Cotter Smith

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Cotter Smith
Born Joseph Cotter Smith
(1949-05-29) May 29, 1949 (age 67)
Washington, D.C., United States
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) Christina Egloff (1972 - 1980)
Mel Harris (October 22, 1988 - 1996)
Heidi Mueller (March 31, 2001 - present)

Cotter Smith (born May 29, 1949) is an American stage, film, and television actor.


He was born Joseph Cotter Smith in Washington, D.C., the son of Madeline (née Cotter) and John Lewis Smith, Jr., who was a federal judge.[1] He graduated from the Lawrenceville School in 1968.[2] In 1972, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in literature at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.


He began his acting career in New York City in 1978, studying with Stella Adler and at the Actors Studio. His New York theater credits include the Broadway premiere of Wendy Wasserstein's An American Daughter); Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive; Lanford Wilson's Burn This; Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Soldier's Play; Athol Fugard's Blood Knot and the premiere of Craig Lucas' The Dying Gaul, among many others. He spent ten years as a member of the Circle Repertory Company working exclusively on the premiere productions of new American plays, and is currently a member of the Vineyard Theatre Company in New York. He co-starred with Judd Hirsch in the National Tour of Art.

He is currently appearing in the premiere of Michael Weller's two-character play SIDE EFFECTS with Joely Richardson at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York, directed by David Auburn and produced by MCC Theater Company. He recently completed a run of the new play KIN by Bathsheba Doran, directed by Sam Gold, at Playwrights Horizons in New York. He also appeared in the new play NEXT FALL by Geoffrey Nauffts for the Naked Angels Theatre Company, which completed its critically acclaimed off-Broadway run in the summer of 2009 and moved to Broadway, opening at the Helen Hayes Theatre in March 2010, where it played for six months. It was nominated for a Tony Award for Best New Play of the Year.

He spent five summers as a member of the Playwrights Lab at Robert Redford's Sundance Institute and four at the New York Stage and Film Company working on the development of new American plays. Along with Joseph Stern he co-founded The Matrix Theatre Company in Los Angeles, where he has appeared in The Seagull, The Homecoming, Endgame, Mad Forest, and Habeas Corpus. Other Los Angeles performances include Romeo and Juliet, Love Letters, and Raft of the Medusa, as well as the West Coast premieres of A Soldier's Play and How I Learned to Drive at the Mark Taper Forum.[citation needed]

With Heidi Mueller Smith, he founded and served as Artistic Director from 2001-2007 of the Cornerstone Theatre Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he directed and taught acting. Among his directing credits for the company are Edward Albee's The American Dream, Harold Pinter's Night School, and Lanford Wilson's The Gingham Dog. Some of his acting credits there include 12 Angry Men, Betrayal, Long Day's Journey into Night, and Educating Rita.[citation needed]

Smith has been nominated four times by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, receiving the Outstanding Performance Award. He has received four Drama-Logue Awards and two Ovation Award nominations.

His television and film work ranges from his debut 25 years ago co-starring as Robert Kennedy (opposite Robert Blake's Jimmy Hoffa) in the mini-series Blood Feud, to his role as the President of the United States in the 20th Century Fox film, X2. His most recent film roles have been in the upcoming BURNING BLUE and FRIENDS WITH KIDS. Over the years he has appeared in many television shows, from his regular roles on the ABC series Equal Justice and Night Stalker to his recurring roles on Judging Amy, Tru Calling, Courthouse, and Orleans. His most recent television role was on the series White Collar.

Personal life[edit]

Cotter Smith has been married three times. His first marriage was to radio documentary producer Christina Egloff from 1972-1980. He was then married to actress Mel Harris from 1988 to 1996. Their daughter, Madeline (born 1990), is a student at Barnard College in New York.

He and his third wife, Heidi Mueller Smith, have been married since 2001, and reside in New York City. He has four stepchildren: Brianne, Christopher, Evan and Byron.


Year Film Role Other notes
1984 Nickel Mountain Tucker
1987 Lady Beware Mac Odell
1988 Cameron's Closet Sergeant Sam Taliaferro
1989 K-9 Gilliam
1996 Invader Dr. Case Montgomery Alternative title: Lifeform
2003 Reeseville John Meyers
X2 President McKenna
2005 The Sleeper Dr. Altman
2008 Lunatics, Lovers & Poets Scotty MacGregor
2011 "Burning Blue" Admiral Lynch
"Friends With Kids" Phil Fryman
Year Title Role Notes
1982 St. Elsewhere Dr. Rowe 1 episode
Hill Street Blues Intern 1 episode
1983 Blood Feud Robert F. Kennedy Television movie
1984 Mistral's Daughter Frank Miniseries
The Master Chad Webster 1 episode
Cagney & Lacey Captain Fuller 1 episode
1985 A Bunny's Tale Ned Holcomb Television movie
Moonlighting Brian Baker 1 episode
The Rape of Richard Beck Lt. Hugo Television movie
Hardcastle and McCormick Randy Hopke 1 episode
1986 The Twilight Zone Mitchell Chaplin 1 episode
Murder, She Wrote Robert Rhine 1 episode
D.C. Cops Michael Halsey Television movie
1990 Equal Justice Deputy D.A. Eugene "Gene" Rogan Television movie
1990-1991 Equal Justice Deputy D.A. Eugene "Gene" Rogan 25 episodes
1991 The Last Prostitute Joe Television movie
1992 Midnight's Child Television movie
A Message from Holly Television movie
1993 A Place to Be Loved Mike Caldwell Television movie
With Hostile Intent Officer Rob Arnold Television movie
L.A. Law Tony Henderson 3 episodes
Desperate Journey: The Allison Wilcox Story Steve Television movie
1994 Armed and Innocent Lonnie Television movie
1995 Chicago Hope Dr. Bob Marinak 1 episode
Courthouse Andrew Rawson 6 episodes
Remember Me Adam Nichols Television movie
1996 High Incident 1 episode
1997 Spy Game Adam Quill 1 episode
Bridge of Time Robert Creighton Television movie
Orleans Bill Brennecke 1 episode
Law & Order Eric Martin 1 episode
1998 Oz Judge Benjamin Fee 1 episode
Trinity Agent 1 episode
1999 Vengeance Unlimited Stan Garcos 1 episode
2000 Run the Wild Fields Silas Green Television movie
2001-2005 Judging Amy ASA Jeremy Friedman 4 episodes
2004 Alias Agent Foster 1 episode
2004-2005 Tru Calling Richard Davies 6 episodes
2005-2006 Night Stalker Tony Vincenzo 10 episodes
2006 Commander in Chief Governor Stan Preston 1 episode
NCIS NCIS Special Agent in Charge Sam Stevens 1 episode
Invasion Deputy Buell 1 episode
Without a Trace Fr. Sean McGinnis 1 episode
The Unit Bill Lachey 1 episode
2008 Depth Charge Admiral Butler Television movie
2012 Person of Interest Denton Weeks 3 episodes
2013–2015 The Americans Deputy Attorney General 7 episodes
2014 Revolution President Jack Davis 5 episodes


  1. ^ Cotter Smith Biography
  2. ^ "NOTABLE ALUMNI". The Lawrenceville School. Retrieved October 16, 2014. 

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