- NAME: Sam Waterston
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor
- BIRTH DATE: November 15, 1940 (Age: 72)
- EDUCATION: Brooks School, North Andover, Groton School, Yale University, Clinton Playhouse, Sorbonne
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Cambridge, Massachusetts
- Full Name: Samuel Atkinson Waterston
- ZODIAC SIGN: Scorpio
Best Known For
Sam Waterston is an acclaimed actor known for his film, TV and stage work, including roles in Law & Order and Gore Vidal's Lincoln.
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Born on November 15, 1940 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Sam Waterston has forged an acting career onstage and on the big and small screens. He’s appeared in various Woody Allen films, including Hannah and Her Sisters and September, and earned an Oscar nod for his role in The Killing Fields. He’s also starred on the TV series Law & Order and I’ll Fly Away.
Actor Sam Waterston was born on November 15, 1940, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Sam Waterston grew up in New England with his three siblings and parents. His father, George Chychele, emigrated from England and was a semanticist and language teacher in North Andover, Massachusetts. Waterston's mother, Alice Atkinson, was a landscape painter. As a child, he acted in school productions and in plays directed by his father, an amateur dramatist. Waterston made his first stage appearance at age 7 as Creon's page in Jean Anouilh's Antigone, directed by his father.
Before he went to college, Waterston attended the Groton School in Groton, Massachusetts, a prestigious preparatory school, where he continued acting. At Yale University, he studied French and history but couldn't stay away from the theater. He joined the Yale Dramat, the university's dramatic society and performed in many productions, including Oedipus Rex and Waiting for Godot. During the production of Waiting for Godot, Waterston said he had an epiphany — that he must become a professional actor.
But Waterston did not pursue his dream right away. During his junior year, he studied abroad at the University of Paris and even tried to give up acting altogether. It was only a few weeks before he gave in and began taking classes at the American Actors Workshop, organized by John Berry, the expatriate American director, who taught theory based on the techniques of Stanislavsky and Chekhov.
Waterston graduated from Yale in 1962 and spent several months in summer stock at the Clinton (Connecticut) Playhouse, where he again appeared in Waiting for Godot. He then moved to New York City and continued to train professionally. He made his New York debut at the Phoenix Theater late in 1962 in Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad. He went on a national tour with the show, and in August 1963 it moved to Broadway.
In the next decade, Waterston appeared in many plays, including Thistle in My Bed, Colin, The Knack, Maxime Furland's one-act play Fitz, the world premiere of Sam Shepard's La Turista, and Posterity for Sale. On Broadway, Waterston racked up another list of credits, including the hippie son of a crotchety English general in Halfway Up the Tree, the Indian spokesman John Grass in Arthur Kopit's Indians, and the son in a revival of Noel Coward's 1925 comedy Hay Fever. Waterston received especially high critical praise for his role as Thomas Lewis in the chilling courtroom drama The Trial of the Catonsville Nine, which moved to the Lyceum Theatre in June 1971 after several sold-out months off Broadway.
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