John Slattery is an American actor and director who has made his presence felt in big screen flicks, TV productions as well theatre through his versatile acting. He is particularly known for his characterisation of Roger Sterling, one of the lead characters of American period drama television series ‘Mad Men’. It has not only earned him great acclaim and popularity but also nominations for two Critics' Choice Television Awards and four Emmy Awards. The ensemble of ‘Mad Men’ won two ‘Screen Actors Guild Award’ in 2009 and 2010 of which Slattery was a part. Starting his television career in the late 1980s he went on to establish himself as one of the most in-demand character artists with series like ‘Will & Grace’, ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘’Judging Amy’. He embarked into theatres just after his television debut and has over the years thrived in portraying several characters including in ‘The Extra Man’, ‘The Rabbit Hole’, ‘Three Days of Rain’, ‘Betrayal’ and ‘Laughter on the 23rd Floor’. He made his big screen debut in the mid-1990s and went on to feature in noteworthy flicks like ‘Traffic’, ‘Eraser’, ‘Flag of Our Fathers’, ‘Where's Marlowe?’, ‘Charlie Wilson's War’, ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘Spotlight’ among others. While furthering his acting career, in 2013 he ventured into direction with the drama film ‘God’s Pocket’ (2014) that he co-wrote with Alex Metcalf. Moving forward he also directed two episodes of the romantic comedy web television series ‘Love’.
Childhood & Early Life
John Slattery was born on August 13, 1962, in Boston, Massachusetts, US, to the Irish family of John "Jack" Slattery and Joan (née Mulhern) among six children. His father, a leather merchant and his mother, a retired CPA raised him, his four older sisters and one younger brother in Boston as Roman Catholics.
He studied in ‘St. Sebastian's School’ in Needham, Massachusetts. As a child he aspired to be a baseball player and had great interest in watching television and movies.
In 1984, he graduated with a ‘Bachelor of Fine Arts’ degree majoring in theatre from ‘The Catholic University of America’. Thereafter he relocated to New York City in pursuit of a career in acting.
While striving with auditions he sustained himself by doing odd jobs like serving as waiter and as limousine driver.
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He made his debut in television with the 1988 series ‘Dirty Dozen: The Series’ featuring as Pvt. Dylan Leeds in 8 of its 14 episodes. Thereafter he worked steadily in television for more than two decades performing in different series essaying guest, recurring and regular roles as also in TV movies.
In 1989 he debuted in theatre with the play ‘The Lisbon Traviata’ that also had Nathan Lane. He collaborated successfully with playwright Richard Greenberg that saw him starring in the latter’s plays including ‘Three Days of Rain’, ‘Night and Her Stars’ and ‘The Extra Man’ garnering much critical acclaim.
In 1991 he worked in single episodes of two TV series namely ‘Under Cover’ and ‘China Beach’ and TV movies ‘Before the Storm’ and ‘Under Cover’ before landing up with the extended role of Al Kahn, a union organizer in the TV drama series ‘Homefront’ where he featured in 38 out of 42 episodes.
His Broadway debut happened in 1993 with playwright Neil Simon’s ‘Laughter on the 23rd Floor’ where he starred along with Nathan Lane.
While gradually making his mark in television and theatre, Slattery embarked into big screen in the mid-1990s. Some of his films of the 1990s include ‘Eraser’ (1996), ‘Sleepers’ (1996), ‘The Naked Man’ (1998) and ‘Where's Marlowe?’ (1998).
His next notable television role was that of Dr. Richard Meyers in the 1998-99 comedy series ‘Maggie’.
He did several recurring roles in notable television series such as Sam Truman in ‘Will & Grace’ (1999); Michael Cassidy in ‘Judging Amy’ (1999-2000); and Bill Kelley in ‘Sex and the City’ (2000).
In 2000 he made his theatrical appearance once again with a revival of playwright Harold Pinter’s ‘Betrayal’. That year he also portrayed as ADA Dan Collier in Steven Soderbergh’s crime drama film ‘Traffic’.
His portrayal of Dennis Martino, the new cool and confidant principal of high school in the TV comedy drama series ‘Ed’ (2001-02) in 17 of its episodes earned Slattery great notoriety making him a subject of debate among the fans of the series.
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In 2003 he featured as Paul Moore starring opposite Julia Roberts as her on-screen boyfriend in the drama flick ‘Mona Lisa Smile’. The film was a big hit garnering $141.3 million worldwide.
Gradually, his versatility made him among the most sought-after character actors. He went on to perform in several other TV series including ‘K Street’ (2003), ‘Desperate Housewives’ (2007), ‘Arrested Development’ (2013) and ‘Veep’ (2016) among many others.
Meanwhile in 2007 he earned the most remarkable role of his career, Roger Sterling, one of the lead characters of the TV series ‘Mad Men’. He essayed it recurrently in season 1 and regularly from season 2 to 7 till 2015 performing in 85 episodes out of 92 garnering much deserved acclaim and fame.
He embarked into direction with the drama film ‘God’s Pocket’ that released at the ‘Sundance Film Festival’ on January 17, 2014, and in the US on May 9, 2014. The film that is based on Peter Dexter’s 1983 novel of same title was co-written by him with Alex Metcalf and received mixed critical reviews.
Hhis most remarkable film so far remains the biographical crime drama ‘Spotlight’ that released on November 6, 2015. The film where he portrayed American journalist and writer Ben Bradlee Jr. was both a critical and commercial success and earned many critics’ and guild awards.
Other notable films of Slattery are ‘Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights’ (2004), ‘Charlie Wilson's War’ (2007), ‘Iron Man 2’ (2010) and ‘The Adjustment Bureau’ (2011).
He directed two of the ten episodes of the romantic comedy web television series ‘Love’ namely ‘Tested’ and ‘Party in the Hills’ both of which originally released on February 19, 2016.
His upcoming film ‘Churchill’, a British historical war drama flick will see him essaying the character of Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Personal Life & Legacy
He is married to actress Talia Balsam since 1998 and the couple is blessed with a son, Harry.
Slattery is an athletics enthusiast and likes to ski and surf.