Jay O. Sanders

Jay O. Sanders

Sanders in 2009
Born Jay Olcutt Sanders
(1953-04-16) April 16, 1953
Austin, Texas
Nationality American
Occupation Actor
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s) Maryann Plunkett (1991–present)
Children Jamie Sanders

Jay Olcutt Sanders (born April 16, 1953) is an American character actor who has worked in theatre, film, and TV. He frequently appears in plays at The Public Theatre in New York City.[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 blockbuster 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 is also noted for playing Mob lawyer character Steven Kordo in the 1986–88 NBC detective series Crime Story. He has also played recurring characters on shows such as Person of Interest and True Detective. He is additionally known as the narrator for the PBS series Wide Angle from 2002–2009 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 David Hare's Stuff Happens in 2006 [13] and the title role in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus in 2011.[14]

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).[15]

He has appeared in more shows at the Delacourte theater (Shakespeare in Central Park) than any other actor to date.[16]

In 2015, Sanders debuted his first play, Unexplored Interior, about the Rwandan Genocide, at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, DC.[17]


Sanders as Gallileo in Two Men of Florence in 2009
Year Title Role Notes
2015 Dawn of Humanity Narrator 1 episode
2014 True Detective Billy Lee Tuttle 2 episodes
2013 Hostages Lynn Shipley 1 episode
20112013 Person of Interest Special Counsel 8 episodes
2012 Blue Bloods Jimmy Reagan 1 episode
2011 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Captain Joseph Hannah 8 episodes
The Good Wife Judge Hal Ferris 1 episode
Green Lantern Carl Ferris
The Jewel Mr. Rothman
The Undying Dr. Richard Lassiter
2010 Edge of Darkness Det. Whitehouse
Red Dead Redemption D.S. MacKenna, Mr. Philmore (Video game)
Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare D.S. MacKenna (Video game)
Zenith Doug Oberts
2008 Revolutionary Road Bart Pollock
Cadillac Records Mr. Feder
Poundcake Cliff
2007 Greetings from the Shore Commodore Callaghan
Manhunt 2 The Pervs (Video game)
2006 Half Nelson Russ Dunne
Wedding Daze Police Officer
2004 The Day After Tomorrow Frank Harris
2003 D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear Douglas Duncan Television film
2002 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Harry Rowan
2001 Along Came a Spider FBI Agent Kyle Craig
1999 Music of the Heart Dan Paxton
Earthly Possessions Jack Emery Television film
A.T.F. Sam Sinclair Television film
The Jack Bull Atty. Gen. Metcalfe Television 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 Agent (uncredited)
1994 Angels in the Outfield Ranch Wilder
1993 My Boyfriend's Back Sheriff McCloud
1991 JFK Lou Ivon
V.I. Warshawski Murray Ryerson
1990 Mr. Destiny Jackie Earle 'Cement Head' Bumpers
1989 Booker Gordon Rudd 1 episode
Glory Gen. George Crockett Strong
Roseanne Norbert "Ziggy" Walsh 2 episodes
Kate & Allie Tim Mayer
1988 Tucker: The Man and His Dream Kirby, Tucker's Attorney
1987 The Misfit Brigade Tiny
19861988 Crime Story Steven Kordo 12 episodes
1983 Cross Creek Charles Rawlings
AfterMASH Dr. Gene Pfeiffer
Living Proof: The Hank Williams, Jr. Story Dick Willey Television film
1982 Hanky Panky Katz
1979 Starting Over Larry (as Jay Sanders)


  1. Isherwood, Charles (13 December 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.
  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, accessed November 10, 2016
  9. " 'The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial' Broadway" Playbill, accessed November 10, 2016
  10. " 'Saint Joan' Broadway" Playbill, accessed November 10, 2016
  11. " 'Pygmalion' Broadway" Playbill, accessed November 10, 2016
  12. "Jay O. Sanders at IBDB". Internet Broadway Database.
  13. Stuff Happens lortel.org, accessed November 10, 2016
  14. Titus Andronicus lortel.org, accessed November 10, 2016
  15. "Sanders Off-Broadway" lortel.org, accessed November 10, 2016
  16. Brantley, Ben (14 April 2006). "David Hare's 'Stuff Happens': All the President's Men in 'On the Road to Baghdad'". The New York Times.
  17. Marks, Peter (3 November 2015). "Mosaic opens its inaugural curtain with 'Unexplored Interior'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
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