William Petersen as Gil Grissom
Born on February 21, 1953 in Evanston, Illinois, William Petersen is a graduate of Bishop Kelly High School in Boise, Idaho. He attended Idaho State University on a football scholarship, and it was there that he first got the opportunity to study acting. In 1974, he and his then wife Joanne Brady, dropped out of school and went to Spain, where he trained as a Shakespearean actor. He eventually returned to the United States, but was not able to land any acting jobs in Idaho.
Following his unsuccessful venture in Idaho, Petersen went back to Chicago and it was there that he started performing with the theater. After gaining enough experience, he received his Actor’s Equity Card and went on to work with the Steppenwolf Theater Company and co-founded the Remains Theater Ensemble.
He made his debut in American television by appearing as Edward Sayers on an episode of The Twilight Zone. He then followed that role with numerous appearances on a variety of television productions, which include Long Gone, The Kennedys of Massachusetts, Keep the Change, Curacao, Return to Lonesome Dove, Fallen Angels, The Beast, 12 Angry Men, The Rat Pack and Present Tense, Past Perfect. However, it was his portrayal of former FBI Agent and profiler Will Graham in the 1986 thriller Manhunt that placed him on the map.
His subsequent film credits include Amazing Grace and Chuck, Cousins, Young Guns II, Hard Promises, Passed Away, Fear, Kiss the Sky, The Skulls and The Contender. He was offered roles in the movies Platoon and Goodfellas, but turned them down for personal reasons.
At present, Petersen is most known for his portrayal of Gil Grissom on the hit series, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. The role has earned him a 2004 Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series and a 2002 Satellite Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Drama. He is married to Gina Cirone, and has one child, Maite, from his previous marriage.
(Photo courtesy of CBS)