William Atherton's contribution to the field of horror/suspense includes Ghostbusters, Grim Prairie Tales: Hit the Trail... to Terror, Buried Alive (1990), Ghouls, The Stranger (1999), The Crow: Salvation, The Girl Next Door (2007), Headspace, Jinn, and episodes of TV shows like The Outer Limits (1998), The Twilight Zone (1985, 1987), Night Visions, Lost and Tales from the Crypt.
Atherton also screams like a banshee in the apocalyptic riot scene that climaxes John Schlesinger’s The Day of the Locust (1975), a classic film about Hollywood lowlifes in the 1930s that was a huge failure at the box office, ending any hopes Atherton might have had of being a Hollywood leading man. The Day of the Locust also permanently set back Karen Black's career. But Atherton seems to have accepted his demotion to character actor status with good grace and is a constant self-promoter, often interviewed in magazines and on the Web.
William Atherton starred as Dr. Hill in the 2010 stage production RE-ANIMATOR: THE MUSICAL, directed by Stuart Gordon. It had a short run at the Steve Allen Theater in Los Angeles. Atherton's performance was described as stellar.
What I don't get is why an actor of Atherton's stature ended up in so many really crappy pictures. And yet, no matter what dreck he turns up in, Atherton always delivers a great performance.
How does Atherton so consistently wind up in trash like KUSH, bgFATLdy, TOTALLY BAKED: A POT-U-MENTARY, INTO THE SUN (with Steven Seagal), BIO-DOME (with Pauly Shore), etc. Only occasionally will Atherton land a small role in a big-budget studio production, like THE LAST SAMURAI. Even his screen time in the first two DIE HARD movies is fairly limited.
And yet he is respected in the business and keeps right on working. Atherton recently appeared in a revival of GIGI with the Reprise Theatre Company, managed by Jason Alexander. And Atherton has just been cast in TIM AND ERIC'S BILLION DOLLAR MOVIE (though probably in a cameo role).