William Atherton is an American actor best known for his roles in feature films such as The Sugarland Express, The Hindenburg, Ghostbusters, Real Genius and Die Hard and its sequel.
On television he has had major recurring roles in such series as Life and Defiance.
Atherton attended the Drama School at Carnegie Tech and began his career on the New York stage working with many of the country's leading playwrights including David Rabe, John Guare and Arthur Miller.
He got his big break playing hapless fugitive Clovis Poplin in Steven Spielberg's The Sugarland Express. After this, he garnered major roles in dark drams such as The Day of the Locust and Looking for Mr. Goodbar, as well as the big-budget disaster film The Hindenburg.
He also starred as cowboy Jim Lloyd in the groundbreaking 1978 miniseries Centennial.
Atherton's other film credits include No Mercy, The Pelican Brief and The Last Samurai. He has also made guest appearances on numerous TV shows including Desperate Housewives, Law & Order, Boston Legal and Monk.