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.In 1972, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in literature at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.
He began his acting career in New York in 1978, studying with Stella Adler and at the Actors Studio. His many New York theater credits include the Broadway premiere of Wendy Wasserstein's An American Daughter with Hal Holbrook, Kate Nelligan, and Peter Riegert; Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning How I Learned to Drive with Molly Ringwald; Lanford Wilson's Burn This with Joan Allen; Charles Fuller's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Soldier's Play with Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson; Athol Fugard's Blood Knot with Danny Glover; the premiere of Craig Lucas' The Dying Gaul, as well as 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 also co-starred with Judd Hirsch in the National Tour of the Tony Award-winning play 'Art'.
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. He is also a founding member of the Matrix Theatre Company in Los Angeles, where he has appeared in Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, Samuel Beckett's Endgame, Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest, Alan Bennett's Habeas Corpus and George M. Cohan's The Tavern. 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.
Together with his wife, Heidi Mueller Smith, he is a Founder and Artistic Director of the Cornerstone Theatre Company in Milwaukee, where he has also 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.
He has been nominated four times by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and is the recipient of their Outstanding Performance Award. He has also 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 more recent role as the President of the United States in the 20th Century Fox film, X2. Over the years he has appeared in over fifty 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 numerous guest star appearances span from the early days of Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere to the more recent Law & Order and Without a Trace.
Personal life Edit
Cotter Smith is the father of Madeline, a student at Barnard College in New York. He has three stepchildren: Brianne, Christopher and Evan.
|1987||Lady Beware||Mac Odell|
|1988||Cameron's Closet||Sergeant Sam Taliaferro|
|1996||Invader||Dr. Case Montgomery||Alternative title: Lifeform|
|2005||The Sleeper||Dr. Altman|
|2008||Lunatics, Lovers & Poets||Scotty MacGregor|
|1982||St. Elsewhere||Dr. Rowe||1 episode|
|Hill Street Blues||Intern||1 episode|
|1983||Blood Feud||Robert F. Kennedy||Television movie|
|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 New 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|
|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||1 episode|
|2008||Depth Charge||Television movie|