William Atherton (born July 30, 1947 in Orange, Connecticut), born William Atherton Knight, is an American film, stage and television actor. He's perhaps best known for his role as Walter Peck in Ghostbusters (1984), and since then has mostly (but not exclusively) played jerks.
- The Sugarland Express (1974) as Clovis Poplin
- The Day of the Locust (1975) as Tod Hackett
- The Hindenburg (1975) as Karl Boerth
- Looking For Mr Goodbar (1977) as James
- Ghostbusters (1984) as Walter Peck
- Real Genius (1985) as Prof. Jerry Hathaway
- Die Hard (1988) as Richard 'Dick' Thornberg
- Die Hard 2 (1990) as Richard Thornberg
- Grim Prairie Tales (1990) as Arthur
- The Pelican Brief (1993) as Bob Gminski
- Frank and Jesse (1995) as Allan Pinkerton
- Bio-Dome (1996) as Dr. Noah Faulkner
- The Crow: Salvation (2000) as Nathan Randall
- The Last Samurai (2003) as Winchester Rep
- The Girl Next Door (2007) as Adult David
- Centennial (197879) as Jim Lloyd
- The Twilight Zone (1985) (1985-87) as Mr. Dundee/Brian Wolfe
- The Equalizer (198789) as Martin 'Alpha' Loeber/Gideon
- The Outer Limits (1995) (1998) as Franklin Murdoch
- Justice League Unlimited (2004) as Dr. Destiny
- Stargate SG-1 (2006) as Emissary Varta
- Life (200809) as Mickey Rayborn
- Lost (2010) as Principal Donald Reynolds
- Defiance (2013) as Viceroy Berto Mercado
Tropes associated with William Atherton
- Embarrassing Nickname: Has been called "dickless" more times than he can count because of an insult directed at his character in Ghostbusters (1984) by Ray Stantz (Dan Aykroyd).
- Evil Redhead: By the nature of his career path, he plays mostly bad guys. Though few are really evil. They're mostly Obstructive Bureaucrat types.
- Jerkass: Not in real life, but many of his characters post Ghostbusters (1984). At the time he resented it, but in the Entertainment Weekly interview for Ghostbusters 30th anniversary he says it gave him a great niche that he wound up making a good living off of.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Several roles, most notably his most famous: Walter Peck in Ghostbusters (1984).
- Playing with Character Type: In Justice League, he voiced Doctor Destiny, who was a smug jerk like many of his other characters. However, Doctor Destinys smugness came from being a flat-out sociopath with delusions of grandeur, and he psychologically tortured people out of petty vengeance, even murdering his ex-wife for leaving him, taking his characterss usual cruelty to downright unsettling levels.
- Smug Snake: Many characters.
- Typecasting: After Ghostbusters (1984) as Walter Peck he was mostly cast as the arrogant, smug jerkass character.