Photo of Sam Waterston Sam Waterston

The son of a Mayflower descendent, Sam Waterston was born in Cambridge, Mass., on Nov. 15, 1940, attending Yale University, the Sorbonne and the American Actors Workshop before taking on television and movie roles.

His big break came with a 1973 television adaptation of Tennessee Williams's "The Glass Menagerie" and the film version of The Great Gatsby (1974) with Mia Farrow. That pairing led to a subsequent string of Woody Allen films -- Interiors (1978), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) and Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) -- and an Oscar nomination for The Killing Fields (1984).

Despite his impressive film résumé, Waterston is perhaps best known for his Emmy-nominated portrayal of District Attorney Jack McCoy on the long-running detective drama "Law & Order." He continues to perform in both live theater and film, donning a beard more than once to play Abraham Lincoln.

Sam Waterston in Grace and Frankie

Grace and Frankie

2015 TV-MA

Finding out that their husbands are not just work partners, but have also been romantically involved for the last 20 years, two women with an already strained relationship try to cope with the circumstances together.

  • Sam Waterston in Anesthesia Anesthesia
  • Sam Waterston in Ken Burns: The National Parks... Ken Burns: The National Parks...
  • Sam Waterston in The Newsroom The Newsroom
  • Sam Waterston in Hopscotch Hopscotch
  • Sam Waterston in Ken Burns: The Civil War Ken Burns: The Civil War
  • Sam Waterston in The Killing Fields The Killing Fields
  • Sam Waterston in Swimming to Cambodia Swimming to Cambodia
  • Sam Waterston in Law & Order Law & Order
  • Sam Waterston in Le Divorce Le Divorce
  • Sam Waterston in Capricorn One Capricorn One
  • Sam Waterston in Gore Vidal's Lincoln Gore Vidal's Lincoln
  • Sam Waterston in Crimes and Misdemeanors Crimes and Misdemeanors
  • Sam Waterston in The Great Gatsby The Great Gatsby
  • Sam Waterston in Interiors Interiors
  • Sam Waterston in Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson
  • Sam Waterston in Law & Order: Trial by Jury Law & Order: Trial by Jury
  • Sam Waterston in Masters of Science Fiction Masters of Science Fiction
  • Sam Waterston in The Glass Menagerie The Glass Menagerie
  • Sam Waterston in Oppenheimer Oppenheimer
  • Sam Waterston in Dempsey Dempsey
  • Sam Waterston in Hannah and Her Sisters Hannah and Her Sisters
  • Sam Waterston in The Man in the Moon The Man in the Moon
  • Sam Waterston in Serial Mom Serial Mom
  • Sam Waterston in Lost Civilizations Lost Civilizations
  • Sam Waterston in Miracle at Midnight Miracle at Midnight
  • Sam Waterston in Echoes from the White House Echoes from the White House