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Thomas Roy "Tom" Skerritt (born August 25, 1933) is an American actor who has appeared in over 40 films and more than 200 television episodes since 1962.



Skerritt made his television debut in the series Gunsmokearound 1959 and his film debut in War Hunt, produced by Terry Sanders andreleased the same year. Skerritt's notable film appearances include M*A*S*H (1970; his role was pared down considerably by directorRobert Altman), Harold and Maude (credited as "M. Borman") (1971),Big Bad Mama, Cheech & Chong's Up In Smoke (1978), Ice Castles (1978), as Captain A.J. Dallas of the commercial towing vessel'Nostromo' in Alien (1979), as a would-be astronaut inContact (1997) and SpaceCamp (1986), and in Top Gun (1986), where he "flew with (Tom Cruise's) old man" as CDR Mike "Viper" Metcalf aka The Man.

Skerrit starred in the television series Picket Fences(1992–1996) in the role of Sheriff Jimmy Brock, for which he won anEmmy. More recently, he has starred in Homeland Security and The Grid.

He also portrays the deceased William Walker on Brothers & Sisters, having appeared in the pilot as well as inseveral flashbacks since. This is his second time playing the husband ofSally Field, the first being his role in the film Steel Magnolias.He played the role of Ezekiel on ABC Family's Fallen miniseries. He also appeared as the guide on theshowcase website for Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system.

Personal life

Skerritt was born in Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker, the son of Helen, a homemaker, and Roy Skerritt, who worked in business. A 1951 graduate of Detroit's Mackenzie High School, Skerritt attended Wayne State Universitymarker and the University of California at Los Angelesmarker. Since 1988, he has divided his domestic life between his Lake Washingtonmarker home in suburban Seattle, Washingtonmarker and a home on Lopez Islandmarker in the San Juan Islandsmarker. Skerritt has four grown children (three sons and one daughter).


Year Film Role Notes
1962 War Hunt Sgt. Stan Showalter
1964 One Man's Way Leonard Peal (Grown)
1965 Those Calloways Whit Turner
1970 MASH Capt. Augustus Bedford 'Duke' Forrest
1971 Wild Rovers John Buckman
Harold and Maude Motorcycle Officer
1972 Fuzz Det. Bert Kling
1974 Thieves Like Us Dee Mobley
Arrivano Joe e Margherito Margherito
Big Bad Mama Fred Diller
1975 The Devil's Rain Tom Preston
1976 ...e tanta paura Chief Inspector
Madama, La Rick Dylan
1977 The Turning Point Wayne
1978 Up in Smoke Strawberry
Ice Castles Marcus Winston
1979 Alien Dallas
1981 A Dangerous Summer Howard Anderson
Savage Harvest Casey
Silence of the North Walter Reamer
1982 Fighting Back John D'Angelo
1983 The Dead Zone Sheriff George Bannerman
1986 Top Gun Cmdr. Mike 'Viper' Metcalf
SpaceCamp Zach Bergstrom
Opposing Force Logan
Wisdom Lloyd Wisdom
1987 Maid to Order Charles Montgomery
The Big Town Phil Carpenter
1988 Honor Bound Sam Cahill
Poltergeist III Bruce Gardner
1989 Big Man on Campus Dr. Webster
Steel Magnolias Drum Eatenton
1990 The Rookie Eugene Ackerman Child In The Night (1990) with Jobeth Williams also From The Poltergeist Saga
1992 Poison Ivy Darryl Cooper
Knight Moves Capt. Frank Sedman
Wild Orchid 2: Two Shades of Blue Ham McDonald Direct-to-Video Release
A River Runs Through It Reverend Maclean
Singles Mayor Weber
1997 Contact David Drumlin
1998 Smoke Signals Police Chief
1999 The Other Sister Dr. Radley Tate
2001 Texas Rangers Richard Dukes
2002 Tuscaloosa
Changing Hearts Johnny Pinkley
Greenmail Tom Bradshaw Direct-to-Video Release
2003 Tears of the Sun Captain Bill Rhodes
Swing George Verdi
2006 Bonneville Emmett
2007 The Velveteen Rabbit Horse
2008 Beer for My Horses Sheriff Wilson Landry
2009 Whiteout Dr. John Fury
For Sale by Owner Clive Farrier post-production
Rivers of a Lost Coast Narrator
Year Title Role Notes
1962-1967 Combat! Soldier (uncredited)
Glinski (uncredited)


Episode: Combat Front
Episode: A Day in June
Episode: The Prisoner
Episode: Losers Cry Deal
Episode: Nothing to Lose
Episode: The Gantlet

1962-1971 The Virginian Eric Kroeger

Paul Martin
Billy Landers
Bobby Allen

Episode: Impasse
Episode: The Secret of Brynmar Hall
Episode: The Showdown
Episode: The Crooked Path
Episode: The Saddle Warmer
Episode: Nan Allen

1963 Laramie Episode: No Place to Run
The Real McCoys Mailman Episode: Aunt Win Steps In
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Dr. Frank Farmer Episode: Run for Doom
My Three Sons Young Steve Episode: The Proposals
1963-1968 Death Valley Days Emmett Dalton

Patrick Hogan

Sam Clemens

Episode: Three Minutes to Eternity
Episode: Honor the Name Dennis Driscoll
Episode: The Book
Episode: Sense of Justice
Episode: Ten Day Millionaires

1964 Wagon Train Hamish Browne Episode: The Last Circle Up
My Favorite Martian Dr. Edgar Edgarton Episode: Miss Jekyll and Hyde
1964-1967 Twelve O'Clock High Lt. Ryan


Ben Rodale

Paddy Gialella



Episode: Spiders Sometimes Kill
Episode: Those Who Are About to Die
Episode: The Came the Mighty Hunter
Episode: Twenty Fifth Mission
Episode: Long Time Dead

1964, 1973 Bonanza Jerry
Corporal Bill Tanner
Episode: Thanks for Everything, Friend
Episode: The Hunter
1965 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Frank Richardson Episode: The Enemies
Disney's Wonderful World Corky Mardis Episode: ...The Daily Press vs. City Hall
1965, 1966 The Fugitive Neely Hollister
Episode: Nicest Fella You'd Ever Want to Meet
Episode: Joshua's Kingdom
1965-1972 Gunsmoke Edmund Dano
Ben Stone
Orv Timpson
Fred Garth
Tuck Frye

Episode: The Pretender
Episode: The Jailer
Episode: The Moonstone
Episode: The Noose
Episode: Jubilee

1966 The Time Tunnel Matthew Gebhardt Episode: The Death Trap
1966-1972 The F.B.I. Robert Hastings
John Clarence Rim
Thorn Hazard
Bill Leonard

Episode: The Assassin
Episode: The Legend of John Rim
Episode: Unknown Victim
Episode: The Deadly Species

1967 Mannix Morgan Carpenter Episode: Warning - Live Blueberries
Hallmark Hall of Fame Trapani Episode: A Bell for Adano
1968 Cimarron Strip Enoch Shelton Episode: Knife in the Darkness
Run for Your Life Lou Patterson Episode: The Killing Scene
Felony Squad Gerald Gardner Episode: Matched for Murder
1969 The Outsider Arnie Cambor Episode: A Bowl of Cherries
Lancer Bill Blake Episode: The Knot
1970 Hawaii Five-O Lew Morgan Episode: Most Likely to Murder
Medical Center Artie Atwood Episode: Between Dark and Daylight
The Name of the Game Pete Episode: Cynthia is Alive and Living in Avalon
Bracken's World Gil Dobie Episode: A Team of One-Legged Acrobats
1971 Storefront Lawyers Paul Marek Episode: This Money Kills Dreams
The Birdmen Orville 'Fitz' Fitzgerald ABC TV-Movie
Nichols Episode: The Marrying Fool
1971, 1972, 1975 Cannon Dude
Toby Hauser
Sheriff Andrews

Episode: The Salinas Jackpot
Episode: Nobody Beats the House
Episode: The Conspirators

1974 Get Christie Love! Episode: Deadly Betrayal
Kolchak: The Night Stalker Sen. Robert W. Palmer Episode: The Devil's Platform
The Manhunter Episode: Flight to Nowhere
1975 The Last Day Bill Powers NBC TV-Movie
Barnaby Jones Darrin Addison Episode: Image of Evil
1976 S.W.A.T. Maynard Hill Episode: Dragons and Owls
Sara Episode: 1.9
Alle origini della mafia Bernardino Campo ITC Miniseries
Episode: La Speranza
1978 Baretta Al Brimmer Episode: The Appointment
Maneaters are Loose! John Gosford CBS TV-Movie
1983 Ryan's Four Dr. Thomas Ryan
1984 Calendar Girl Murders Lieutenant Dan Stoner ABC TV-Movie
A Touch of Scandal Father Dwelle CBS TV-Movie
1986 Miles to Go... Stuart Browning CBS TV-Movie
The Hitchhiker Det. Frank Sheen Episode: True Believer
The Parent Trap II Bill Grand ABC TV-Movie
The New Twilight Zone Alex Mattingly Episode: What Are Friends For?
Danger Bay Don Bared Episode: The Fish Who Walks
1987 Poker Alice Jeremy Collins CBS TV-Movie
1987, 1988 Cheers Evan Drake Episode: A Kiss is Still a Kiss
Episode: Tale of Two Cuties
Episode: Yacht of Fools
Episode: Let Sleeping Drakes Lie
Episode: The Sam in the Grey Flannel Suit
Episode: Backseat Becky, Up Front

1988 Moving Target Joseph Kellogg NBC TV-Movie
Nightmare at Bittercreek Ding CBS TV-Movie
1989 The Heist Ebbet Berens HBO TV-Movie
Red King, White Knight Stoner HBO TV-Movie
1990 The China Lake Murders Sheriff Sam Brodie TV-Movie
Child in the Night Bass CBS TV-Movie
ABC Afterschool Special Jim Episode: A Question About Sex
She'll Take Romance Judge Warren Danvers ABC TV-Movie
1992 Getting Up and Going Home Jack Montgomery TV-Movie
In Sickness and In Health Jarrett Mattison CBS TV-Movie
1992-1996 Picket Fences Sheriff Jimmy Brock
1997 Divided by Hate Steve Riordan USA TV-Movie
Chicago Hope Jim Kellner Episode: Guns 'n' Roses
What the Deaf Man Heard Norm Jenkins CBS TV-Movie
1998 Two for Texas Sam Houston TNT TV-Movie
1999 Into the Wild Blue Host History Documentary
The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer Fred Maddux NBC Miniseries
Aftershock: Earthquake in New York Thomas Ahearn CBS TV-Movie
2000 An American Daughter Walter Lifetime TV-Movie
High Noon Will Kane TBS TV-Movie
Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis Joseph P. 'Joe' Kennedy CBS TV-Movie
2001 Chestnut Hill Daniel Eastman Unsold TV-Pilot
The Voyage to Atlantis: The Lost Empire Host Short Documentary
2002 Path to War Gen. William Westmoreland HBO TV-Movie
Will & Grace Dr. Jay Markus Episode: The Needle and the Omelet's Done
2003 Biography Passages Read By Episode: Jack London - Forces of Nature
The West Wing Sen. Chris Carrick Episode: Constituency of One
2004 Homeland Security Admiral McKee NBC TV-Movie
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Oliver Taft Episode: Poison
The Grid CIA Dep. Director Acton Sandman TNT Miniseries
2005 Vinegar Hill Fritz Grier CBS TV-Movie
Category 7: The End of the World Col. Mike Davis CBS Miniseries
2006 Mammoth Simon Abernathy Sci Fi TV-Movie
Huff Ben Huffstodt Episode: Red Meat
Episode: So...What Brings You to Armageddon?
Episode: Radio Silence

Desperation John Edward Marinville ABC TV-Movie
Fallen Zeke ABC Miniseries
2006–2008 Brothers & Sisters William Walker
2007 Killer Wave Victor Bannister Miniseries
The Dead Zone Herb Smith Episode: Denouement
2008 Tim And Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Himself
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Gabe Utterson TV-Movie
The Trojan Horse President Stanfield CBC Miniseries

Awards and nominations

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards
  • 1998: Nominated, "Favorite Supporting Actor in a Drama" - Contact

DVD Exclusive Awards
  • 2003: Won, "Best Audio Commentary" - Alien

Emmy Awards
  • 1993: Won, "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" - Picket Fences
  • 1994: Nominated, "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series" - Picket Fences

Genie Awards
  • 1982: Nominated, "Best Performance by a Foreign Actor" - Silence of the North

Golden Globe Awards
  • 1994: Nominated, "Best Performance By an Actor in a Dramatic TV series" - Picket Fences
  • 1995: Nominated, "Best Performance By an Actor in a Dramatic TV series" - Picket Fences

National Board of Review of Motion Pictures
  • 1977: Won, "Best Supporting Actor" - The Turning Point

Screen Actors Guild Awards
  • 1995: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series" - Picket Fences
  • 1995: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" - Picket Fences
  • 1996: Nominated, "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series" - Picket Fences

Western Heritage Awards
  • 1999: Won, "Best Television Feature Film" - Two for Texas


  1. Movies | A Familiar Face | Seattle Times Newspaper
  2. Tom Skerritt Biography (1933-)
  3. Tom Skerritt Biography - Yahoo! Movies

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