Sam Waterston

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Sam Waterston has starred in Law & Order since season 5, and his season 23 departure broke fans’ hearts. His final appearance as Jack McCoy will air on Thursday, February 22. Over the past few decades of his television career, Sam has had the support of his family with second wife Lynn Louisa. The spouses share three children together, and Sam shares one of his sons with ex-wife Barbara Johns. In fact, a few of Sam’s kids followed in their dad’s footsteps by becoming actors.

When he’s not acting, Sam is busy spending time with his loving family. His first child, son James, was born in 1969 to his first wife, magazine editor Barbara Rutledge-Johns. Sam and Barbara got divorced in 1975, and the following year he married former model Lynn Louisa Woodruff. They welcomed three children together: daughters Elisabeth (born in 1977) and Katherine (born in 1980), and son Graham (born in 1983). Almost all of Sam’s four children have followed in their famous dad’s footsteps in the acting business. Here’s everything to know about them.

James Waterston

James Waterston
James Waterston (Photo: Mitch Haaseth/Larry Levinson Prods/Kobal/Shutterstock)

James Waterston is Sam’s only child with his first wife. He went to college at Yale, where he formed the theater company Malaparte with his friends Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard. James’s first major acting role was as Gerard Pitts in 1989’s Dead Poets Society, opposite lead star Robin Williams. He’s gone on to appear in countless television shows like ER, Six Feet UnderThe Good WifeLaw & Order: SVUChicago Fire, and The Blacklist. His most recent TV role was in the Netflix miniseries Halston that starred Ewan McGregor. James has also appeared on Broadway plays in New York City and Chicago. He’s been married to Line Lillevik since 2000.

Elisabeth Waterston

Katherine Waterston
Katherine Waterston and her dad at The New York Times Great Summer Reads Series (Photo: Carolyn Contino/BEI/Shutterstock)

Elisabeth Waterston is Sam and Lynn’s eldest child. She’s an actor, just like her father. Her first acting role was in an episode of Law & Order in 2000, according to her IMDb page. She’s been in the movies The Prince & MeGood Dick, and Please Be Normal. On TV, she’s appeared in The BlacklistQuantico, and the new Gossip Girl reboot on HBO Max. Elisabeth married actor Louis Cancelmi in October 2006.

Katherine Waterston

Katherine Waterston
Katherine Waterston at the ‘Alien: Covenant’ premiere on May 17, 2017 (Photo: Jim Ruymen/UPI/Shutterstock)

Katherine Waterston is Sam’s third child. She was born in Westminster, London, and was raised in Connecticut before attending Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. She started acting in 2007 in both film and on Broadway. Her breakthrough movie performance came in the 2014 crime film Inherent Vice, which also starred Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, and Josh Brolin. Katherine also starred in Steve Jobs and Alien: Covenant, before she joined the Fantastic Beasts film series as Porpentina “Tina” Goldsetein. She’ll reprise the role in the Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore. Katherine also has a main role in the upcoming second season of Perry Mason.

During a 2022 interview with Parade, Sam joked that he and his wife, Lynn, attempted to sway their kids away from show business, but it wasn’t possible.

“My wife and I tried to distract them from acting, but the trouble is that we were getting away with it,” he joked. “It eventually became hard to change the subject.”

Katherine opened up about her background in 2021 with Collider, noting that while she might be considered a nepo baby, she worked hard at her craft.

“It’s a strange thing when you’re the child of a successful actor because you don’t see all the years of training and blood and sweat and tears and humiliating auditions,” the British actress explained. “You just see them in their element, thriving. Which gives a child a very false sense of how the business works.”

Katherine continued, “In a way, maybe studying acting was just some kind of strange exercise for myself to prove to myself and to anyone around who was paying attention — although I don’t think anyone really was — just how serious I was about it. Maybe that had something to do with being a second generation actor, that I didn’t want to be perceived as some kind of silly dilettante who is bopping around and hanging off the coattails of her dad, that I was interested and really trying to be good at this thing.”

Katherine previously dated playwright and director Adam Rapp for six years. The former couple worked on some theater productions together. While attending the U.K. premiere of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald in Nov. 2018, Katherine revealed she was pregnant by sporting a baby bump. She gave birth to her first child, a son, in 2019, though it’s unclear who the father is.

Graham Waterston

Last but not least of Sam’s children is Graham Waterston. Graham isn’t an actor like his siblings are, but he does work as a producer, writer, director, and crew member in Hollywood. The successful film producer and director is credited for his work on And It Was Good, The Ballad of Jack and Rose and Blackbird. He also holds a costume department credit for I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, according to his IMDb.

He directed the 2015 short film And It Was Good, per his IMDb. His father, his brother, and one of his sisters appeared in the film. Sam hasn’t been active in film productions since that project. He’s the most private of Sam’s four children.

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