Cotter Smith

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cotter Smith
Joseph Cotter Smith

(1949-05-29) May 29, 1949 (age 70)
Years active1982-present
Spouse(s)Christina Egloff (1972-1980)
Mel Harris (1988-1996)
Heidi Mueller (2001-present)

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

Early life[edit]

He was born 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 productions of Next Fall, which was a 2010 Tony Award nominee for Best New Play, Wendy Wasserstein's An American Daughter) and Lanford Wilson's Burn This. He also co-starred with Judd Hirsch in the National Tour of the Tony Award-winning play Art. His numerous Off Broadway appearances include the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park production of "The Tempest' with Sam Waterston; Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive with Molly Ringwald; Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Soldier's Play with Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson; Michael Weller's Side Effects with Joely Richardson; Athol Fugard's The Blood Knot with Danny Glover; Horton Foote's The Old Friends with Betty Buckley; and the American Premiere of the Olivier Award-winning Cockfight Play, among many others. He was also a ten-year member of the Circle Repertory Company in New York working exclusively on the premiere productions of new American plays.

He is a co-founder of 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.

With his wife, Heidi Mueller Smith, he co-founded and served as Artistic Director of the Cornerstone Theatre Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 2001-2007. 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. His acting credits for the company include 12 Angry Men, Betrayal, Long Day's Journey into Night, and Educating Rita.

Smith has been nominated four times by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, receiving the Outstanding Performance Award in 1996 for George M. Cohan's "The Tavern". He has received four Drama-Logue Awards and two Ovation Award nominations.

His television and film work ranges from his debut 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: X-Men United. 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 more recent appearances on The Americans, Madam Secretary, Person of Interest, Forever, and The Good Wife.

Smith is also an acting teacher, for the past six years at The New School for Drama in New York, where he also served as the Department Head of the MFA Acting Program from 2015-2017. Prior to that he taught for several years at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting.

Personal life[edit]

Smith has been married to Heidi Mueller Smith since 2001. He was previously married to actress Mel Harris, with whom he has a daughter, Madeline, who is currently working on her PhD in History at the University of Chicago. He also 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 Friends with Kids Phil Fryman
2013 Burning Blue Admiral Lynch
2017 The Post William Macomber
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
House of Cards Drewery Episode: "Chapter 16"
2015 Forever Neville Episode: "Mystery of Murder"
The Following Nathan 2 episodes
Blindspot General Episode: "A Stray Howl"
Madam Secretary Darren Hahn 2 episodes
2017 Mindhunter Unit Chief Shepard 8 episodes
2018 One Dollar Mayor Britt Episode: "Wilson Furlbee"
2019 The Code Asa Turnbull 3 Episodes


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

External links[edit]