The Killing Fields (1984); three years later he appeared in Swimming to Cambodia, Spalding Gray's acclaimed documentary about the making of the film. Subsequent film appearances included a turn as Kathleen Turner's hilariously timid husband in Serial Mom (1994) and a role in Ismail Merchant's The Proprietor in 1996.



However, Waterston has continued to make his greatest mark on television, starring in the acclaimed The Nightmare Years in 1989 and in the similarly lauded series I'll Fly Away and Law & Order. In addition, he has gained a certain amount of fame playing Abraham Lincoln multiple times: In 1988, he starred in Gore Vidal's Lincoln on television, while he won a Tony nod playing him in the Lincoln Center production of Abe Lincoln in Illinois and supplied the president's voice for Ken Burns' documentary The Civil War.



Though Waterson is most recognizable for his work in Law & Order, he took on a variety of other television roles throughout the 1990s and 2000s, among them including a turn as the District Attorney Forrest Bedford in I'll Fly Away (the role would win him an Golden Globe). In 2012, Waterson joined the cast of HBO's The Newsroom.

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Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
70% Miss Sloane
  • George Dupont
2016
29% Anesthesia
  • Walter Zarrow
2016
No Score Yet Please Be Normal
  • Dad
2015
32% Loitering With Intent
  • Himself
2015
No Score Yet Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen
  • Narrator
2013
No Score Yet Jewish Soldiers in Blue & Gray
  • Abraham Lincoln
2011
No Score Yet Masters of Science Fiction
  • Havelman
2007
No Score Yet Friendly Fire
  • Actor
2006
37% Le Divorce
  • Chester Walker
2003
No Score Yet The Matthew Shepard Story
  • Dennis Shepard
2002
No Score Yet Much Ado About Nothing
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Echoes from the White House
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet A House Divided
  • Producer
  • David Dickson
2000
No Score Yet Exiled (Exiled: A Law & Order Movie)
  • Jack McCoy
1998
No Score Yet Miracle at Midnight
  • Dr. Karl Koster
1998
0% Shadow Conspiracy
  • The President
1997
No Score Yet The Proprietor
  • Harry Bancroft
1996
57% The Journey of August King
  • Mooney Wright
  • Producer
1996
No Score Yet Lost Civilizations - Complete Set
  • Actor
1995
No Score Yet The Enemy Within
  • President Foster
1994
60% Serial Mom
  • Eugene Sutphin
1994
No Score Yet David's Mother
  • John
1994
No Score Yet Assault at West Point
  • Daniel Chamberlain
1994
No Score Yet Terrorist on Trial: The U. S. vs. Salim Ajami
  • Jim Delmore
1993
89% The Man in the Moon
  • Matthew
1991
No Score Yet A Captive in the Land
  • Royce
1991
No Score Yet Lantern Hill (Jane of Lantern Hill)
  • Andrew Stuart
1990
88% Mindwalk
  • Jack Edwards
1990
93% Crimes and Misdemeanors
  • Ben
1989
No Score Yet The Nightmare Years
  • Actor
1989
No Score Yet Welcome Home
  • Woody
1989
No Score Yet Gore Vidal's 'Lincoln'
  • Abraham Lincoln
1988
No Score Yet Terrorist on Trial: The United States vs. Salim Ajami (Hostile Witness)
  • Actor
1988
58% September
  • Peter
1987
No Score Yet The Room Upstairs
  • Travis Coles
1987
100% Swimming To Cambodia
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Thomas Eakins: A Motion Portrait
  • Actor
1987
33% Just Between Friends
  • Harry Crandall
1986
93% Hannah and Her Sisters
  • David
1986
No Score Yet Views of a Vanishing Frontier
  • Narrator
1986
20% Warning Sign
  • Cal Morse
1985
93% The Killing Fields
  • Sydney Schanberg
1984
No Score Yet Finnegan Begin Again
  • Paul Broadbent
1984
No Score Yet Dempsey
  • Doc Kearns
1983
No Score Yet In Defense of Kids
  • Actor
1983
No Score Yet Mastermind: Target London
  • Actor
1982
No Score Yet Mastermind: The Great Motor Race
  • Actor
1982
No Score Yet Mastermind: The Infernal Device
  • Actor
1982
57% Heaven's Gate
  • Frank Canton
1980
75% Hopscotch
  • Cutter
1980
No Score Yet Eagle's Wing
  • White Bull
1979
No Score Yet Friendly Fire
  • C.D. Bryan
1979
No Score Yet Sweet William
  • William McClusky
1979
77% Interiors
  • Mike
1978
61% Capricorn One
  • Peter Willis
1978
No Score Yet Sweet Revenge (Dandy, the All American Girl)
  • Le Clerq
1976
No Score Yet Journey Into Fear (Burn Out)
  • Graham
1975
69% Rancho Deluxe
  • Cecil Colson
1975
39% The Great Gatsby
  • Nick Carraway
1974
No Score Yet Reflections of Murder
  • Michael Elliott
1974
No Score Yet The Glass Menagerie
  • Tom Wingfield
1973
No Score Yet A Delicate Balance
  • Actor
1973
40% Savages
  • James
1972
No Score Yet Death of a Hooker
  • Actor
1971
No Score Yet Who Killed Mary Whats'ername?
  • Alex
1971
No Score Yet Cover Me Babe
  • Cameraman
1970
No Score Yet Three
  • Taylor
1969
No Score Yet Generation
  • Desmond
1969
No Score Yet Fitzwilly
  • Oliver
1967

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
63% The Newsroom
2012-2014
  • Charlie Skinner
No Score Yet Live From Lincoln Center
2000
  • Host
No Score Yet Law & Order
1990-2010
  • DA Jack McCoy ADA Jack McCoy ADA Jack Mccoy Jack McCoy
No Score Yet Family Guy
1999
  • Voice
No Score Yet Art in the Twenty-First Century
2001-2016
  • Appearing
No Score Yet Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
1999
  • DA Jack McCoy McCoy
72% Grace and Frankie
2015
  • Sol
No Score Yet The View
1997
  • Guest

Quotes from Sam Waterston's Characters