Thomas Roy "Tom" Skerritt (born August 25, 1933) is an American actor who has appeared in over 40 films and more than 200 television episodes since 1962.
Skerritt made his television debut in the series Gunsmoke around 1959 and his film debut in War Hunt, produced by Terry Sanders and released the same year. Skerritt's notable film appearances include M*A*S*H (1970; his role was pared down considerably by director Robert Altman), Harold and Maude (credited as "M. Borman") (1971), Big Bad Mama, Cheech & Chong's Up In Smoke (1978), Ice Castles (1978), as Captain A.J. Dallas of the commercial towing vessel 'Nostromo' in Alien (1979), as a would-be astronaut in Contact (1997) and SpaceCamp (1986), and in Top Gun (1986), where he "flew with (Tom Cruise's) old man" as CDR Mike "Viper" Metcalf aka The Man.
Skerrit starred in the television series Picket Fences (1992–1996) in the role of Sheriff Jimmy Brock, for which he won an Emmy. More recently, he has starred in Homeland Security and The Grid.
He also portrays the deceased William Walker on Brothers & Sisters, having appeared in the pilot as well as in several flashbacks since. This is his second time playing the husband of Sally Field, the first being his role in the film Steel Magnolias. Recently, he has played the role of Ezekiel on ABC Family's Fallen miniseries. He appears as the guide on the showcase website for Microsoft's new operating system called Windows Vista.
He is now featured in advertising and promotion for The University of Kansas Hospital and Medical Center.
Skerritt was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Helen, a homemaker, and Roy Skerritt, who worked in business. A 1951 graduate of Detroit's Mackenzie High School, Skerritt attended Wayne State University and the University of California at Los Angeles. Since 1988, he has divided his domestic life between his Lake Washington home in suburban Seattle, Washington and a home on Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands. Skerritt has four grown children (three sons and one daughter).