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Sam Hennings (born December 17, 1950) is an American actor and writer.
|Born||December 17, 1950|
Macon, Georgia, U.S.
Hennings was born in Macon, Georgia with German, English and Scotch-Irish ancestry. Deciding in the early 1980s to pursue acting as a full-time profession, Hennings moved to Los Angeles where he studied at the prestigious Beverly Hills Playhouse for 20 years with prominent acting teacher, Milton Katselas. In 1984, with encouragement from his teacher, Hennings launched his theatrical stage career, a medium he fell in love with and continues to return to whenever possible.
In 1985, Hennings made his professional acting debut on the ABC series Moonlighting (pilot episode) starring Bruce Willis. Over the next few years Hennings continued to improve his craft through study and stage work and landed several TV guest-starring roles including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Dallas, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Hunter. In 1989, Hennings had his first break when director Randy Roberts, who had directed Hennings earlier in Alfred Hitchcock Presents, invited Hennings to co-star with Lou Gossett Jr., in the acclaimed ABC TV movie Gideon Oliver - The Last Plane from Coramaya. His performance as a photojournalist in wartime Central America was received with an abundance of critical praise.
The 1990s brought Hennings more substantial television roles and well deserved exposure. In 1991, Hennings made his studio film debut as a hard-nosed, Texas sheriff in the 1960s era film Shout, starring John Travolta, Heather Graham and Gwyneth Paltrow. Shout earned mixed reviews from critics, but even so, Hennings earned praise for his performance. Opening the doors for Hennings to play Loyola Marymount basketball coach, David Spencer, alongside veteran actor George Kennedy, in an emotionally driven performance in the biographical television drama, Final Shot: The Hank Gathers Story. In 1992-93, Hennings landed his first series regular role on television in the short lived series Secrets, and NBC's Trade Winds. He was then cast as the lead in the film, Seasons of the Heart, playing a weary, Civil War-era man on the cold plains of Oregon whose children are dying of cholera.
Hennings continued to be adamant against being pigeonholed as a handsome, good guy or a so-called, bad guy. And in 1994, director John Badham cast Hennings as a rogue, skydiving, DEA agent opposite Gary Busey in Paramount Studios film Drop Zone, starring Wesley Snipes. CBS then cast Hennings as a charming, but dark murderer, in the western series, The Magnificent Seven, with Robert Vaughn. That same year he was cast as Linda Hamilton’s love interest in the CBS MOW: Point Last Seen, also starring Mary Kay Place. He finished the decade with recurring roles on the CBS series, Pensacola: Wings of Gold as James Brolin's hot-headed brother and the popular military drama series, JAG, as the Captain of an aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean.
Hennings’s star continued to rise in the early 2000s as he continued to pour on his magic in every role he accepted. In 2002, NBC cast him as a charming CIA operative in the long running series ER and in 2004, he accepted the lead role as Ben Steed in the trilogy (2004-2006) film series, The Work and the Glory. Later that year, Martin Scorsese cast him in The Aviator, with Leonardo DiCaprio. 2005 Hennings was cast in the film, Havoc, as Bijou Phillips’ father, starring Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bijou Phillips and Raymond Cruz. TNT cast him in a recurring role as Holly Hunter's brother in the series Saving Grace. In 2009, Hennings was cast in the film Stolen, with Jon Hamm and Jessica Chastain. Finishing out the year, Hennings accepted guest starring roles in television shows such as Eleventh Hour, Dollhouse, Cold Case, CSI Miami and CSI Crime Scene Investigation.
2010 started out well for Hennings. George Clooney and Grant Heslov, co-founders of Smokehouse Productions and whom had known Hennings from his early days at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, cast him as a series regular opposite Jason Lee and Alfre Woodard in Memphis Beat, for TNT. The Hollywood Reporter’s review of Memphis Beat read: “But even as the cop genre seems beyond saturation, along comes TNT's Memphis Beat, a series with a fresh character in a fresh environment with a fresh look and sound that proves, against all odds, that good actors and agile execution trump format every time.” Memphis Beat aired for two seasons, clearly establishing Hennings as a versatile leading man and character actor. In 2011, while on hiatus from Memphis Beat, Hennings was cast in the popular fantasy cult series, Supernatural, as the legendary gun-maker, Samuel Colt.
In 2012, director Jon Avnet drafted Hennings as the recurring character, “Col. Harold," for the YouTube series Lauren, with Jennifer Beals, Troian Bellisario and Raymond Cruz. In 2013, director Wayne Kramer offered Hennings the dark role of “Virgil," aka the “Devil," in Pawn Shop Chronicles. The film is an off-the wall anthology of stories involving meth-addicted, white supremacists, a man looking for his kidnapped wife and an Elvis impersonator. Pawn Shop Chronicles starred Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Brendan Fraser, Elijah Wood and Vincent D’Onofrio. Hennings, once again, received rave reviews for his performance in this film. Hennings continued to accept challenging guest starring roles on hit shows some of which include Castle, Criminal Minds and Red Widow, with Radha Mitchell, where Hennings played a hardened, bad-ass drug dealer.
Hennings then returned to his favorite medium, the stage, in plays such as Hanging Alice and Ten Tricks. Ten Tricks was later made into a film co-starring Lea Thompson and Raymond Cruz and Hennings. In 2013, the Lifetime Network cast Hennings as a stern, polygamous husband in the TV movie Escape from Polygamy with Haley Lu Richardson and Mary McCormack. In 2017, Hennings was cast in Hypnotized, playing an egotistical, sex-obsessed, Southern Governor, with Kevin Pollack and Vinnie Jones. Hennings's latest project is the Netflix original film Juanita, starring Adam Beach, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Blair Underwood and Hennings's good friend and co-star from Memphis Beat, Alfre Woodard. Hennings's latest writing project is his recently completed screenplay, The Littlest Cowboy.
- Moonlighting (Jonathan Kaplan) — 1985
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (Patrolman) — 1986
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Angel One" (Ramsey) — 1988
- On Our Own (Uncle Jack) — 1988
- Gideon Oliver (Drew Lord) — 1989
- Night Angel, 1990
- Shout (Travis Parker) — 1991
- Seedpeople (Tom Baines) — 1992
- Seasons of The Heart (Jed Richards) — 1993
- Drop Zone (Torski) — 1994
- Murder, She Wrote (Webb Prentiss) — 1995
- The Magnificent Seven (Lucas James) — 1998
- JAG (Colonel Ronald Vickers) — 1998
- Point Last Seen (Frank) — 1998
- Walker, Texas Ranger (J.T. Brody) — 1999
- Resurrection Blvd. (Guy) — 2001–02
- JAG (Captain Huddleston) — 2001
- CSI (Pete Banson) — 2002
- The Lone Ranger (Mr. Hartman) — 2003
- ER (Steve Davidson) — 2003
- The Work and the Glory (Ben Steed) — 2004
- The Aviator (Frank) — 2004
- The Work and The Glory: American Zion (Ben Steed) — 2005
- Havoc (Mr. Rubin) — 2005
- Soldier of God (Gerard de Ridfort) — 2005
- E-Ring (Colonel David Lindstrom) — 2006
- 10 Tricks (Keith) — 2006
- The Work and the Glory: A House Divided (Ben Steed) — 2006
- Saving Grace (Joe Hanadarko) — 2007
- Stolen (Luke Wakefield) — 2008
- Eleventh Hour (Sheriff Larsson) — 2008
- Dollhouse (Senator Boxbaum) — 2009
- Elevator Girl (Alan Schuster) — 2009
- CSI: Miami (Max Desalvo) — 2009
- Cold Case (Randall Baxter 'Both Characters') — 2009
- CSI (John Rakow) — 2009
- The Event (Gen. Addington) — 2010
- Supernatural (Samuel Colt) — 2011
- Memphis Beat (Charlie 'Whitehead' White) — 2009–2011
- Castle (Seth Harris) — 2012
- Lauren (Col. Harold) — 2012-2013
- Criminal Minds (U.S. Marshal John Tilghman) — 2012
- Red Widow (Orson) — 2013
- The Mentalist (Jeffrey Coates) — 2013
- Franklin & Bash (Hugh King) — 2013
- Pawn Shop Chronicles (Virgil) — 2013
- Escape from Polygamy (Merril) — 2014
- Hypnotized (Governor) — 2017
- Literally, Right Before Aaron (Father Jack) — 2018
- Juanita (Drew) — 2019