William Pullman (born December 17, 1953) is an American actor. After graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater, he was an adjunct professor at Montana State University before deciding to pursue acting. +more He made his film debut in Ruthless People (1986), and starred in Spaceballs (1987), The Accidental Tourist (1988), Sleepless in Seattle (1993), While You Were Sleeping (1995), Casper (1995), Independence Day (1996), Lost Highway (1997), and Lake Placid (1999). He has appeared frequently on television, usually in TV films. Starting in the 2000s he has also acted in miniseries and regular series, including starring roles in 1600 Penn (2012-13) and The Sinner (2017-2021). In 2021, he had a recurring role in the miniseries Halston.

Pullman has also had a long stage acting career. He has appeared on Broadway several times, including in Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? in 2002.

Join Group About Bill Pullman
1.725 Members
764 Posts

Early life

Pullman was born in Hornell, New York, the son of James Pullman, a physician, and Johanna (née Blaas), a nurse.

After graduating from Hornell High School in 1971, he attended the State University of New York at Delhi (SUNY Delhi) and the State University of New York at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta) in the 1970s. He eventually received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. +more He taught theater at SUNY Delhi and was an adjunct professor at Montana State University's School of Film and Photography in Bozeman, Montana, where his students persuaded him to pursue film roles.


During the 1980s, Pullman worked primarily with theater companies around New York and Los Angeles. His first prominent film role was in Ruthless People, starring Danny DeVito and Bette Midler. +more Other notable films included the lead in Spaceballs (1987), The Serpent and the Rainbow (with Zakes Mokae), and While You Were Sleeping (1995). In 1996, he played the President of the United States in the sci-fi film Independence Day. A year later he had a major role in Lost Highway (1997), and voiced Korso in the animated post-apocalyptic film Titan A. E. His more recent films have included The Grudge and Scary Movie 4. He also starred alongside Christian Bale in the musical Newsies.

From February 2002 until September 2002, Pullman starred with Mercedes Ruehl in Edward Albee's play The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? on Broadway. It won the 2002 Tony Award for Best Play, the 2002 Drama Desk Award Outstanding New Play, and the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. +more Pullman was nominated for the 2002 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Play.

He starred as Dr. Richard Massey in the miniseries Revelations, and in Albee's play Peter and Jerry, at off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre in New York, for which he received a second Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Play in 2008.

Pullman is also a creative writer. His first play, Expedition 6, is about the International Space Station mission Expedition 6, in orbit at the time the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed on reentry, grounding the U. +moreS. space shuttle program and requiring the ISS crew to remain in orbit an additional two months. The play opened at San Francisco's Magic Theater in September 2007.

He also appeared in the Broadway production of David Mamet's Oleanna, co-starring Julia Stiles. It opened at the John Golden Theatre October 11, 2009, and closed on December 6, 2009 after 65 performances.

He is a jury member for the digital studio Filmaka, a platform for undiscovered filmmakers to show their work to industry professionals.

Pullman played Oswald Danes, a pedophile and child killer, in Torchwood: Miracle Day, the fourth series of the BBC/Starz Entertainment television show Torchwood (a spinoff to the BBC series Doctor Who), the former of which began airing in July 2011. For his performance as Danes, he received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor on Television.

From 2012 to 2013, Pullman portrayed the president of the United States in the television comedy series 1600 Penn. He played detective Harry Ambrose in the USA Network mystery series The Sinner, which premiered in 2017 and has aired for four seasons.

Personal life

Pullman is married to Tamara Hurwitz, a modern dancer. Their three children are actor Lewis Pullman, singer-songwriter Maesa Pullman, and Jack Pullman.

At the age of 21, Pullman suffered a head injury when he fell while rehearsing a play, and lost his sense of smell and the feeling in his left elbow. He is an avid Buffalo Bills fan. +more He co-owns a cattle ranch with his brother in Montana, near the town of Whitehall, where he lives part-time. He also serves on the Board of Trustees at Alfred University and was awarded an honorary doctorate there on May 14, 2011. In 2018, he received an honorary doctorate from Montana State University, where he was formerly employed.



1986Ruthless PeopleEarl Mott
1987SpaceballsLone Starr
1988The Serpent and the RainbowDr. Dennis Alan
1988Rocket GibraltarCrow Black
1988The Accidental TouristJulian Edge
1989Cold FeetBuck Latham
1990Brain DeadDr. +more Rex Martin
1990Sibling RivalryNicholas Meany
1990Bright AngelBob
1991LiebestraumPaul Kessler
1991Going UnderBiff Banner
1992Nervous TicksYork Daley
1992NewsiesBryan Denton
1992A League of Their OwnBob Hinson
1992SinglesDr. Jamison
1993SommersbyOrin Meecham
1993Sleepless in SeattleWalter Jackson
1993MaliceAndy Safian
1993Mr. JonesConstruction Site ForemanUncredited
1994The FavorPeter Whiting
1994Wyatt EarpEd Masterson
1994The Last SeductionClay Gregory
1995While You Were SleepingJack Callaghan
1995CasperDr. James Harvey
1996Mr. WrongWhitman Crawford
1996Independence DayPresident Thomas J. Whitmore
1997Lost HighwayFred Madison
1997The End of ViolenceMike Max
1998Zero EffectDaryl Zero
1999Lake PlacidJack Wells
1999Brokedown PalaceHank "Yankee Hank" Green
1999Spy GamesHarry Howe / Ernie Halliday
2000The GuiltyCallum Crane
2000Titan A. E. Captain Joseph KorsoVoice Only
2000Lucky NumbersDetective Pat Lakewood
2000A Man Is Mostly WaterParking Fascist
2001IgnitionConor Gallagher
200229 PalmsThe Ticket Clerk
2002Igby Goes DownJason Slocumb
2003RickRick O'Lette
2004The GrudgePeter Kirk
2005Dear WendyOfficer Krugsby
2006Scary Movie 4Henry Hale
2006Alien AutopsyMorgan Banner
2007Nobel SonMax Mariner
2007You Kill MeDave
2008SurveillanceSam Hallaway
2008Bottle ShockJim Barrett
2008Phoebe in WonderlandPeter Lichten
2008Your Name HereWilliam J. Frick
2010PeacockEdmund French
2010The Killer Inside MeBilly Bob Walker
2010Rio Sex ComedyWilliam
2011Bringing Up BobbyKent
InnocentDusty Sabich
2012Lola VersusLenny
2013The UnbelieversHimself
2014Red SkyCaptain John Webster
2014CymbelineSicilius Leonatus
2014The EqualizerBrian Plummer
2015American UltraRaymond Krueger
2016Independence Day: ResurgenceFormer President Thomas J. Whitmore
2016LBJSenator Ralph Yarborough
2016Brother NatureJerry Turley
2017Walking OutClyde
2017The Ballad of Lefty Brown"Lefty" Brown
2017Battle of the SexesJack Kramer
2018The Equalizer 2Brian Plummer
2019The Coldest GameJoshua Mansky
2019Dark WatersHarry Dietzler
2020The High NoteMax


1986Cagney & LaceyDr. GiordanoEpisode: "A Safe Place"
1989Home Fires BurningHenry TibbetsMovie
1990The Tracey Ullman ShowSheldon MossEpisode: "The Word"
1992Crazy in LoveNick SymondsMovie
1995Fallen AngelsRich ThurberEpisode: "Tomorrow I Die"
1996MistrialSteve DonohueMovie
1997Merry Christmas, George BaileyGeorge BaileyMovie
2000The VirginianThe VirginianMovie Also Producer/Director
2001Night VisionsMajor Ben DarnellEpisode: "A View Through the Window"
2004Tiger CruiseCommander DolanMovie
2005RevelationsRichard Massey6 episodes
2008Law & Order: Special Victims UnitKurt MossEpisode: "Closet"
2010Nathan vs. +more NatureArthurMovie
2011Too Big to FailJamie DimonMovie
2011InnocentRusty SabichMovie
2011Torchwood: Miracle DayOswald Danes8 episodes
2012-20131600 PennPresident Dale Gilchrist13 episodes
2017-2021The SinnerDetective Harry AmbroseMain cast; 32 episodes
2021HalstonDavid J. Mahoney3 episodes


2002The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?MartinJohn Golden Theatre
2009OleannaJohnJohn Golden Theatre
2012The Other PlaceIanSamuel J. +more Friedman Theatre
2015The JacksonianFred WeberTheatre Three at Theatre Row
2019All My SonsJoe KellerOld Vic Theatre
2022Mad HouseDanielAmbassadors Theatre

Awards and nominations

YearAwardNominated workCategoryResult
1997Online Film & Television AssociationIndependence DayBest Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror ActorNominated
2001Western Heritage AwardsThe VirginianTelevision Feature FilmWon
2008CineVegas International Film FestivalYour Name HereSpecial Jury PrizeWon
2008Denver International Film FestivalHimselfJohn Cassavetes AwardWon
2008RiverRun International Film FestivalHimselfMaster of CinemaWon
2012Saturn AwardsTorchwood: Miracle DayBest Supporting Actor on TelevisionNominated
2016CinemaCon AwardIndependence Day: ResurgenceEnsemble of the UniverseWon
2016Locarno International Film FestivalHimselfExcellence AwardWon
2017Woodstock Film FestivalHimselfExcellence in Acting AwardWon
2018Critics' Choice Television AwardsThe SinnerBest Actor in a Movie/MiniseriesNominated
2019Screen Actors Guild AwardsThe SinnerOutstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited SeriesNominated
2019Saturn AwardsThe SinnerBest Actor on Television

Living people

State University of New York at Delhi alumni

State University of New York at Delhi faculty