Born in Detroit, Skerritt studied at Wayne State University and UCLA. Originally focused on directing, an acting performance in a theater production lead to his being cast in his first film, WAR HUNT (1962), where he met other young hopefuls, Robert Redford and the late Sydney Pollock.
From his early role in Robert Altman’s classic comedy, M*A*S*H, to a roster which counts several classics among the movies he has made, including; HAROLD AND MAUDE, THE TURNING POINT, ALIEN, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, TOP GUN, CONTACT, Tom’s work in an array of television and film productions continues to be a study in strength and subtlety. In THE TURNING POINT, (Best Supporting Actor, National Board of Review), he played the understanding husband of Shirley MacLaine, in ALIEN, the heroic captain of the infiltrated ship. He was Tom Cruise’s commander in TOP GUN, Sally Field’s husband and Julia Roberts’s father AND Shirley MacLaine’s nemesis in STEEL MAGNOLIAS, the fly-fishing minister father of Brad Pitt in A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT. Co-starring with Jodie Foster in CONTACT, Skerritt played a less noble character as her ruthlessly ambitious superior.
Best Actor Emmy winner for his series PICKET FENCES and one of the most versatile and acclaimed American actors of both movies and TV, Skerritt is rapidly becoming one of film’s noted educators. He is one of the top Hollywood creative multi-talents who founded The Film School in Seattle. A Mecca for learning and engaging the art of storytelling, The Film School has become synonymous with the forward-looking and brilliantly effective training for the film arts.
While Chicago may have locked the title of Second City for training comedy talents, Seattle is becoming the Second City for instilling the skills of Storytelling in film. His own screenplay, HONOR AND STONE, is ready for production. Heyou Entertainment is the company he is forming to produce his film, as well as screenplays emerging from The Film School and other resources for production in the Northwest.