Bill Pullman

William James Pullman (born December 17, 1953) is an American film, stage, and television actor. After graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater, Pullman worked as an adjunct professor at Montana State University before deciding to pursue acting. He made his film debut in the 1986 film Ruthless People, and has since gone on to star in other films, such as 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 also appeared regularly on television, usually in TV films, though starting in the 2000s he has also starred in miniseries and regular series, including starring roles in 1600 Penn (2012–13) and The Sinner (2017–present).

Bill Pullman
Pullman in 2014
William James Pullman

(1953-12-17) December 17, 1953
ResidenceWhitehall, Montana, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst
Years active1986–present
Tamara Hurwitz (m. 1987)
Children3; including Lewis Pullman

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

Early life

Pullman was born in Hornell, New York, the son of James Pullman, a physician, and his wife 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)[1] and the State University of New York at Oneonta in the 1970s. He eventually received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Pullman taught theater at SUNY Delhi[1] and was an adjunct professor at Montana State University's School of Film and Photography in Bozeman, Montana, where he was persuaded by his students to attempt film.[2]


During the 1980s, he primarily worked with theater companies around New York and Los Angeles. His first prominent film role was in Ruthless People (which starred Danny DeVito and Bette Midler). 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 2001 until February 2002, Pullman starred with Mercedes Ruehl, in Edward Albee's play The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? on Broadway. The play won several awards: 2002 Tony Award for Best Play; 2002 Drama Desk Award Outstanding New Play; 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Pullman was nominated for the 2002 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Actor in a Play. He starred as Dr. Richard Massey in the miniseries Revelations. Pullman starred in Albee's play Peter and Jerry, at Off-Broadway's Second Stage Theatre in New York. For his performance, Pullman received a second Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Play in 2008.

In addition to acting, Pullman is a creative writer. His first play, Expedition 6, is about the International Space Station mission Expedition 6 that was in orbit at the time that the Space Shuttle Columbia was destroyed on reentry, grounding the U.S. space shuttle program, which was to provide the vehicle for the crew's return to earth. The play opened at San Francisco's Magic Theater in September 2007.[3]

He also appeared in the Broadway production of David Mamet's Oleanna, co-starring Julia Stiles.[4] The production opened at the John Golden Theatre October 11, 2009, and closed on December 6, 2009, playing 65 performances.[5]

He is also a Jury Member for the digital studio Filmaka, a platform for undiscovered filmmakers to show their work to industry professionals.[6]

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),[7] the former of which began airing in July 2011. For his performance as Danes, Pullman received a Saturn Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor on Television.[8]

From 2012-13, Pullman portrayed the President of the United States in the television comedy series 1600 Penn.

He plays Detective Harry Ambrose in the USA Network mystery series The Sinner, which premiered in 2017 and has aired for two seasons so far.

Personal life

Pullman is married to Tamara Hurwitz, a modern dancer,[9][10][11] Their three children are actor Lewis Pullman[12] singer-songwriter Maesa Pullman,[13] and Jack Pullman.[14][15] At the age of 21, Pullman suffered a head injury and lost his sense of smell.[16] He co-owns a cattle ranch with his brother in Montana, near the town of Whitehall, where he lives part-time.[17] He also serves on the Board of Trustees at Alfred University[18] and was awarded an honorary doctorate on May 14, 2011.[9] In 2018, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Montana State University, where he was formerly employed.[2]



Year Film Role Notes
1986 Ruthless People Earl Mott
1987 Spaceballs Lone Starr
1988 The Serpent and the Rainbow Dennis Alan
1988 Rocket Gibraltar Crow Black
1988 The Accidental Tourist Julian
1989 Cold Feet Buck Latham
1990 Brain Dead Dr. Rex Martin
1990 Sibling Rivalry Nicholas Meany
1990 Bright Angel Bob
1990 Going Under Biff Banner
1991 Liebestraum Paul Kessler
1992 Nervous Ticks York Daley
1992 Newsies Bryan Denton
1992 A League of Their Own Bob Hinson
1992 Singles Doctor Jamison
1993 Sommersby Orin Meecham
1993 Sleepless in Seattle Walter
1993 Malice Andy Safian
1993 Mr. Jones Construction Site Foreman Uncredited cameo
1994 The Favor Peter Whiting
1994 Wyatt Earp Ed Masterson
1994 The Last Seduction Clay Gregory
1995 While You Were Sleeping Jack Callaghan
1995 Casper Dr. James Harvey
1996 Mr. Wrong Whitman Crawford
1996 Independence Day President Thomas J. Whitmore
1997 Lost Highway Fred Madison
1997 The End of Violence Mike Max
1998 Zero Effect Daryl Zero
1999 Lake Placid Jack Wells
1999 Brokedown Palace 'Yankee' Hank Green
1999 Spy Games Harry Howe/Ernie Halliday
2000 The Guilty Callum Crane
2000 Titan A.E. Captain Joseph Korso Voice
2000 Lucky Numbers Det. Pat Lakewood
2000 A Man Is Mostly Water Parking Fascist
2001 Ignition Conor Gallagher
2002 29 Palms The Ticket Clerk
2002 Igby Goes Down Jason Slocumb
2003 Rick Rick
2004 The Grudge Peter Kirk
2005 Dear Wendy Officer Krugsby
2006 Scary Movie 4 Henry Hale
2006 Alien Autopsy Morgan Banner
2007 Nobel Son Max Mariner
2007 You Kill Me Dave
2008 Surveillance Sam Hallaway
2008 Bottle Shock Jim Barrett
2008 Phoebe in Wonderland Peter Lichten
2008 Your Name Here William J. Frick
2010 Peacock Edmund French
2010 The Killer Inside Me Billy Bob Walker
2010 Rio Sex Comedy William
2011 Bringing Up Bobby Kent
2012 Lola Versus Lenny
2013 The Unbelievers Himself
2014 Red Sky Captain John Webster
2014 Cymbeline Sicilius Leonatus
2014 The Equalizer Brian Plummer
2015 American Ultra Raymond Krueger
2016 Independence Day: Resurgence Former President Thomas J. Whitmore
2016 LBJ Senator Ralph Yarborough
2016 Brother Nature Jerry Turley
2017 Walking Out Clyde
2017 The Ballad of Lefty Brown Lefty Brown
2017 Trouble Ben
2017 Battle of the Sexes Jack Kramer
2018 The Equalizer 2 Brian Plummer
2019 The Coldest Game Joshua Mansky
2019 Dark Waters Harry Dietzler Post-production
2020 Covers Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Cagney & Lacey Doctor Giordano Episode: "A Safe Place"
1989 Home Fires Burning Henry Tibbets Movie
1990 The Tracey Ullman Show Sheldon Moss Episode: "The Word"
1992 Crazy in Love Nick Symonds Movie
1995 Fallen Angels Rich Thurber Episode: "Tomorrow I Die"
1996 Mistrial Steve Donohue Movie
1997 Merry Christmas, George Bailey George Bailey Movie
2000 The Virginian The Virginian Movie
2001 Night Visions Major Ben Darnell Episode: "A View Through the Window"
2004 Tiger Cruise Cmdr. Dolan Movie
2005 Revelations Richard Massey 6 episodes
2008 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Kurt Moss Episode: "Closet"
2010 Nathan vs. Nature Arthur Movie
2011 Too Big to Fail Jamie Dimon Movie
2011 Innocent Rusty Sabich Movie
2011 Torchwood: Miracle Day Oswald Danes 8 episodes
2012–13 1600 Penn President Dale Gilchrist 13 episodes
2017–present The Sinner Detective Harry Ambrose Main cast; 16 episodes


Year Title Role Theatre
2002The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?MartinJohn Golden Theatre
2009OleannaJohnJohn Golden Theatre
2012The Other PlaceIanSamuel J. Friedman Theatre
2019All My SonsJoe KellerOld Vic Theatre[19]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Nominated work Category Result
1997 Online Film & Television Association Independence Day Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Actor Nominated
2001 Western Heritage Awards The Virginian Television Feature Film Won
2008 CineVegas International Film Festival Your Name Here Special Jury Prize Won
Denver International Film Festival Himself John Cassavetes Award Won
RiverRun International Film Festival Himself Master of Cinema Won
2012 Saturn Awards Torchwood: Miracle Day Best Supporting Actor on Television Nominated
2016 CinemaCon Award Independence Day: Resurgence Ensemble of the Universe Won
Locarno International Film Festival Himself Excellence Award Won
2017 Woodstock Film Festival Himself Excellence in Acting Award Won
2018 Critics' Choice Television Awards The Sinner Best Actor in a Movie/Miniseries Nominated
2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actor on Television Nominated


  1. "SUNY Delhi History: 1977 Bill Pullman Makes Directorial Debut". State University of New York, Delhi. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  2. Cantrell, Anne (May 1, 2018). "Actor Bill Pullman to receive MSU honorary doctorate". Montana State University. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  3. Bill Pullman's theatrical space odyssey,, September 20, 2007
  4. Pullman and Stiles Will Star in Mamet's Oleanna on Broadway, Opening Oct. 11 Archived July 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine,, June 30, 2009
  5. "Oleanna | Playbill Vault" Archived 2012-03-18 at the Wayback Machine,
  6. "Profile Jury". Filmaka. Archived from the original on August 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  7. Ausiello, Michael (December 15, 2010). "Bill Pullman Joins 'Torchwood' as Regular". Deadline. Archived from the original on 16 December 2010. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  8. Goldberg, Matt (29 February 2012). "Saturn Award Nominations Announced; HUGO and HARRY POTTER Lead with 10 Nominations Each". Collider. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  9. "Bill Pullman to address Alfred University graduates" (press release). Alfred University. April 28, 2011. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  10. Biography.
  12. "Lewis Pullman". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  13. "Maesa Pullman". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  14. "Fikk utsatt "Independence Day 2" for å spille Othello i Bergen". Retrieved 7 June 2016.
  15. Nå har jeg ryddet plass til Bergen. November 18, 2014.
  16. "A Minute With: Bill Pullman about 'Torchwood'". 6 July 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2017 via Reuters.
  17. Associated Press (October 20, 2002). Entertainment: "Yeltsin visits Armenian brandy distillery". Via Amarillo Globe-News.
  18. "Board Members". Alfred University. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  19. Sally Field, Bill Pullman Set London Stage Debuts in ‘All My Sons’
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