William Sanderson

Active - 1977 - 2019  |   Born - Jan 10, 1944 in Memphis, Tennessee, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Horror, Action, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Gangly American character actor William Sanderson has done all right by himself in "Bubba" roles. He was seen in such bucolic characterizations as Lee Dollarhide in Coal Miner's Daughter (1980), Sleets in Rocketeer (1989), Zeke in Wagons East (1994), and Lippy in the first two Lonesome Dove TV miniseries. He rose to prominence in the early 1980s as one-third of the backwoods trio Larry, Daryl and Daryl on the TV sitcom Newhart (1982-90); Sanderson was Larry, the interpreter for his two tight-lipped, dull-witted siblings. Despite the illusion created by his specialty, Sanderson is no hayseed. Following his military discharge, Sanderson graduated from Memphis State University and after that became a law student until the acting bug bit and led him to drop out of school to launch a successful theater career in New York; Sanderson moved into television and feature films. As a change of pace, William Sanderson was heard as urbane, authoritative robotmaster Karl Rossum in the daily Fox TV Network attraction Batman: The Animated Series (1992). In 1998, William Sanderson co-starred opposite Beau Bridges in the satirical television series Maximum Bob.

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  • Has a law degree but never took a bar exam. Was a contestant on To Tell the Truth in 1972 (didn't tell the truth when claiming to be a swamp-buggy racer). First starring role was as a murderous and racist prison escapee in Fight for Your Life, a 1977 exploitation film that was banned in Britain. Breakout movie and TV roles both came in 1982:  toymaker J.F. Sebastian in Blade Runner; and Larry, the backwoodsman with two mute brothers named Darryl, on Newhart. Was one of Cracked magazine's 15 Funniest People of 2006. Earned SAG Best Ensemble nominations for Deadwood (2007) and True Blood (2010); won a 2009 Satellite Ensemble award for True Blood.