More Tom Skerritt Bios & Profiles
Biography #2 (for Tears of the Sun)Tom Skerritt has portrayed a diverse gallery of characters in such memorable films as Robert Altman's M*A*S*H, Herbert Ross' Steel Magnolias, The Turning Point (National Board of Review Award as Best Supporting Actor), Ridley Scott's Alien, Tony Scott's Top Gun, Robert Redford's A River Runs Through It and Robert Zemeckis' Contact. Skerritt is also well known for his Emmy Award-winning role of Sheriff Jimmy Bock on the CBS series Picket Fences, for which he received nominations from the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards.
Born in Detroit, Skerritt studied at Wayne State University and UCLA. Though he was originally interested in directing, a performance in a UCLA theater production led to his first film role in the 1961 drama War Hunt, where he first met another aspiring actor, Robert Redford. Some of his other feature credits include Blake Edwards' The Wild Rovers, Altman's Thieves Like Us, Silence of the North (collecting a Genie nomination as Best Actor), David Cronenberg's The Dead Zone and Garry Marshall's The Other Sister.
On the small screen, Skerritt most recently portrayed General William Westmoreland in the late John Frankenheimer's historical epic Path to War. He also recently recreated the role of Sheriff Will Kane (made popular by Oscar winner Gary Cooper), in a new version of the classic western High Noon. He played Joseph Kennedy in the CBS miniseries Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Life, and also recently starred in Lifetime's An American Daughter, and another CBS miniseries Aftershock.
Other television credits include The China Lake Murders, The Heist, Red King, White Knight, the NBC miniseries Hunt for the Unicorn Killer, Two for Texas with Kris Kristofferson, Miles to Go opposite Jill Clayburgh, Poker Alice with Elizabeth Taylor, Child of the Night alongside JoBeth Williams, and Getting Up and Going Home with Blythe Danner, Julianne Phillips and Roma Downey.
Skerritt has also logged more than sixty television guest-starring roles over the years, including a six-episode stint as Kirstie Alley's boss during the 1988 season of Cheers.
He has also appeared on several other memorable TV series including Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Fugitive, Combat!, Mannix, The Virginian and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour."
He realized his aspiration to direct with the ABC-TV Afternoon Special A Question of Sex, and followed it with the 1997 USA Network telefilm Divided by Hate, in which he also starred as the leader of a religious cult. He also helmed several episodes of Picket Fences and Chicago Hope during their runs. He is currently preparing a feature film, which he has written and will direct.
Bio courtesy Columbia Pictures for "Tears of the Sun" (09-Mar-2003)