William Thomas Sadler (born April 13, 1950) is an American film and television actor. His television and motion picture roles have included Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller in The Pacific, Luther Sloan in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Sheriff Jim Valenti in Roswell, convict Heywood in The Shawshank Redemption, Senator Vernon Trent in Hard To Kill, and the Grim Reaper in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, a role for which he won the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor, and his role as Colonel Stuart opposite Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2. He played the character of President of the United States, Matthew Ellis, in Iron Man 3, in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and in WHIH Newsfront, and recurs as Steve McGarrett's murdered father in the latter-day 2000's remake of Hawaii Five-O. In 2015, Sadler had an appearance in the TV series Z Nation.
Sadler was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Jane and William Sadler. He is of mostly Scottish descent, with smaller amounts of English and German ancestry.
From an early age, he took to performing in front of an audience. Playing a variety of stringed instruments, Sadler found hometown success during his high-school years at Orchard Park High School. He took on the persona as Banjo Bill Sadler, a banjo-playing singer who cracked jokes while playing. Both students and teachers enjoyed his performances, which led Sadler to audition for the senior play under English teacher Dan Larkin's persuasion. He won the role. After graduating from high school, he enrolled in SUNY Geneseo. Following that, he spent two years at Cornell University where he earned his master's degree in Acting with a minor in Speech Communications. He is a certified speech teacher and practised in accents.
Sadler took his first post-school role in Florida and soon relocated to Boston, moving in with his sister while scrubbing the floors of a lobster boat by day and cutting his acting chops at night. Slowly working up the nerve to take a shot at the big time in New York, a chance meeting with an old schoolmate on a trip into the city resulted in Sadler's casting in an off-off-Broadway production of Chekhov's Ivanov. After a brief turn at the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island, Sadler moved back to New York and rented an apartment in the East Village, beginning 12 years in which he appeared in over 75 productions, including originating the role of "Sgt. Toomey" in the Broadway run of Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues, opposite Matthew Broderick in 1985.
Sadler is best known for his roles in the 1990 action film Die Hard 2 as Colonel Stuart, as Heywood in the 1994 prison drama The Shawshank Redemption, the Grim Reaper in the 1991 comedy Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey and as Brayker in Demon Knight. He was also a series regular on the television series Roswell as Sheriff Jim Valenti and in Wonderfalls as Darrin Tyler. Other film credits include Trespass, K-9, Project X, Disturbing Behavior, Kinsey, The Battle of Shaker Heights, Purple Heart and Jimmy and Judy.
Sadler's TV guest appearances include In the Heat of the Night, Roseanne, Tru Calling, CSI, Numb3rs, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. He had a recurring role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Luther Sloan, a member of a covert organization called Section 31. He appeared in three episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in its final two seasons. In 2007, he played Carlton Fog on ABC's Traveler, and in 2008 he appeared in both NBC's Medium as well as Fox Television's Fringe. The 1989 pilot episode of the HBO horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt featured Sadler in its lead role. In March 2011, Sadler made a guest appearance in NBC's Chase.
Sadler portrayed Julius Caesar in the contemporary adaptation of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar on Broadway alongside Denzel Washington at the Belasco Theatre. Recently, he finished shooting with American independent filmmakers Dylan Bank and Morgan Pehme on the film Nothing Sacred. Sadler portrayed the robot Victor in the 2010 video game, Fallout: New Vegas. Sadler played Lee Underwood in Greetings from Tim Buckley, a film on Tim and Jeff Buckley, which premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
Sadler appeared as President of the United States of America Matthew Ellis in Iron Man 3 that was released in May 2013. In 2015, he was part of the Texas Frightmare Weekend, and starred in Ava’s Possessions, which was screened at SXSW.