Over the years, the entertainment industry has seen the rise of many stars and the fall of others; however, there are a few names that have stood the test of time, like that of Tom Skerritt. His career has spanned over five decades, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of movie lovers around the world. From his early breakthrough roles to his memorable performances in iconic films such as M*A*S*H” (1970), “Harold and Maude” (1971), and “Alien” (1979), his talent has transcended mere entertainment.
Yet, as the years have passed and his appearance on our screen keeps declining, fans have become curious about his whereabouts and recent projects. If you are also wondering if he’s still acting, here’s your treat.
What is Tom Skeritt up to at 90?
At present, Tom is still active in the entertainment industry as an actor. Despite being in his late 80s, he continues to showcase his talent and passion for acting. While he may not be as prolific as he once was, he still takes on selected projects that resonate with him.
Skerritt’s recent work includes the film “East of the Mountains,” where he takes on the lead role of Ben Givens, a retired heart surgeon who grapples with a terminal illness. The film, based on the novel by David Guterson, explores themes of grief, illness, and regrets. His portrayal of Ben is one of his biggest projects so far, as he mostly played supporting roles in iconic films like “Aliens” (1979), “Steel Magnolias” (1989), and “Top Gun” (1986).
In addition to “East of the Mountains,” Skerritt has made guest appearances on television shows in recent years. He appeared in an episode of the hit medical drama series “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2019, reprising his role as William Shepherd, the father of Dr. Amelia Shepherd (played by Caterina Scorsone). His return to the show delighted fans who had grown fond of his character.
Did You Know These Other Facts about Tom Skerritt?
1. He is a Native of Michigan
Tom Skerritt was born Thomas Roy Skerritt on August 25, 1933, and he’s 90 years old at the moment. He was raised in a middle-class family in Detroit, Michigan, with two brothers and a sister who died as a child. His father, Roy Skerritt, was a businessman, while his mother, Helen Skerritt, was a homemaker.
After completing his primary education, Skerritt graduated from Detroit’s Mackenzie High School in 1951. Following high school, he decided to pursue higher education and enrolled at Wayne State University. However, his academic journey took an unexpected turn when he enlisted in the United States Air Force just after graduating from high school.
2. Tom Skerritt Served in the Military Years Before He Took Up Acting
After graduating from high school in 1951, Skerritt made the decision to enlist in the military. He joined the United States Air Force and served a four-year tour of duty as a classifications specialist. Skerritt’s enlistment took him to Bergstrom Field in Austin, Texas, where he honed his discipline, work ethic, and attention to detail.
During his time in the Air Force, Skerritt developed a strong sense of duty and a deep appreciation for the sacrifices made by servicemen and women. These experiences would later influence his performances and his commitment to supporting veterans’ causes.
3. He has Been Acting Since the early ’60s
As hinted earlier, Skeritt has been in the entertainment industry for several decades, and his acting dates back to the early 1960s. A few months after completing his military service, he decided to pursue his passion for acting.
He enrolled at Wayne State University and the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied theater and honed his craft.
He made his acting debut in 1962 with the film “War Hunt,” and his career quickly gained momentum thanks to being trained by the best filmmakers of the 70s such as Robert Altman, Hal Ashby, and Ridley Scott. His early career was marked by notable appearances in films such as “M*A*S*H” (1970), “Harold and Maude” (1971), and “Fuzz” (1972).
Skerritt would later appear in a variety of film and television roles, showcasing his versatility and talent. His military background has often lent credibility to his portrayals of authoritative figures, such as his iconic role as Captain Dallas in the sci-fi horror classic “Alien” (1979).
In addition to his success in films, Skerritt has also made a significant impact on the small screen. He gained widespread recognition for his role as Sheriff Jimmy Brock in the critically acclaimed television series “Picket Fences” (1992–1996).
4. Skerritt Has also Taught Storytelling
His journey as a storytelling teacher began with his involvement in programs aimed at helping post-traumatic stress disorder (PTS) veterans. Witnessing the high suicide rates among veterans, he recognized the need for healing and support. He believed that storytelling could be a powerful tool for veterans to express their experiences and emotions, leading to healing and transformation.
With this vision in mind, Skerritt and his team developed storytelling programs specifically designed for veterans suffering from PTS. These programs provided a safe and supportive environment for veterans to share their stories, allowing them to process their traumas and find a sense of catharsis. His own experiences with trauma and the healing power of storytelling inspired him to create these impactful programs.
He also believes that storytelling is a universal language that can bridge gaps and foster understanding among people from all walks of life. He has conducted workshops and seminars for aspiring actors, writers, and individuals interested in the power of storytelling. He has also revealed that the way to record success for the industry is to do the work right and make sure it’s the best it can be.
5. The Michigan Native is Best Known For His Role in “Alien” (1979)
Throughout Skerritt’s extensive filmography, he has portrayed a wide range of characters, and it is challenging to pinpoint a single iconic film role. However, one performance that stands out is his portrayal of Captain Dallas in the sci-fi horror classic “Alien” (1979).
In “Alien” (1979), Skerritt gives life to the character of Captain Dallas, the level-headed and resourceful leader of the commercial spaceship Nostromo. Directed by Ridley Scott, the film follows the crew as they encounter a deadly extraterrestrial creature that wreaks havoc on their ship.
“Alien” (1979) is widely regarded as a groundbreaking film in the sci-fi and horror genres, and Skerritt’s performance as Captain Dallas is a crucial element of its success. Beyond the impact on the film itself, Skerritt’s role in “Alien” has solidified his place in cinematic history.
6. He Has Been Married three times.
Skerritt has had his fair share of experience maintaining long-term relationships amidst the challenges of the entertainment industry. While it is true that he has experienced divorce in the past, Skerritt has also found love and stability in his current marriage to Julie Tokashiki, who became his third wife in 1998.
Their marriage has endured for over two decades, showcasing their commitment to each other and their ability to navigate the challenges that come with being in the spotlight.
Prior to Julie, his first marriage was to a young artist, Charlotte Shanks, in 1957. The couple had three children together during their union. However, after 15 years of marriage, they decided to part ways following several challenges and divorced in 1972.
Following his divorce, Skerritt entered into a second marriage with Susan Ellen Aran in 1976. The couple had one child together. However, after 14 years of marriage, they too decided to go their separate ways and divorced in 1990.
7. Tom is the Father of 5 Children
Skerritt has been blessed with a total of four biological children and an adopted daughter.
His first marriage birthed 3 children. Their eldest son, Matt Skerritt, 55, followed in his father’s footsteps and pursued a career in the entertainment industry. He has worked as a producer, director, and editor on various film and television projects. While he may not have achieved the same level of fame as his father, Colin has made valuable contributions to the industry.
Skerritt’s second oldest child, a daughter named Erin Skerritt, has chosen a different path. She is a published poet with a family of her own in Colorado. The youngest of Skerritt’s children from his first marriage is Andy Skerritt, who has made a name for himself as a computer expert.
His second marriage to Susan Ellen Aran saw the birth of their only child together, Collin Skerritt, who also pursued a career in the industry. He has worked on several projects and is known for “Tuscaloosa” (2002).
Unlike his previous marriages, Skerritt and his current wife, Julie, do not have any children together. However, they adopted their daughter, Emi, in 2007, when she was 12 years old.