Early in his career William Sanderson seemed practically to specialize in his unique brand of what he calls ""prairie scum."" All that changed with two inspired castings that would reveal William's versatility and bring him national exposure. Director Ridley Scott cast him as the brilliant, gentle toy maker in the now classic science fiction film 'Blade Runner.' Shortly afterwards, a one-time guest role became a successful eight-year run with William's comedic talent on display as the quirky backwoodsman Larry in the popular sitcom 'Newhart.'
William grew up in Memphis, TN, with an elementary school teacher mother and a landscape designer father. As a youngster he already had a knack for assuming characters and used this talent to sneak into concerts and sporting events, and eventually into Graceland where he listened to his hero Elvis play a piano ballad. William spent two years in the Army, after which he attended Southern Methodist University and later earned a BBA degree and JD law degree from the University of Memphis. He opted out of the bar exam and instead went to New York to take his shot at acting. There he apprenticed with the renowned Herbert Berghof and William Hickey, quickly distinguishing himself in a number of off-Broadway productions and independent film roles. He soon set his sights on Hollywood.
William has played a host of distinct and diverse roles, routinely working opposite Hollywood's A-list talent. The 80s saw him in films like 'The Onion Field,' 'Lone Wolf Mcquade,' 'Coal Miner's Daughter,' and 'City Heat.' In the 90s his body of work grew in a broad range of features including 'Death Hunt,' 'The Rocketeer,' 'Wagon's East' (John Candy's final film), John Grisham's 'The Client' (which brought him home to Memphis), 'Last Man Standing' with Bruce Willis and more. In 'Stanley's Gig,' William revealed what was no surprise to those in the know - that he can just as easily carry the mantle of leading actor - with his poignant portrayal of the title character opposite Faye Dunaway. His recent film projects include the family film 'Treasure Of Painted Forest,' 'Disappearances' opposite Kris Kristofferson, and the dramedy 'Pretty Ugly People.'
William has consistently and deftly moved between film and television, appearing in such shows as 'ER,' 'Life,' 'The X-Files,' 'Monk' and 'Without a Trace.' His television movies and mini-series include the award-winning 'Lonesome Dove' and its sequel, 'Executioner's Song,' with Tommy Lee Jones; two MOW'S with John Frankenheimer, 'Wallace' and the Civil War epic 'Andersonville'; Stephen King's 'Sometimes They Come Back'; 'Babylon 5: Thirdspace'; Louis L'Amour's 'Crossfire Trail'; and 'Monte Walsh' with Tom Selleck.
Sharing the honor of American Film Institute's ""Best Ensemble"" award for 'Deadwood,' William was equally thrilled at being named one of Cracked Magazine's ""15 Funniest People Of 2006,"" which cited his ""comedic edge"" in the series as ""well worth an hour."" Beloved by fans of fantasy & sci-fi, Westerns and comedies alike, William has a rare following that crosses generations and genres.
In between film and television work, William stays busy supplying the voice for numerous cartoon characters, radio commercials and books on tape. He and his wife split their time between homes in Burbank, CA and Harrisburg, PA.
played by William Sanderson
Tell us what you think about HBO GO. Sign up now to participate in the HBO GO Advisory Panel to share your opinions and for a chance to be entered into HBO sweepstakes and contests.