William Sanderson

William Sanderson (born January 10, 1944) is an American actor, known for his work in such feature films as Blade Runner (1982) and in such television series as Newhart (1982–1990), Deadwood (2004–2006, 2019), and True Blood (2008–2010, 2012).

William Sanderson
William Sandersen 2019.jpg
Sanderson in 2019
Born (1944-01-10) January 10, 1944 (age 77)
Years active1976–2020
Spouse(s)Sharon Sanderson (m. 1993)

Early lifeEdit

Sanderson was born in Memphis, Tennessee on January 10, 1944[1] to an elementary school teacher mother and a landscape designer father.[2] He is a 1962 graduate of Memphis Central High School.

Sanderson volunteered for the U.S. Army when he was 18 years old. After his discharge, he attended college using the G.I. Bill, first at Southern Methodist University for a year, then at the University of Memphis.[3] He earned business (BBA, 1968) and law (J.D., 1971) degrees there (then known as Memphis State University), though he did not take the bar exam.[4]


Sanderson appeared as one of the mechanics and regulars of the diner in The Rocketeer, who defies Nazi agents looking for the top secret rocket pack. He also portrayed a character named Deuce in an episode of Babylon 5 and later reprised the role in Babylon 5: Thirdspace. Sanderson voiced Dr. Karl Rossum in Batman: The Animated Series. Sanderson starred in Fight for Your Life, which has a strict ban in the United Kingdom.

As a guest, he made appearances in television shows, and his credits include The Pretender, The X-Files, Knight Rider, Married... with Children, Babylon 5, ER, Coach, and Walker, Texas Ranger. He plays a key role in an audio dramatization of Ursula K. Le Guin's Vaster than Empires and More Slow in NPR's 2000X series. In 2001, Sanderson played the courageous bartender Dewey in the TNT film Crossfire Trail.[5]

Sanderson played Larry in Newhart from 1982 to 1990, famous for the catchphrase, "Hi. I'm Larry. This is my brother Darryl. This is my other brother Darryl."

Sanderson had a minor role as the abusive and cruel junkyard dealer Ray in Man's Best Friend.

He returned to television playing E. B. Farnum in the HBO television series Deadwood from 2004 to 2006, later reprising the role in its film continuation. In 2008, Sanderson joined the cast of True Blood, playing Sheriff Bud Dearborne. He played Oldham, the resident interrogation expert of the DHARMA Initiative in an episode of the fifth season of the ABC series Lost.

In May 2019, Sanderson released an autobiography about his career, Yes, I'm That Guy: The Rough-and-Tumble Life of a Character Actor.[6] Following the release of his book, Sanderson and Nick "Saucey" Katsouros released a six-episode limited-run podcast, Sanderson Says, to discuss and expound on the autobiography.[7]

Sanderson announced his retirement from acting on his Facebook page on May 13, 2020.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

William lives in Harrisburg with his wife. He has one son and two grandchildren.


Year Title Role Notes
1977 Fight for Your Life Jessie Lee Kane
1977 Proof of the Man Gun Dealer
1978 Blue Nude Guy in Next Cell Uncredited
1979 The Onion Field Young Con
1979 Savage Weekend Otis
1980 Coal Miner's Daughter Lee Dollarhide
1980 Seed of Innocence Randy Webb
1981 Death Hunt Ned Warren
1981 Raggedy Man Calvin
1982 The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez Cowboy
1982 Blade Runner J.F. Sebastian
1983 Lone Wolf McQuade 'Snow'
1983 Nightmares Gas Station Attendant Segment: "Terror in Topanga"; uncredited
1984 City Heat Lonnie Ash
1985 Fletch Jim Swarthout
1986 Black Moon Rising Tyke Thayden
1987 Last Man Standing Casper
1987 Dead Aim Brennan
1989 Thunderground 'Ratman'
1989 Deadly Weapon Reverend Smith
1990 Mirror, Mirror Mr. Veze
1991 The Giant of Thunder Mountain Percey Crow
1991 The Rocketeer Skeets
1993 Skeeter Gordon Perry
1993 Man's Best Friend Ray
1994 Mirror, Mirror II: Raven Dance Roger
1994 The Client FBI Agent Wally Boxx
1994 Wagons East Zeke
1995 Hologram Man Manny 'Giggles' O'Donnell
1995 Phoenix Miro
1996 Last Man Standing Joe Monday, Bartender
1996 Forest Warrior Paul Carpio
1996 The Utilizer Leek
1997 Critics and Other Freaks Chef Bernie
1999 Nice Guys Sleep Alone Rufus
2000 Stanley's Gig Stanley Myer
2000 Stageghost Jack Butler
2001 Dying on the Edge Tommy
2002 Monkey Love Bradley Chalmers
2002 Never Get Outta the Boat Clarence
2003 Gods and Generals General A. P. Hill
2003 The Low Budget Time Machine The Prospector
2004 Promised Land Clark
2004 Avatar Riley
2005 Wit's End Jedediah Cross
2006 Disappearances 'Rat' Kinneson
2006 Beyond the Wall of Sleep Joe Slaader
2006 The Treasure of Painted Forest Paul
2008 Pretty Ugly People Sam
2014 A Merry Friggin' Christmas Father Juge
2018 The Griddle House Gus


Year Title Role Notes
1976 The Other Side of Victory Unknown Television film
1979 Starsky & Hutch Weirdo Episode: "Starsky vs. Hutch"
1980 Scared Straight! Another Story Harlan Television film
1980 The Dukes of Hazzard Russ Collins Episode: "Mrs. Roscoe P. Coltrane"
1980–1981 Palmerstown, U.S.A. Merwin Noon / Henry Redmond 2 episodes
1981 Walking Tall Stacy Episode: "The Protectors of the People"
1982–1990 Newhart Larry 91 episodes
1982 Bret Maverick Kenneth Broomick Episode: "Hallie"
1982 Quincy, M.E. Willie McCracken Episode: "Guns Don't Die"
1982 The Executioner's Song Gibbs Television film; uncredited
1982 Knight Rider The Reverend Episode: "Trust Doesn't Rust"
1983 Who Will Love My Children? Cleve Shelby Television film
1983 It Takes Two Earl Episode: "Instinct"
1983 Women of San Quentin 'Countee' Television film
1985 Streets of Justice 'Weasel' Television film
1986 The Defiant Ones Mason Television film
1986 Dalton: Code of Vengeance II Bobby Fuller Television film
1987 The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains Trump Television film
1988 The Twilight Zone Norman Blane Episode: "The Call"
1989 Lonesome Dove 'Lippy' Jones Miniseries; 4 episodes
1991 Sometimes They Come Back Carl Mueller (age 44) Television film
1991 Married... with Children Cousin Eb Episode: "Buck Has a Belly Ache"
1992 Dangerous Curves Bobby Havens Episode: "Auld Lang Syne"
1992 Mann & Machine Dr. William Unzer Episode: "Cold, Cold Heart"
1992 The Young Riders Emmett Barnett Episode: "The Debt"
1992–1994 Batman: The Animated Series Dr. Karl Rossum (voice) 4 episodes
1993 Sirens Male Store Owner Episode: "Keeping the Peace"
1993 Ned Blessing: The Story of My Life and Times Unknown Episode: "The Smink Brothers"
1993 Return to Lonesome Dove 'Lippy' Jones Miniseries; 4 episodes
1994 Matlock Mickey Sanders Episode: "The Crook"
1994 Babylon 5 'Deuce' Episode: "Grail"
1994 The X-Files Edward Funsch Episode: "Blood"
1995 Siringo Tully Television film
1995 The Marshal Philbrick Episode: "The Heartbreak Kid"
1995 Santo Bugito Clem (voice) Episode: "My Name Is Revenge"
1995–1997 Aaahh!!! Real Monsters Various voices 2 episodes
1996 Andersonville Munn Television film
1996 The Pretender Roy Abbot Episode: "Every Picture Tells a Story"
1996 ER Mr. Percy Episode: "No Brain, No Gain"
1996–1999 Jumanji Professor J.S. Ibsen (voice) 14 episodes
1996–2001 Walker, Texas Ranger Will Stanton / Mayor 3 episodes
1997 Coach Jesse / Larry 3 episodes
1997 George Wallace T.Y. Odum Television film
1997 Cow and Chicken Cowboy (voice) Episode: "School Bully/Time Machine"
1997 George and Leo Unknown Episode: "The Cameo Episode"
1998 The Practice Mr. Simmons Episode: "Rhyme and Reason"
1998 Babylon 5: Thirdspace 'Deuce' Television film
1998 Maximum Bob Dicky Crowe 5 episodes
1998 The Angry Beavers Ditto Otto / Clerk (voice) Episode: "If You Insisters/Alley Oops!"
1999 L.A. Heat The Monk Episode: "The Monk"
2000 Miracle on the Mountain: The Kincaid Family Story Helicopter Pilot Television film
2000 Resurrection Blvd. Clancy, The Illegal Gun Dealer Episode: "Suenos"
2000 Psyko Ferret Stan Veinous (voice) Television film
2001 Crossfire Trail Dewey Television film
2002 Dharma & Greg Mike Episode: "The Tooth Is Out There"
2003 Monte Walsh 'Skimpy' Eagens Television film
2003 Without a Trace Wally Sykes Episode: "Kam Li"
2004 Monk Joshua Skinner Episode: "Mr. Monk Gets Married"
2004–2006 Deadwood E. B. Farnum 36 episodes
2007 Life Holt Easley Episode: "What They Saw"
2008–2012 True Blood Sheriff Bud Dearborne 22 episodes
2009 Lost Oldham Episode: "He's Our You"
2009 Trauma Captain Edward Smith Episode: "Blue Balloon"
2010 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Jim Episode: "Choices"
2011 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior Leonard Keane Episode: "Nighthawk"
2011 Mike & Molly Dennis 2 episodes
2011 Bar Karma James 12 episodes
2012 Bones Norbert Mobley Episode: "The Family in the Feud"
2013 Bravest Warriors Alien Perkalus (voice) Episode: "Mexican Touchdown"
2019 American Gods The Bookkeeper Episode: "The Greatest Story Ever Told"
2019 Deadwood: The Movie E. B. Farnum Television film


  1. ^ "UPI Almanac for Friday, Jan. 10, 2020". United Press International. January 10, 2020. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved February 1, 2020. … actor William Sanderson in 1944 (age 76)
  2. ^ King, Susan (June 11, 2006). "Reluctantly, He'll Find His Next Train". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on February 4, 2020.
  3. ^ Peters, Jamie (2006). "Acting most peculiar". The University of Memphis Magazine. University of Memphis. 27 (2). Archived from the original on August 14, 2017. Retrieved August 14, 2017.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ Brinkley, Aaron (2000). "Blade Zone Presents: An Interview with William Sanderson". BladeZone. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
  5. ^ Speier, Michael (January 19, 2001). "Crossfire Trail". Variety. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  6. ^ Vakulskas, Brian (May 18, 2019). "Yes, I'm That Guy: The Rough-and-Tumble Life of a Character Actor". KSCJ 1360. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  7. ^ "Sanderson Says". Retrieved November 8, 2019 – via SoundCloud.com.
  8. ^ "William Sanderson on Facebook Watch". May 13, 2020 – via facebook.com.

Further readingEdit

  • Voisin, Scott, Character Kings: Hollywood's Familiar Faces Discuss the Art & Business of Acting. BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59393-342-5.

External linksEdit