Born In: Long Island, New York, United States
American actor William Fichtner is best known for his performances as Sheriff Tom Underlay in the sci-fi series Invasion and Alexander Mahone in the drama series Prison Break. The former got him a Saturn Award nomination. He received a Critics' Choice Television Award nomination for his role of Adam Janikowski in the sitcom Mom. Fichtner has appeared in several movies, too, such as Armageddon, Crash, and Black Hawk Down. Known mostly for playing antagonistic roles, he later switched to more protagonistic characters. His deep and arresting voice has earned him several significant voice roles. He has voiced Ken Rosenberg in the Grand Theft Auto video game series. He became a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in 2007. In 2011, he became the first Walk of Fame star recipient at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival. A skilled racing driver, he won the 2011 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race. He is also known for his love for hockey and football.
Also Known As: William Edward Fichtner, Bill Fichtner
Spouse/Ex-: Kymberly Kalil (m. 1998), Betsy Aidem (m. 1987–1996)
father: William E. Fichtner
mother: Patricia A. Steitz
siblings: Margaret Fichtner, Mary Fichtner, Pamela Fichtner, Patricia Fichtner
children: Sam Fichtner, Vangel Fichtner
Born Country: United States
Notable Alumni: Farmingdale State College
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: State University of New York at Brockport, Farmingdale State College, American Academy of Dramatic Arts
William Fichtner was born William Edward Fichtner, on November 27, 1956, in the Mitchell Air Force Base in East Meadow, Long Island, New York, US, to William and Patricia A. (née Steitz) Fichtner. He is of mixed descent and has German, English, Irish, and distant Dutch roots.
Fichtner was raised in Cheektowaga, a Buffalo suburb, along with his 4 sisters, Margaret, Mary, Pamela, and Patricia. Fichtner studied at the Maryvale High School, from where he graduated in 1974.
In 1976, he graduated with an associate degree in criminal justice from the Farmingdale State College in East Farmingdale, New York. He then joined the State University of New York (SUNY), Brockport, from where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1978.
Fichtner eventually joined New York’s American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Much later, in May 2008, Fichtner was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Farmingdale State College.
In 1987, William Fichtner began his acting career with the role of Josh Snyder in the CBS soap opera As the World Turns. By 1992, he had become a known face with the Isuzu Trooper SUV TV commercial. He made his film debut with the minor role of a stage manager in the 1994 historical mystery-drama film Quiz Show.
He later gained fame with his roles of Ryan Sparks in the sitcom Grace Under Fire (1994-1995), Sheriff Tom Underlay in the sci-fi TV series Invasion (2005-2006), and Alexander Mahone in the drama Prison Break (2005-2010). His performance in Invasion earned him a nomination for the Saturn Award for Best Actor on Television. His role as Adam Janikowski in the sitcom Mom (2016-2021) got him nominated for a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series.
William Fichtner has also been seen in other notable TV projects, such as the medical drama series MDs (as Bruce Kellerman, 2002), the comedy-drama series Entourage (as Phil Yagoda, 2009-2011), the action-crime-thriller Crossing Lines (as Carl Hickman, 2013-2014), and the musical drama series Empire (as Jameson Henthrop, 2015-2016). He has hosted a few episodes of Top Gear America (2017) and appeared in the main role of Leo in the drama series The Company You Keep (2023).
Some of his notable movies include the sci-fi blockbuster Armageddon (1998), the action comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith (voice, 2005), and the superhero film The Dark Knight (2008). His role of SFC Jeff Sanderson in the critically acclaimed 2001 war film Black Hawk Down earned him a Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast with the rest of the cast.
The 2004 crime drama Crash earned him the Hollywood Film Festival Ensemble of the Year award, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, and a nomination for the Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast, along with the entire cast.
While he was typecast in antagonistic characters, he later started being cast in relatively protagonistic characters, such as in the sports comedy The Longest Yard (2005). His 2005 drama Nine Lives was nominated for a Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Ensemble Cast. The 2011 action horror film Drive Angry, in which he played an accountant, earned him the Fangoria Chainsaw Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Fichtner has also been seen in films such as Pearl Harbor (2001), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), and Independence Day: Resurgence (2016). He directed, co-wrote, and acted in the 2018 fantasy drama film Cold Brook.
William Fichtner lent his signature deep voice to the Time Warner commercials in 2000. He has also voiced Ken Rosenberg in the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004). In 2011, he voiced Master Sergeant Sandman in the video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
In 2002, Fichtner appeared in a print ad for Gap. He has also appeared in the 2003 music video of the Sara Evans track Perfect.
In 2007, he was invited to join the prestigious Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. In April 2011, he scripted history as the first to receive a Walk of Fame star at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival.
William Fichtner married actor Betsy Aidem in 1987. The two had a child, their son Sam, before divorcing in 1996.
On July 25, 1998, he married actor Kymberly Kalil after dating her briefly. The couple have a son, Vangel.
Fichtner has been a life-long fan of the NFL team Buffalo Bills. He also appeared in a commercial for the team just prior to their 2014 season.
He has also narrated the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary named Four Falls of Buffalo, which showcased the team’s 4 back-to-back Super Bowl appearances from 1990 to 1993. He is a hockey lover too and supports the Buffalo Sabres.
He and his Black Hawk Down co-stars Eric Bana and Kim Coates are close friends. Interestingly, Fichtner has attached earlobes.
A skilled car racer, William Fichtner won the 2011 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race at the Long Beach Grand Prix. He finished before Japanese-American professional driver Ken Gushi.
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