skip navigation
David Strathairn

David Strathairn

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

No God No Master ... When a series of package bombs show up on the doorsteps of prominent politicians... more info $19.95was $26.95 Buy Now

Steel Toes ... Andrew Walker, David Strathairn. A harrowing account of the harshness of the... more info $17.95was $24.95 Buy Now

Sensation of Sight ... David Strathairn-an Oscar nominee for GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK-turns his... more info $17.95was $24.95 Buy Now

Cold Souls ... In this surreal comedy, Paul Giamatti plays an actor named... Paul Giamatti.... more info $11.95was $14.98 Buy Now

Whistleblower ... Academy Award® Winners Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave head a powerful cast... more info $11.95was $14.98 Buy Now

Also Known As: David Russell Strathairn Died:
Born: January 26, 1949 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: San Francisco, California, USA Profession: actor, clown

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

998).Strathairn was seen in numerous projects throughout 1999. He played the friend of a character actor (Robert Costanzo) who, along with two other acting buddies (Adam Arkin and Jon Tenney), compete for the role of a lifetime â¿¿ playing Al Capone in an upcoming Martin Scorsese film â¿¿ in the comedy feature, "With Friends Like These." A role as Duke Theseus in the contemporary take on "William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream" was followed by another collaboration with Sayles in the complicated and ambiguous thriller, "Limbo." Strathairn played Joe Gastineau, a man twice thwarted by fate â¿¿ an injury ended his accomplished basketball career and a boating accident killed two friends and ended his career as a fisherman. Sleepwalking through life as a handyman in Juneau, Alaska, J is reawakened by a barroom singer with her own disappointing life (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Wrapping up the year, Strathairn had a supporting role in Showtime's "Song of Hiawatha," then played a novice farmer in rural Wisconsin whose wife (Sigourney Weaver) is accused of sexually abusing the neighbor's son in "A Map of the World."After appearing in the Civil Rights drama, "Freedom Song" (TNT, 2000), Strathairn...

998).

Strathairn was seen in numerous projects throughout 1999. He played the friend of a character actor (Robert Costanzo) who, along with two other acting buddies (Adam Arkin and Jon Tenney), compete for the role of a lifetime â¿¿ playing Al Capone in an upcoming Martin Scorsese film â¿¿ in the comedy feature, "With Friends Like These." A role as Duke Theseus in the contemporary take on "William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream" was followed by another collaboration with Sayles in the complicated and ambiguous thriller, "Limbo." Strathairn played Joe Gastineau, a man twice thwarted by fate â¿¿ an injury ended his accomplished basketball career and a boating accident killed two friends and ended his career as a fisherman. Sleepwalking through life as a handyman in Juneau, Alaska, J is reawakened by a barroom singer with her own disappointing life (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Wrapping up the year, Strathairn had a supporting role in Showtime's "Song of Hiawatha," then played a novice farmer in rural Wisconsin whose wife (Sigourney Weaver) is accused of sexually abusing the neighbor's son in "A Map of the World."

After appearing in the Civil Rights drama, "Freedom Song" (TNT, 2000), Strathairn starred as a small-town loner who finds an abandoned baby in the woods and sets off to find the mother in "A Good Baby" (Cinemax, 2000), a project workshopped at the Sundance Institute's Screenwriter's lab. Strathairn took part in the ABC remake of "The Miracle Worker" (2000), playing Helen Keller's strict, but loving father who is on the verge of institutionalizing his deaf-blind daughter because of her erratic behavior. After a regular role on the short-lived police drama, "Big Apple" (CBS, 2001), he appeared in "Harrison's Flowers" (2002), playing a prize-winning photojournalist who's reported dead while on assignment in war-torn Yugoslavia. Refusing to believe the report, his wife (Andie MacDowell) sets off on a journey to find him, but is confronted by the harsh realities of his world. Then in "Blue Car" (2002), he played a p try teacher who helps a young student (Agnes Bruckner) unleash her potential, but finds their relationship growing more complicated as her life outside the classroom becomes more difficult.

An appearance in "The Lathe of Heaven" (A&E, 2002) as the best friend and confidant of a man (Lukas Haas) who can alter reality through dreams was followed by playing a police psychologist in the insipid cop thriller "Twisted" (2004). He then had a brief recurring role on "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007), playing A.J.'s high school counselor, Mr. Wegler, whose conversations with Camela over her son's poor performance in school lead to a full-blown romance that ends when he thinks he's being used. He then played a former astronaut who found God after a near-fatal accident and went on to become a rich televangelist in the made-for-TV movie, "Paradise" (Showtime, 2004). Strathairn gave an Oscar-worthy performance as CBS news legend Edward R. Murrow in George Clooney's excellent McCarthy-era drama, "Good Night, and Good Luck" (2005). He was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Actor.

Hot off his Academy Award nomination, Strathairn costarred in "We Are Marshall" (2006), playing Donald Dedmon, the university president who considers abandoning the school's football program after a tragic plane crash that kills nearly all members and staff of the team. In "The Notorious Bettie Page" (2006), Strathairn was Estes Kefauver, a crusading senator from Tennessee who investigates the impact of pornography on the nation's youth thanks to the provocative bondage photos of notorious pin-up girl Bettie Page (Gretchen Mol). After voicing the narration for PBS's four-part miniseries "The Supreme Court" (2006), Strathairn joined an impressive cast in the well-reviewed courtroom thriller "Fracture" (2007), playing a world-weary District Attorney from Los Angeles who watches his cocksure deputy D.A. (Ryan Gosling) scramble to prosecute a confessed murderer (Anthony Hopkins) after the seemingly open-and-shut case starts to rapidly unravel. He next played CIA officer Noah Vosen, the leader of a secret operation on a mission to hunt down über-secret agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), in "The Bourne Ultimatum" (2007), which he followed with a small role as a father in "The Spiderwick Chronicles" (2008).

Following another paternal turn in the poorly received horror flick, "The Uninvited" (2009), Strathairn delivered a sterling performance as a boarding school science teacher and mentor to an autistic woman (Claire Danes), who went on to revolutionize the humane handling of livestock in slaughterhouses in the acclaimed biopic, "Temple Grandin" (HBO, 2010). The role earned him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie and a Best Supporting Actor nod at the Golden Globes later in the year. Strathairn followed up with a turn as Alonzo, King of Napels in Julie Taymorâ¿¿s alternative adaptation of William Shakespeareâ¿¿s "The Tempest" (2010); starred opposite Rachel Weisz and Vanessa Redgrave in "The Whistleblower" (2011); and played the attorney prosecuting Beat poet Allen Ginsberg (John Franco) in the experimental film, "Howl" (2010). In a return to the small screen, Strathairn portrayed Lost Generation author John Dos Passos opposite Clive Owenâ¿¿s Ernest Hemingway in the acclaimed television movie, "Hemingway & Gellhorn" (HBO, 2012), a role that earned him an Emmy Award nomination in the same category he won for with "Temple Grandin." Back on the big screen, he reprised his role as CIA officer Noah Vosen in "The Bourne Legacy" (2012) and played Abraham Lincolnâ¿¿s (Daniel Day-Lewis) Secretary of State, William Seward, in Steven Spielbergâ¿¿s highly anticipated biopic, "Lincoln" (2012). Returning briefly to TV, he played the lead role of the fantasy drama "Alphas" (SyFy 2011-12), before garnering another major film role in director Gareth Edwards' big screen reboot of "Godzilla" (2014). After a guest appearance in the thriller series "The Blacklist" (NBC 2013- ), Straithairn joined the cast of John Madden's whimsical romantic comedy sequel "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2015).

material.

Sometimes Strathairn's quiet, but intense onscreen demeanor served as a detriment to his performance, particularly in sharing the screen opposite such heavyweight actresses as Meryl Streep in "The River Wild" (1994), Jessica Lange in "Losing Isaiah" (1995), Kathy Bates in "Dolores Claiborne" (1995) and Glenn Close in HBO's "In the Gloaming" (1997). Strathairn's dilemma was not his own; he suffered from having to work with underdeveloped roles opposite female stars playing meatier characters that served as the driving force of the films. While his female counterparts were dynamic and larger-than-life, Strathairn was the quiet, emotionally-stunted man relegated to the background, waiting for a shining moment of redemption. Film reviewers took notice, with one commenting that "Strathairn should stay away from bland supporting husband parts that make him seem weak."

Among his many theater credits are performances in New York Shakespeare Festival productions of "Salonika" (1984) and Vaclav Havel's "Temptation" (1989), Lincoln Center's "Hapgood" (1994), opposite Stockard Channing, and the Roundabout Theater's all-star version of "Three Sisters" (1997), with Amy Irving, Lili Taylor and Jeanne Tripplehorn. He returned to the small screen for "Evidence of Blood" (TMC, 1998), playing a mystery writer who returns home for the funeral of a friend only to find himself embroiled in an investigation involving a 40-year-old unsolved murder. After a supporting role in the German-made "Die Giraffe" ("The Giraffe," 1998), Strathairn played a stuffy priest who argues faith with a rambunctious, but stunted young boy (Ian Michael Smith) in the schmaltzy coming-of-age drama, "Simon Birch" (1

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Debt, The (2015)
3.
5.
 Godzilla (2014)
6.
7.
8.
 Lincoln (2012)
9.
 Kingdom Come (2012)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in the San Francisco Bay area
:
Met John Sayles while attending Williams College
:
Toured for six months with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus as a replacement for half of the Siamese-twin clown
:
Helped start a children's theater in Glen Falls, NY
:
Worked with Sayles in a summer theater company in New Hampshire
1980:
Film debut, "The Return of the Secaucus Seven" directed by Sayles
:
Worked in children's theater and summer stock
1981:
Made stage debut in "Einstein and the Polar Bear" at Connecticut's Hartford Stage
1983:
Off-Broadway debut, "Blue Plate Special"
1983:
Appeared as Wesley in Mike Nichols' "Silkwood"
1984:
Played an extraterrestrial bounty hunter alongside John Sayles in Sayles' "The Brother From Another Planet"
1985:
TV debut, guest appearance on an episode of "Miami Vice" (NBC)
1987:
Portrayed the morally upright Constable Hatfield in Sayles' "Matewan"
1988:
TV series debut, "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" (NBC/Lifetime) as the Moss, the eccentric bookstore owner
1988:
Delivered a compelling interpretation of the morally flawed baseball pitcher Eddie Cicotte in Sayles' "Eight Men Out"
1989:
Portrayed J. Robert Oppenheimer in CBS's "Day One"
1991:
Played the brain surgeon in HBO's appeal for gun control "The James Brady Story"
1991:
Portrayed a realistic street person for Sayles' "City of Hope"
1992:
Starred opposite Jessica Lange in the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of "O Pioneers!" (CBS)
1992:
Played a blind, brilliant computer hacker in "Sneakers" opposite Robert Redford and Sidney Poitier
1992:
Played a dynamic adman in "A League of Their Own"
1992:
Proved himself a capable romantic lead in Sayles' "Passion Fish"
1993:
Portrayed Tom Cruise's jailbird brother in the film adaptation of John Grisham's novel "The Firm"
1993:
Appeared in the TNT adaptation of Arthur Miller's stage play "The American Clock"
1994:
Acted opposite Meryl Streep in "The River Wild"
1994:
Starred alongside Stockard Channing in the Lincoln Center production of Tom Stoppard's play "Hapgood"
1995:
Reunited with Jessica Lange for "Losing Isaiah"
1997:
Appeared as the wealthy procurer Pierce Patchett in "L.A. Confidential"
1997:
Played the emotionally remote father of a son coping with AIDS in "In the Gloaming" (HBO), helmed by Christopher Reeve
1997:
Was part of the all-star cast of the Roundabout Theater's revival of "Three Sisters"
1998:
Cast as the Reverend Russell in "Simon Birch"
1999:
Portrayed Theseus in Michael Hoffman's adaptation of "William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream"
1999:
Reunited with Sayles to play a fisherman who romances a lounge singer (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) in "Limbo"
1999:
Gave an effective performance as Sigourney Weaver's farmer husband in "A Map of the World"
2000:
Played a mysterious man who meets an equally odd woman (Kyra Sedgwick) on a plane in Craig Lucas' stage play "Stranger"
2000:
Featured as a photojournalist who disappears in the former Yugoslavia in the festival-screened drama "Harrison's Flowers"
2000:
Played Helen Keller's father in the ABC remake of "The Miracle Worker"
2001:
Had regular role on the short-lived CBS police drama "Big Apple"
2001:
Returned to Broadway in support of Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren in "The Dance of Death"
2002:
Featured in the Sundance-screened "Blue Car"
2005:
Portrayed journalist Edward R. Murrow, who scrutinized Sen. Joseph McCarthy's communist witch hunt in George Clooney's "Good Night, and Good Luck"; earned Oscar, Independent Spirit Award, Golden Globe and SAG nominations for Best Actor
2006:
Cast in the HBO original film "The Notorious Bettie Page," starring Gretchen Mol as the 1950s pin-up model
2007:
Co-starred in the dramatic thriller "Fracture" as the district attorney opposite Anthony Hopkins
2007:
Played the leader of a secret operation who¿s mission is to hunt down Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) in "The Bourne Ultimatum"
2008:
Played the father in the fantasy film "The Spiderwick Chronicles"
2009:
Co-starred in Roundabout Theatre Company¿s production of Samuel Beckett¿s "Waiting for Godot"
2009:
Earned a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word for the album <i>The Lincoln-Douglas Debates</i>
2010:
Co-starred opposite Claire Danes in "Temple Grandin"; earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
2010:
Nominated for the 2010 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie ("Temple Grandin")
2010:
Starred as King Alonzo in the Julie Taymor directed adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest"
2011:
Nominated for the 2011 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television ("Temple Grandin")
2012:
Reprised role in "The Bourne Legacy"
2012:
Portrayed U.S. Secretary of State William Seward opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln"
2014:
Had a minor role in "Godzilla" reboot
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Williams College: Williamstown , Massachusetts -
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College: Venice , Florida -
Redwood High School: Larkspur , California - 1966

Notes

Strathairn is of Hawaiian and Scottish descent.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Logan Strathairn.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Tay Strathairn. Actor. Appeared in John Sayles' "Eight Men Out" and "Lone Star".

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute