David Strathairn: Wikis


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David Strathairn
Born David Russell Strathairn
January 26, 1949 (1949-01-26) (age 60)
San Francisco, California,
United States
Occupation Actor
Years active 1980–present
Spouse(s) Logan Goodman (1980-present)

David Russell Strathairn (born January 26, 1949) is an American actor.



Strathairn was born in San Francisco, California, the son of a physician.[1] He has Scottish ancestry through his paternal grandfather, Thomas Scott Strathairn (a native of Crieff, Perthshire), and Native Hawaiian ancestry through his paternal grandmother, Lei.[2][3] Strathairn attended Redwood High School in Larkspur, California and graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts in 1970. He studied at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College in Venice, Florida[4] and briefly worked as a clown in a traveling circus.

He is married to Logan Goodman Strathairn, a nurse. They have two sons and live in the mid-Hudson Valley area of upstate New York, near Poughkeepsie. Their son Tay, an actor and musician who plays jazz piano, appeared in John Sayles' films Eight Men Out (as Bucky) and Lone Star (as Young Sam).[4][5]


Strathairn was Academy Award-nominated for his portrayal of CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow in the biopic Good Night, and Good Luck, which explored Murrow's clash with Senator Joseph McCarthy over McCarthy's Communist "witch-hunt" in the 1950s. Strathairn received Best Actor Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and Academy Award nominations for his performance. Other notable film roles include his portrayals of the title character in Harrison's Flowers (2000); the wisecracking blind techie in Sneakers (1992); Joe St. George in Dolores Claiborne (1995); Theseus, Duke of Athens, in the 1999 version of A Midsummer Night's Dream; and corrupt baseball player Eddie Cicotte in 1988's Eight Men Out.

Strathairn is often regarded as a character actor, appearing in supporting roles in many independent and Hollywood films. In this capacity, he has co-starred in Twisted as Ashley Judd's psychiatrist; in The River Wild as Meryl Streep's husband; as Tom Cruise's jailbird brother in The Firm; and as Kim Basinger's pimp in L.A. Confidential.

He has worked frequently with his Williams College classmate and director John Sayles, beginning with his film debut in Return of the Secaucus 7, and including the films Passion Fish, Matewan, Limbo and City of Hope, for which Strathairn won the Independent Spirit Award. Alongside Sayles, he played one of the Men in Black in the 1983 film The Brother from Another Planet Several years later, Strathairn created the role of Edwin Booth with Maryann Plunkett in a workshop production of Booth! A House Divided, by W. Stuart McDowell, at the Players in New York City.[6]

Strathairn's television work includes a wide range of roles: "Moss", the bookselling nebbish on the critically-acclaimed The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd; Captain Keller, the father of Helen Keller in the 2000 remake of The Miracle Worker; and a far-out (both figuratively and literally) televangelist in Paradise, the pilot episode for a TV series on Showtime that was not successful.[7] Strathairn also had a recurring role on the hit TV drama The Sopranos. Strathairn also starred in the second season episode, Out Where the Buses Don't run, in Miami Vice

Among Strathairn's recent films are: We Are...Marshall, a 2006 film about the rebirth of Marshall University's football program after the 1970 plane crash that killed most of the team's members; and Hereafter, set in the aftermath of the 2004 Sumatran tsunami, directed by Michael Patwin (in pre-production).[8] In 2006 he did a campaign ad for then congressional candidate (now, senator-appointee) Kirsten Gillibrand. He reprised his role as Edward R. Murrow in a speech similar to the one given in the film Good Night, and Good Luck but altered to reference Gillibrand's opponent John Sweeney.

Strathairn plays the lead role opposite Andrew Walker in the 2007 independent film, "Steel Toes", a film by David Gow (writer/co-director/producer)and Mark Adam (co-director/DOP/editor). The film is based on Gow's stage play "Cherry Docs", in which Strathairn starred at its American premiere at the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia.

Strathairn also played a lead role opposite Matt Damon in the summer 2007 film The Bourne Ultimatum and appeared in Paramount Pictures' children's film The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) as Arthur Spiderwick. Strathairn appeared in the American Experience PBS anthology series documentary, The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer, (2009) a biography of the physicist.

Strathairn plays William Flynn in the lead role of "No God, No Master". Flynn (Strathairn) is an F.B.I. agent dealing with anarchism set in 1920's New York City. His constant struggles with the Red Scare set him into a universe of power, greed and corruption, forcing him to confront the very principles and values that make him an American.


Strathairn is an accomplished stage actor and has performed over thirty theatrical roles. Most recently, he performed several roles in stage plays by 2005 Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter. He played Stanley in two consecutive New York Classic Stage Company (CSC) productions of Pinter's 1957 play The Birthday Party, directed by Carey Perloff (since 1992 artistic director of the American Conservatory Theatre), in 1988[9] and 1989;[10] the dual roles of prison Officer and Prisoner in Pinter's 1989 play Mountain Language (in a double bill with the second CSC Rep production of The Birthday Party);[11] Kerner, in Tom Stoppard's Hapgood (1994); and Devlin, opposite Lindsay Duncan's Rebecca, in Pinter's 1996 two-hander Ashes to Ashes in the 1999 New York premiere by the Roundabout Theatre Company.[1][12]

Political involvement

Strathairn narrated a biographical video that was aired to introduce Barack Obama prior to his acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[13]


Year Film Role Notes
1980 Return of the Secaucus 7 Ron Desjardins
1983 Lovesick Marvin Zuckerman
Silkwood Wesley
1984 Iceman Dr. Singe
The Brother from Another Planet Man In Black
1985 When Nature Calls Weejun
Miami Vice Marty Lang TV series, one episode
1986 At Close Range Tony Pine
1987 Broken Vows Stuart Chase TV film
Matewan Police Chief Sid Hatfield
1988 Stars and Bars Charlie
Call Me Sam
Eight Men Out Eddie Cicotte
Dominick and Eugene Martin
1989 Day One J. Robert Oppenheimer TV film
The Feud The Stranger
1990 Heat Wave Bill Thomas TV film
Memphis Belle Col. Craig Harriman
Judgment Father Frank Aubert TV film
1991 Son of the Morning Star Capt. William F. Benteen TV film
Without Warning: The James Brady Story Doctor Art Kobrine TV film
City of Hope Asteroid Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
1992 Big Girls Don't Cry... They Get Even Keith
A League of Their Own Ira Lowenstein
Bob Roberts Mack Laflin
O Pioneers! Carl Linstrum TV film
Sneakers Erwin 'Whistler' Emory
Passion Fish Rennie
1993 Lost in Yonkers Johnny
The Firm Ray McDeere
A Dangerous Woman Getso
1994 The River Wild Tom Hartman
1995 Losing Isaiah Charles Lewin
Dolores Claiborne Joe St. George
Home for the Holidays Russell Terziak
1996 Beyond the Call Russell Cates TV film
Mother Night Lieutenant Bernard B. O'Hare
1997 Song of Hiawatha Marcel
In the Gloaming Martin TV film
L.A. Confidential Pierce Morehouse Patchett Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Bad Manners Wes
1998 The Climb Earl Himes
Evidence of Blood Jackson Kinley TV film
With Friends Like These... Armand Minetti
Simon Birch Reverend Russell
Meschugge Charles Kaminski
1999 A Midsummer Night's Dream Theseus
Limbo "Jumpin Joe" Gastineau Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
A Map of the World Howard Goodwin
2000 A Good Baby Truman Lester
Freedom Song Peter Crowley TV film
Harrison's Flowers Harrison Lloyd
The Miracle Worker Captain Keller TV film
2001 Relative Evil Dr. Charlie a.k.a. Ball in the House
2002 Speakeasy Bruce Hickman
Blue Car Auster
Lathe of Heaven Mannie TV film
Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story Jack Hoschouer TV film
2004 Paradise Reverend Bobby Paradise TV film
Twisted Dr. Melvin Frank
2005 The Notorious Bettie Page Estes Kefauver
Missing in America Henry
Good Night, and Good Luck. Edward R. Murrow Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated - Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated - Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead
Nominated - Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
2006 The Shovel Paul Mullin short film
Heavens Fall Judge James Horton
We Are Marshall Donald Dedmon
2007 The Sensation of Sight Finn Also Producer
Steel Toes Danny Dunckelman
Fracture DA Joe Lobruto
Racing Daylight Henry Becker/Harry Stokes
The Bourne Ultimatum Noah Vosen
My Blueberry Nights Arnie Copeland
Matters of Life and Death Mr. Jennings
2008 The Spiderwick Chronicles Arthur Spiderwick
2009 The Uninvited Steven Rydell
Cold Souls Dr. Flintstein
Odysseus in America Narration forthcoming film
2010 Temple Grandin Professor Carlock forthcoming film
Howl Ralph McIntosh forthcoming film
The Tempest Alonzo, King of Naples forthcoming film
The Whistleblower TBA forthcoming film


  1. ^ a b "David Strathairn Biography (1949-)", Film Reference.com, accessed August 7, 2007.
  2. ^ Secret Scottish Roots Of Best Actor Nominee David - The Sunday Mail
  3. ^ "David Strathairn Finds the Spotlight: David Strathairn Is the Kind of Actor You Know by Face, If Not by Name, But an Oscar Nomination on Tuesday for Best Actor Could Change All That", BBC.co.uk January 26, 2006, Entertainment, accessed August 7, 2007. (Includes video clip.)
  4. ^ a b Full biography of "David Strathairn", Yahoo! Movies, Copyright © 2007, accessed August 7, 2007.
  5. ^ Tay Strathairn at the Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ History of the Bristol Riverside Theatre, at http://www.brtstage.org/history2.html
  7. ^ Paradise (2004) (TV) at the Internet Movie Database
  8. ^ David Strathairn at the Internet Movie Database, accessed August 7, 2007.
  9. ^ Performance revs. by Susan Hollis Merritt, "The Birthday Party" (CSC Repertory Theatre, New York, 17 April 1988, 12 Apr. 1988–22 May 1988) and Bernard Dukore, "The Birthday Party" (CSC Repertory Theatre, New York, April–May 1988), The Pinter Review 2.1 (1988): 66-70; 71-73. (Cover photograph features Strathairn in his role as Stanley.)
  10. ^ 1989 CSC production, HaroldPinter.org (official site), accessed August 7, 2007.
  11. ^ Susan Hollis Merritt, "A Conversation with Carey Perloff, Bill Moor, Peter Riegert, Jean Stapleton, and David Strathairn: After Matinee of Mountain Language and The Birthday Party by CSC Repertory Ltd., Bruno's, New York, 12 Nov. 1989", The Pinter Review: Annual Essays 1989 (TPR) (Tampa: U of Tampa P, 1989) 59-84 (interview); cf. performance rev. by Francis Gillen, "Mountain Language, The Birthday Party" TPR 93-97. (Cover photograph features Strathairn and Stapleton in their roles as a prison Officer and the Elderly Woman in Mountain Language; his other role, the Prisoner, is the Elderly Woman's son.)
  12. ^ Performance revs. by Katherine H. Burkman, "Ashes to Ashes in New York: Roundabout Theatre Company at the Gramercy Theatre, March 30, 1999" and by Susan Hollis Merritt, "Ashes to Ashes in New York: Roundabout Theatre Company, Gramercy Theatre, New York, 3 April 1999", The Pinter Review: Collected Essays 1997 and 1998 (Tampa: U of Tampa P, 1999) 154-59.
  13. ^ Greeley Tribune (2008). Obama uses language of hope, calls for action. Retrieved August 29, 2008.

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