Produced in San Francisco on January 26, 1949, David Strathairn’s movie debut was in Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980). Other small parts followed, including on television’s Miami Vice, as well as in the movies Silkwood and Matewan. Strathairn went to larger picture characters in the ’90s, playing in City of Hope, The River Wild, Losing Isaiah and Limbo, among many other movies. He went to star in movies like We’re Marshall, The Bourne Ultimatum and Temple Grandin, and was cast as U.S. politician William Seward in the Steven Spielberg-directed biopic Lincoln (2012).
After graduating from high school,Strathairn registered at Williams College, a small liberal arts school in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he met film director John Sayles. Following his graduation from Williams College, he trained at Florida’s Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College.
Strathairn’s big screen debut came in 1980 with Return of the Secaucus Seven, a movie directed by Sayles. He went to get little parts in several movies, including Silkwood (1983); Matewan (1987), with Chris Cooper and James Earl Jones; and Dominick and Eugene (1988), with Ray Liotta and Jamie Lee Curtis. Matewan, (1987), and Eight Men Out (1988). He also appeared on television around this time, including to the most popular crime series Miami Vice as well as the show Spenser: For Hire.
In the 1990s, Straithairn built his standing as a serious performer. He went to star in the feature films We’re Marshall, The Bourne Ultimatum and Temple Grandin, among other characters. Other cast members of Lincoln contain Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and John Hawkes.
In 2014, Strathairn starred asAdmiral William Stenz in latest remake of Godzilla.