- NAME: Sam Waterston
- OCCUPATION: Film Actor, Theater Actor, Television Actor
- BIRTH DATE: November 15, 1940 (Age: 73)
- 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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In mid-1972, Waterston took on the roles of Laertes in Hamlet and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Though his rendition of Laertes faced criticism, it didn't keep him away from Shakespeare. In fact in 1975, he took on the role of Hamlet for the New York Shakespeare Festival. At first his Hamlet was not warmly received either,
but by the time the production moved indoors to the Vivian Beaumont Theatre in Lincoln Center Waterston's portrayal was being lauded. Waterston went on to play an unconventional Prospero in The Tempest and Vincentio in Measure for Measure. He had the most critical success, however, in 1972 for his Benedick in A.J. Antoon's production of Much Ado About Nothing at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park, which moved to Broadway later that year. For his role, Waterston earned a Drama Desk Award, a New York Drama Critics Circle Award and an Obie.
Waterston went on to reprise the role of Benedick in a televised version of Much Ado About Nothing. He also played Tom Wingfield in a television production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie, starring Katharine Hepburn. For that role Waterston was nominated for an Emmy for best supporting actor. He had already appeared in several television shows, including Dr. Kildare, N.Y.P.D., and Hawk, and the PBS specials The Good Lieutenant and My Mother's House. More notably Waterston portrayed the title character in the BBC's seven-part Oppenheimer in 1981. For his rendition of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, Waterston was nominated by the British Academy of Film and Television for best actor. He is also well-known for his role as a single father coping with dramatic social change in the 1950s South in the critically well-received series I'll Fly Away (1991 – 93).
On film, Waterston has appeared in Three (1969), Cover Me, Babe (1970) and Who Killed Mary Whats'ername? (1971), as well as James Ivory's Savages (1972). When he played Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby in 1973, Waterston was one of the only actors in the film (including Mia Farrow and Robert Redford) to receive positive reviews. Waterston went on to appear in the films Rancho Deluxe (1975), Dandy, the All-American Girl (1976), and Interiors (1978), as well as Sweet William (1982), Capricorn One (1978), Heaven's Gate (1980) and Hopscotch (1980).
Waterston went back to the stage in 1975 to play Torvald Helmer in Ibsen's A Doll's House and Vershinin in the Manhattan Theatre Club's staging of Chekhov's The Three Sisters in 1982. He also appeared in the comedy Lunch Hour, Gardenia, and Traveler in the Dark. Conveying a gentle yet determined intensity, Waterston also played Abraham Lincoln in a 1993 revival of Abe Lincoln in Illinois, recreating a role he had earlier played in the TV movie, Gore Vidal's Lincoln (1988). Waterston's long and distinguished stage, film, and television career came to a head when he starred in the enormously successful film The Killing Fields in 1984. He was nominated for an Academy Award for best actor.
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