Jay O. Sanders

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Jay Sanders
Jay O. Sanders.jpg
Jay Olcutt Sanders

(1953-04-16) April 16, 1953 (age 67)
Education State University of New York, Purchase (BFA)
Years active1979–present
Spouse(s) Maryann Plunkett (1991–present)
ChildrenJamie Sanders

Jay Olcutt Sanders (born April 16, 1953) is an American actor who has worked in theatre, film, and TV, known for JFK (1991). He frequently appears in plays Off-Broadway at The Public Theatre. [1]


Early life and education

Sanders was born on April 16, 1953 in Austin, Texas, to Phyllis Rae (née Aden) and James Olcutt Sanders. [2] After attending the acting conservatory at SUNY Purchase, Sanders made his Off-Broadway debut in a Shakespeare in the Park production of Henry V in 1976. [3] He played Bradley in the first New York production of Sam Shepard's Buried Child in 1978. [4]


Sanders has had a long career in film and television. He is perhaps most recognized for his work in the films The Day After Tomorrow (2004) and Green Lantern (2011). [5] He has appeared in many other notable films, however, including Glory (1989), JFK (1991), Angels in the Outfield (1994), Half Nelson (2006), and Revolutionary Road (2008). [6]

On television, Sanders played mob lawyer Steven Kordo in the 1986–88 NBC detective series Crime Story , Norbert "Ziggy" Walsh on two episodes of Roseanne , and recurring characters on shows such as Person of Interest and True Detective . He is the narrator for the PBS series Wide Angle from 2002 to 2009 and has served as narrator for a number of Nova episodes starting in 2007. [7]

On stage, Sanders has appeared on Broadway in Loose Ends (1979), [8] The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial (1983), [9] Saint Joan (1993), [10] and Pygmalion (2007). [11] [12]

Off-Broadway, he appeared as George W. Bush in Sir David Hare's Stuff Happens in 2006. [13] [14] He then played in a number of Shakespearean plays: A Midsummer Night's Dream (Bottom, 2007), Hamlet (Ghost of Hamlet's Father/Player King/Gravedigger, 2008), Twelfth Night (as Sir Toby Belch, 2009), and the title role in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (2011). [15]

Sanders appeared in the Richard Nelson Apple Family Plays, a series of plays which ran Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre in 2010 (That Hopey Changey Thing), 2011 (Sweet and Sad), 2012 (Sorry), and 2013 (Regular Singing). [16]

Sanders has appeared in more plays at the Delacorte Theatre (Shakespeare in Central Park) than any other actor to date. [17]

In 2015, Sanders debuted his first play, Unexplored Interior, about the Rwandan genocide, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. [18]

He received the 2018 Joe A. Callaway Award, presented by the Actors’ Equity Foundation for "best performance in a professional production of a classic play", for his performance in Chekhov's Uncle Vanya . [19]

He also received the Drama Desk Award for 2019 for Actor in a Play for Uncle Vanya.



2019 The Assistant Boss (voice)
2017 Search for the Super Battery NarratorDocumentary film
2013 Northern Borders Agent Sanders
Bones of the Buddha NarratorDocumentary
2011 Green Lantern Carl Ferris
The Jewel Mr. Rothman
The Undying Dr. Richard Lassiter
A Novel Romance Walter Evans
2010 Edge of Darkness Det. Bill Whitehouse
Zenith Doug Oberts
2009 I Hate Valentine's Day Tim the Delivery Guy
2008 Revolutionary Road Bart Pollock
Cadillac Records Mr. Feder
2007 Greetings from the Shore Commodore Callaghan
Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial NarratorDocumentary film
2006 Half Nelson Russ Dunne
Wedding Daze Police Officer
2004 The Day After Tomorrow Frank Harris
Hair High Football Announcer (voice)
2003 D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear Douglas Duncan Television film
Abby Singer Kevin's Father
2001 Along Came a Spider FBI Agent Kyle Craig
Boss of Bosses Joseph O'BrienTelevision film
The Familiar Stranger Patrick Hennessy Welsh / Timothy Michael Kingsbury
2000PicnicTelevision film
1999 Music of the Heart Dan Paxton
The Confession Jack Renoble
Earthly Possessions Jack EmeryTelevision film
A.T.F. Sam SinclairTelevision film
The Jack Bull Atty. Gen. MetcalfeTelevision film
Tumbleweeds Dan Miller
1998 The Odd Couple II Leroy
1997 For Richer or Poorer Samuel Yoder
The Matchmaker Senator John McGlory
Kiss the Girls FBI Agent Kyle Craig
1996 Daylight Steven Crighton
1995 The Big Green Coach Jay Huffer
Kiss of Death Federal AgentUncredited
Silver Strand Lucas Hughes
Three Wishes Coach Schramka
1994 Angels in the Outfield Ranch Wilder
State of Emergency Dr. Jeffrey Forrest
1993 My Boyfriend's Back Sheriff McCloud
1992 Hostages Terry A. Anderson
1991 JFK Lou Ivon
Meeting Venus Stephen Taylor
V.I. Warshawski Murray Ryerson
1990 Mr. Destiny Jackie Earle 'Cement Head' Bumpers
1989 Glory Gen. George Crockett Strong
A Man Called Hawk Officer Brogan
The Young Riders Longley
1988 Tucker: The Man and His Dream Kirby, Tucker's Attorney
The Prince of Pennsylvania Trooper Joe
1987 The Misfit Brigade Tiny
1983 Cross Creek Charles Rawlings
Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story Dick WilleyTelevision film
Eddie Macon's Run Rudy Potts
1982 Hanky Panky Katz
1980 The Day Christ Died Simon PeterTelevision film
1979 Starting Over LarryCredited as Jay Sanders


2020 Manhunt: Deadly Games Jack Bryant6 episodes
2018 The Sinner Chief Tom Lidell7 episodes
Decoding the Weather MachineNarrator1 episode
2017–2019 Sneaky Pete Sam15 episodes
2015–2020 Blindspot Bill Weller11 episodes
2015 Dawn of Humanity Narrator1 episode
American Odyssey Alex8 episodes
2014 True Detective Billy Lee Tuttle2 episodes
2013 Hostages Lynn ShipleyEpisode: "The Cost of Living"
2012–present Secrets of the Dead Narrator24 episodes
2012–2014 Person of Interest Special Counsel9 episodes
2012 Blue Bloods Jimmy ReaganEpisode: "Reagan V. Reagan"
2011–2016 The Good Wife Judge Hal Ferris2 episodes
2011–2012 Pan Am Douglas Vanderway3 episodes
2011 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Captain Joseph HannahMain Role 8 episodes
2010 Hardcover Mysteries Narrator8 episodes
2006–present Nova Narrator70 episodes
2002–2009 Wide Angle Narrator63 episodes
2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Harry RowanEpisode: "Dead"
2002WidowsDetective John Maynard4 episodes
1999 Law & Order Nick Taska / Bill FallonEpisode: "Tabula Rasa"
1995 The Outer Limits Ed BarkleyEpisode: "The Voyage Home"
1993 Northern Exposure Dr. John SummersEpisode: "Jaws of Life"
1990–1991 Roseanne Norbert "Ziggy" Walsh2 episodes
1990 L.A. Law Detective Michael PhillipsEpisode: "Watts a Matter?"
1989 Booker Gordon RuddEpisode: "All You Gotta Do Is Do It"
Kate & Allie Tim MayerEpisode: "What's Love Got to Do with It?"
1986–1988 Crime Story Steven Kordo12 episodes
1985 Miami Vice Detective Tim DuryeaEpisode: "The Maze"
1983–1984 AfterMASH Dr. Gene Pfeiffer10 episodes

Video Games

2010 Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare D.S. MacKennaUncredited
Red Dead Redemption D.S. MacKenna, Mr. Philmore
2007 Manhunt 2 The Pervs

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  1. Isherwood, Charles (December 13, 2011). "I Wouldn't Touch That Pie, if I Were You". The New York Times.
  2. "Jay Sanders Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  3. Miller, J. Michael. "J. Michael Miller talks to Maryann Plunkett and Jay O. Sanders". Interview. The Actors Center. Archived from the original on 2013-08-17. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
  4. Buried Child lortel.org, accessed November 10, 2016.
  5. "The Day After Tomorrow". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  6. Revolutionary Road, tcm.com; accessed November 10, 2016
  7. "About the series". Wide Angle Credits. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
  8. "'Loose Ends' Broadway", Playbill.com, accessed November 10, 2016
  9. "'The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial' Broadway", Playbill.com, accessed November 10, 2016
  10. "'Saint Joan' Broadway", Playbill.com, accessed November 10, 2016
  11. 'Pygmalion' on Broadway, Playbill.com, accessed November 10, 2016
  12. "Jay O. Sanders at IBDB". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  13. Brantley, Ben (April 14, 2006). "David Hare's 'Stuff Happens': All the President's Men in 'On the Road to Baghdad'". The New York Times.
  14. Stuff Happens, lortel.org, accessed November 10, 2016.
  15. Titus Andronicus, lortel.org, accessed November 10, 2016
  16. "Sanders Off-Broadway", lortel.org, accessed November 10, 2016
  17. "Exploring six degrees of Jay O. Sanders: Unexplored Interior playwright's brilliant career - DC Theatre Scene". 19 November 2015.
  18. Marks, Peter (November 3, 2015). "Mosaic opens its inaugural curtain with 'Unexplored Interior'". The Washington Post . Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  19. Gans, Andrew. "Alison Fraser and Jay O. Sanders Are Winners of 2018 Joe A. Callaway Awards" Playbill, December 7, 2018