William Petersen

Mostly Credited As: William Petersen
Sometimes Credited As: William L. Peterson
William Peterson

Birth Name: William Louis Petersen
Date Of Birth: February 21, 1953 (Age 63)
Country Of Birth: USA
Birth Place: Evanston, Illinois
Height: 5' 11" (1.8 m)

William Petersen

William Petersen was born in Evanston, Illinois on 2/21/1953 Williams is a veteran of the Chicago stage entered movies convincingly playing edgy, implacable pursuers but soon seemed just as credible in sports dramas and light comedies. Petersen simmered as the morally ambiguous protagonist of William Friedkin's scalding crime drama, "To Live and Die in L.A." (1985). Sporting alarmingly tight pants and a bad attitude, he was a Secret Service agent who lavishly breaks the law to snare a master counterfeiter (Willem Dafoe). The following year, Petersen brought a nearly palpable confusion and anxiety to his portrait of a burned out FBI agent who hunts down a serial killer in Michael Mann's disquieting "Manhunter" (retitled "Red Dragon: The Pursuit of Hannibal Lecter" for TV).

A football player in college, Petersen has been well cast as screen sportsmen. He made his TV debut playing a womanizing team manager in "Long Gone" (HBO, 1987), a highly regarded cable telefilm set in the world of minor league baseball. Petersen subsequently acted in several mild comedies including "Cousins" (1989), "Hard Promises" (his producing debut) and the dark comedy "Passed Away" (both 1992). A youth spent in rural Idaho served him well as he played a classic Western law man, Sheriff Pat Garrett, pursuing Emilio Estevez's Billy the Kid in "Young Guns II" (1990). Petersen donned cowboy duds again for the popular TV miniseries sequel, "Return to Lonesome Dove" (CBS, 1993).

Generally shying away from the spotlight, Petersen assumed a higher profile after forming a film and TV production company, High Horse Films, with his partner Cindy Chvatal in 1986. He has been producing works of a more literary nature than the norm for Hollywood. A case in point was "Keep the Change" (TNT, 1992), a thoughtful TV-movie based on a Tom McGuane, in which Petersen starred as an emotionally conflicted California artist who returns to the sanctuary of his native Montana. He has also been popping up in more commercial fare on film and TV. Petersen battled a mysterious sea creature in the Peter Benchley miniseries "The Beast" (NBC, 1996) and announced plans to star in an hour-long drama series on NBC that would be co-produced by High Horse Films. On the big screen, he attempted to protect his teen-aged daughter from a psychopathic Mark Wahlberg in the James Foley-helmed thriller "Fear" (1996).

~William Petersen's Quotes~

Filmography - Actor
Filmography - Producer

Filmography - Actor:
  1. 1981 ~ Thief (as William L. Peterson)
    Character played: Katz & Jammer Bartender
  2. 1985 ~ To Live and Die in L.A.
    Character played: Richard Chance
  3. 1986 ~ Manhunter
    Character played: Will Graham
  4. 1987 ~ Amazing Grace and Chuck
    Character played: Russell Murdock
  5. 1987 ~ Long Gone [TV]
    Character played: Cecil 'Stud' Cantrell
  6. 1989 ~ Cousins
    Character played: Tom Hardy
  7. 1990 ~ The Kennedys of Massachusetts [TV Mini-Series]
    Character played: Joseph P. Kennedy
  8. 1990 ~ Young Guns II
    Character played: Patrick Floyd 'Pat' Garrett
  9. 1991 ~ Hard Promises
    Character played: Joey Coalter
  10. 1992 ~ Passed Away
    Character played: Frank Scanlan
  11. 1992 ~ Keep the Change [TV]
    Character played: Joe Starling
  12. 1993 ~ Curacao [TV]
    Character played: Stephen Guerin
  13. 1993 ~ Return to Lonesome Dove [TV Mini-Series ]
    Character played: Gideon Walker
  14. 1995 ~ In the Kingdom of the Blind, the Man with One Eye Is King
    Character played: Tony C.
  15. 1995 ~ Present Tense, Past Perfect [TV]
    Character played: Jack
  16. 1996 ~ Fear
    Character played: Steve Walker
  17. 1996 ~ Mulholland Falls
    Character played: Jack, Mafia Mobster (uncredited)
  18. 1996 ~ The Beast [TV]
    Character played: Whip Dalton
  19. 1997 ~ 12 Angry Men [TV]
    Character played: Juror #12
  20. 1998 ~ Gunshy
    Character played: Jake Bridges
  21. 1998 ~ The Staircase [TV]
    Character played: Joad
  22. 1998 ~ The Rat Pack [TV]
    Character played: John F. Kennedy
  23. 1999 ~ Kiss the Sky
    Character played: Jeff
  24. 2000 ~ The Skulls (2000)
    Character played: Ames Levritt
  25. 2000 ~ The Contender
    Character played: Gov. Jack Hathaway
  26. 2000 ~ Haven [TV]
    Character played: Jackson Connolly
  27. 2001 ~ Wrigley Field: Beyond the Ivy
    Character played: Narrator

Filmography - Producer:
  1. 1991 ~ Hard Promises
  2. 1992 ~ Keep the Change [TV]


  • Golden Globe 2003
    Best Actor - Drama (TV): Nominated
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation [TV Series]

TV Appearances

Main cast 
Manhattan (2014)As: Col. Emmett Darrow (Season 2 -)
To Appomattox (2013)As: William Tecumseh Sherman
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000)As: Gil Grissom (S01-S9E10)
Return to Lonesome Dove (1993)As: Gideon Walker -- [Voice]
The Kennedys of Massachusetts (1990)As: Joseph P. Kennedy
Episode Cast Credits 

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000) 
  The Two Mrs. Grissoms 11x13: (Feb/03/2011) As Gil Grissom, [Uncredited]

Without a Trace (2002) 
  Where & Why (2) 06x06: (Nov/08/2007) As Gil Grissom, [Special Guest Stars]

The Directors (1999) 
  Michael Mann 02x01: (Jun/01/2002) As Himself 

Fallen Angels (1993) 
  Good Housekeeping 02x04: (Oct/29/1995) As George 

The Twilight Zone (1985) (1985) 
  Red Snow 01x52: (Mar/21/1986) As Edward Sayers 
  Need to Know 01x51: (Mar/21/1986) As Edward Sayers 
Crew Credits

Show Crew

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000)• Producer
• Supervising Producer
• Co-Executive Producer (2003)
• Executive Producer (2004-2005)

Episode Crew


His golfing buddy is CSI co-star George Eads.

William married girlfriend Gina Cirone in 2003.

Billy owns a production company called High Horse

His nickname is Billy.

Attended the Steppenwolf Company in the early years of his career.

When William was younger he was into rock concerts, drinking and the usual pot smoking.

When Gary Sinise didn't get the part of "Richard Chance" in To Live and Die in L.A., he recommended William to William Friedkin.

William is alleged to have passed on a part in Oliver Stone's Platoon, as it would have kept him away from his family.

William only signed up for acting lessons in university as a way to boost his grade point average.

William starred with Bob Balaban in David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow.

More Trivia
William Petersen Quotes
William Petersen: Basically, we are a whole world of people desperately trying to figure out what is the dark side of our natures and how much can we explore without becoming something else.

William Petersen: I assume that part of it is due to the quality of the show and the characters and their chemistry. People like the way it twists and turns on itself. Each week is a puzzle, a really well-done puzzle.

William Petersen: I didn't want to play a lawyer. I didn't want to play a doctor. I didn't want to play a single dad. I wanted to do something I felt I could learn from, something that would be a challenge and something that would not dry up.

William Petersen: I'd lulled myself into the insularity of competence. I'd forgotten that, to do good work as an actor, you have to keep alive that part of yourself that's rebellious, that's an outlaw, that's... that's stark, raving crazy.

William Petersen: If I stayed a football player, my career would have been over 20 years ago. As it is, my knees are shot. I found I got the same good feeling in acting that I had in sports, but I found I could have a more profound impact on people.

William Petersen: I get a lot of stuff from Germany - stuffed bugs and tarantulas.

William Petersen: I have to say, I'm an Illinois resident, ... But when I was a child, as we crossed the state line, we always felt the air was better up here.

William Petersen: I snuck into Bonnie and Clyde as a kid. I was underage. I wasn't supposed to be there. It's unbelievable to work with her. I'm just watching saying this is fabulous, look how good she is.

William Petersen: It's just two pieces of paper, ... I don't know what the big deal is.

William Petersen: It's really about the evidence. It's about making sure that the toothpick gets its close-up.

More Quotes