Sam Waterston biography

Miss Sloane

Sam Waterston

Date of Birth: November 15, 1940

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Samuel Atkinson Waterston graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in 1962. Fluent in French, he also spent one year studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. Returning to the States, he began his acting career on the New York stage, then made his film debut in The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean (1965). The same year he made his television debut with two guest shots on the hit series Dr. Kildare, starring Richard Chamberlain. Waterston worked steadily in films, but first received widespread attention in 1973 when he play the role of Tom opposite Katherine Hepburn's Amanda in the ABC television adaptation of The Glass Menagerie. His starring role as Nick Carraway opposite Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby (1974) impressed audiences and critics alike, garnering him his first Golden Globe nomination. Many more film roles followed, including The Killing Fields (1984), for which he received Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations as Best Actor.

Waterston has filmed several TV movies in Canada, including Lantern Hill (1990), based on a novel by Canadian author L.M. Montgomery. For his role in The Matthew Shepard Story (2002), he won a Gemini Award for Best Supporting Actor. Waterston played a Southern lawyer and single father in the critically-acclaimed TV series I'll Fly Away (1991 to 1993), winning a Golden Globe for his performance. He is perhaps best known, however, for his role as Jack McCoy in the long-running TV series Law & Order, for which he won a Screen Actors Guild award, three Emmy nominations and another Golden Globe nomination.

Most recently, Sam made a recurring appearance as Charlie Skinner in the Emmy-winning series The Newsroom, as well as the Netflix comedy series Grace and Frankie. He also earned supporting roles in the drama thrillers Anesthesia (2015) and Miss Sloane (2016).

His eldest son from his first marriage, James Waterston, has followed in his father's footsteps as an actor, making his big screen debut in Dead Poet's Society (1989). The two appeared onstage together in Long Day's Journey into Night and on an episode of Law & Order. Sam Waterston married his second wife, Lynne, in 1975. They live in Connecticut and have three grown children: Elizabeth, Katherine and Graham.

Waterston has been a long-time member of the Board of Directors of Refugees International, an organization that helps refugees gain entry to the United States in order to be safe from persecution.

Sam Waterston Filmography


  • On the Basis of Sex (2018)
  • Miss Sloane (2016)
  • Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
  • The Newsroom: The Complete First Season (2013)
  • Le Divorce (2003)
  • The Commission (2003)
  • The Shadow Conspiracy (1999)
  • The Shadow Conspiracy (1997)
  • The Proprietor (1996)
  • The Journey of August King (1995)
  • Serial Mom (1994)
  • A Dog Race in Alaska (1993)
  • The Man in the Moon (1991)
  • A Captive in the Land (1990)
  • Mindwalk (1990)
  • Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
  • Welcome Home (1989)
  • Hostile Witness (1988)
  • Des Teufels Paradies (1987)
  • In the Hands of the Enemy (1987)
  • September (1987)
  • Swimming to Cambodia (1987)
  • Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
  • Just Between Friends (1986)
  • Flagrant désir (1985)
  • Warning Sign (1985)
  • Killing Fields, The (1984)
  • Heaven's Gate (1980)
  • Hopscotch (1980)
  • Sweet William (1980)
  • Eagle's Wing (1979)
  • Capricorn One (1978)
  • Interiors (1978)
  • Sweet Revenge (1976)
  • Journey Into Fear (1975)
  • Rancho Deluxe (1975)
  • Great Gatsby, The (1974)
  • Mahoney's Estate (1972)
  • Savages (1972)
  • Who Killed Mary What's 'Er Name? (1971)
  • Cover Me Babe (1970)
  • Generation (1969)
  • Three (1969)
  • Fitzwilly (1967)
  • The Plastic Dome of Norma Jean (1965)

Miss Sloane

Genre:  Drama, Thriller
Running Time:  132 min.
Release Date: December 9, 2016
DVD: March 21, 2017
Blu-ray: March 21, 2017

Current rating: Rating: 3.42
based on 86 votes and 33 reviews
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Cast: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jake Lacy, Sam Waterston, John Lithgow, Michael Cram