Real name: Samuel Atkinson Waterston
Birthdate: November 15, 1940
Partner: Lynn Louisa Woodruff Waterston
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Waterston, one of four siblings, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father, George Chychele Waterston, was an immigrant from Leith, Scotland and was a semanticist and language teacher. His mother, Alice Tucker Atkinson, was an American Mayflower descendant and worked as a landscape painter. Waterston attended both the Brooks School, a boarding school in North Andover, Massachusetts, and the Groton School. He entered Yale University on a scholarship in 1958 and graduated with a BA in 1962. After graduating from Yale, he attended the Clinton Playhouse for several months. Waterston also attended the Sorbonne in Paris and the American Actors Workshop.
Aside from Law & Order, he has played other television roles including D.A. Forrest Bedford in I'll Fly Away. He also had a starring role in an episode segment on the TV series Amazing Stories called "Mirror Mirror". He is also on the Advisory Committee for the Lincoln Bicentennial, celebrating Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. Waterston has portrayed Lincoln on stage and screen (The Civil War, Gore Vidal's Lincoln, Abe Lincoln in Illinois on Broadway, and also voiced Lincoln in an exhibit at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.)
Waterston lent his voice to the popular animated television series Family Guy where he played Dr. Kaplan, the psychiatrist Brian Griffin consulted during his mid-life crisis in the episode "Brian in Love". His character, Dr. Kaplan, was modeled to look like Waterston. He was Dr. Kaplan's voice in the episode "Road to Rhode Island", but he is not credited in any other episode in which the character appears. Waterston also narrated NBC's documentary, The Great Race, the story of the famous 4 x 10-kilometer cross-country relay at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, which Italy won over the host nation. The special aired during NBC's coverage of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, on February 18, the day before the 2006 relay took place, which was also won by Italy, though in dominant fashion, unlike the 1994 event. He added partial narration to PBS's documentary, Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery, serving as the voice of Thomas Jefferson. He also appeared in the first episode of ABC's Masters of Science Fiction playing an amnesiac in the episode A Clean Escape.
Waterston appeared on the 5,100th edition of Jeopardy!, on November 10, 2006, with Kathryn Erbe of Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Christopher Meloni of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Waterston finished second to Meloni, and received a $25,000 prize, which he donated to Refugees International and Oceana.
Waterston is regularly featured in television advertisements for Toronto-Dominion Bank's TD Ameritrade (formerly TD Waterhouse, the bank's investment arm). He replaced former Law & Order castmate Steven Hill as TD's spokesman. Also, he has lent his voice to an ad for The Nation.
An active humanitarian, Waterston donates considerable time to organizations such as Refugees International, Meals on Wheels, The United Way, and The Episcopal Actors' Guild of America. Waterston, a practicing Episcopalian, narrated the 1999 biographical documentary of Episcopal civil rights martyr Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Here Am I, Send Me.
In 2002, Waterston and fellow Law & Order castmate Jerry Orbach were honored as "Living Landmarks" by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.