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Christian Clemenson
Christian Dayton Clemenson

(1958-03-17) March 17, 1958 (age 66)
Education Harvard University (BA)
Yale University (MFA)
Occupation Actor
Years active 1985–present

Christian Dayton Clemenson (born March 17, 1958) is an American film and television actor. He is well known for his portrayal of Jerry "Hands" Espenson in the television series Boston Legal, for which he was nominated for three Emmy Awards and won the 2006 Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. He has appeared in a number of highly acclaimed films, including Hannah and Her Sisters, Broadcast News, Apollo 13 and The Big Lebowski, and portrayed Tom Burnett in Paul Greengrass' United 93. He starred in The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story as prosecutor William Hodgman.

Early life

Clemenson was born and raised in Humboldt, Iowa, the son of drug store owners Ruth Alzora (Dayton) and Ernest Arnold Clemenson. In his early teens, he delivered the Des Moines Register, which had a long tradition of awarding scholarships to top east-coast preparatory schools to a select few "paper boys." Clemenson, a straight-A junior high school student, won a Register scholarship to Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. In 1973, while Clemenson was enrolled at Phillips, his father died at age 58. He participated in many theatrical productions at Phillips Academy.

Upon graduation from Phillips in 1976, he entered Harvard College. From his freshman year onward he received important roles in campus stage productions. When Clemenson starred in a Harvard Lampoon sketch comedy show, a Harvard Crimson theater critic described Clemenson as "hugely talented actor who can trigger hysteria with any of a dozen subtle expressions or inflections." Other Crimson critics described his performances in Shakespeare plays as "a tour de force of sheer talent and intelligence" (in The Winter's Tale) and "a very fine and subtle performance" (in Measure for Measure). He displayed early on his remarkable range when he undertook with inimitable flair and hilarious effect the hugely solemn role of Erde "the green-faced torso", goddess of the Earth, in Peter Sellars's Loeb Drama Center puppet production of Wagner's Ring cycle (1979).

During many summers he would return to Humboldt to star in, and later direct, local community theater plays at Humboldt's Castle Theatre.

After graduating from Harvard College in 1980 and the Yale School of Drama in 1984, he moved to Los Angeles.


Clemenson began his career in a number of character roles in film and television. He was a law student in the television version of The Paper Chase, Alex Keaton's English teacher in the television show Family Ties, a security salesman on The Golden Girls, a suspect in season 10, episode 14 of NYPD Blue, a bailiff in the Ivan Reitman movie Legal Eagles, a flight surgeon in the movie Apollo 13, a cop in The Big Lebowski, a killer in The Fisher King, and Dr. Dale Lawrence in the movie And the Band Played On. He had a regular role as Socrates Poole, a lawyer in the Old West, in the Fox series The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

In 1999, Clemenson appeared in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Bad Girls" as a grotesquely obese demon named Balthazar. He wore a large padded suit and extensive make-up for the role, and the character's repulsive, villainous nature contradicted many of his earlier roles.

Clemenson became well-known for his role as Jerry "Hands" Espenson on the television series Boston Legal. For playing Espenson, he won an Emmy Award for Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2006 and was nominated for the same award in 2007. He remained with the series through to its finale in 2008.

Clemenson starred in the film United 93 as Tom Burnett, one of the victims of the 9/11 hijacking of the flight that crashed in rural Pennsylvania after a passenger revolt. He also had a recurring role on Veronica Mars as Abel Koontz. In total, Clemenson appeared in three episodes of the show: "Like a Virgin", "Mars vs. Mars", and "Rat Saw God". Clemenson also has appeared in a season 6 episode of NCIS, "Dead Reckoning". He also appeared in two season 2 episodes of The Mentalist. He also played Jimmy Masterson on the 3rd episode of Memphis Beat, "Love Me Tender".

In 2009, Clemenson joined CSI: Miami as the new medical examiner, Dr. Tom Loman. He appeared throughout the show's eighth, ninth, and tenth seasons as a recurring character. In 2013, he appeared as a guest star in Harry's Law.

In 2016, he played Deputy District Attorney William Hodgman in American Crime Story: The People v. O. J. Simpson.



Year Title Role
1986 Hannah and Her Sisters Larry
1986 Legal Eagles Clerk
1986 Heartburn Sidney
1987 Black Widow Artie
1987 Making Mr. Right Bruce
1987 Surrender Dream Lawyer
1987 Broadcast News Bobby
1988 Daddy's Boys Otis
1990 Bad Influence Pismo Boll
1991 The Fisher King Edwin
1992 Hero Conklin
1993 Josh and S.A.M. Policeman
1995 Apollo 13 Charles Berry
1998 The Big Lebowski Younger Cop
1998 Almost Heroes Father Girard
1998 Armageddon Droning Guy
1998 Mighty Joe Young Jack
1999 Lost & Found Ray
2006 United 93 Thomas E. Burnett, Jr.
2010 Ashley's Ashes Father Tim
2011 J. Edgar Inspector Schell
2014 Not Safe for Work Alan Z. Emmerich
2016 Live by Night Ritz Investor
2021 No Man of God James Dobson
2021 Malignant Dr. Victor Fields


Year Title Role Notes
1985 Fame Alan Stewart Episode: "Selling Out"
1985 The Golden Girls The Salesman Episode: "Break In"
1985 Mary Tim Flowers Episode: "From Pillar to Post"
1986 The Paper Chase Episode: "Graduation"
1986 L.A. Law Pomerantz Episode: "The Princess and the Wiener King"
1987 Head of the Class Dave Nash Episode: "Past Imperfect"
1987 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Jack Colman Episode: "Rumors of My Death"
1987 Cagney & Lacey Dr. Weinberg Episode: "Happiness Is a Warm Gun"
1987 The Slap Maxwell Story Marty's Friend Episode #1.1
1987 Beauty and the Beast Jonathan Gould Episode: "Nor Iron Bars a Cage"
1987 It's Garry Shandling's Show The Amazing Al 2 episodes
1988 Family Ties Mr. Flaherty 2 episodes
1988 21 Jump Street Charles Greening 1 episode
1988 Disaster at Silo 7 Col. Brandon Television film
1989 Hard Time on Planet Earth Herb Leavitt Episode: "Losing Control"
1989 The Robert Guillaume Show David Episode: "You Win Some, You Lose Some"
1989–1991 Matlock Cyril Henning / Dr. Tim Crider 2 episodes
1990 Capital News Todd Lunden 13 episodes
1991 Designing Women Jack Henry Episode: "Last Tango in Atlanta"
1992 Civil Wars Leo Hood Episode: "Dirty Pool"
1993 Hearts Afire Martin Smithers Episode: "While the Thomasons Slept in the Lincoln Bedroom"
1993 And the Band Played On Dr. Dale Lawrence Television film
1993–1994 The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr. Socrates Poole 27 episodes
1995 Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman Rollie Vale 2 episodes
1995 Cybill Ed Philo Episode: "The Odd Couples"
1996 Murder One Donald Losey Episode: "Chapter Thirteen"
1997 Mad About You Jared 2 episodes; uncredited
1998 The Practice Barry Wall Episode: "Duty Bound"
1998 Vengeance Unlimited Agent Stuart Brownsteen Episode: "Victim of Circumstance"
1999 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Balthazar Episode: "Bad Girls"
2001 Bette Mr. McNally Episode: "The Invisible Mom"
2001 Ladies Man Dog Consultant Episode: "A Quiet Evening at Home"
2001 The District Cliff / Bob Episode: "Night Shift"
2001 The West Wing Evan Woodkirk, Smithsonian Curator Episode: "The Women of Qumar"
2002 Ally McBeal Mr. Hookland Episode: "Homecoming"
2003 NYPD Blue Timothy Bosham Episode: "Laughlin All the Way to the Clink"
2003 The Division Capt. Leo Spivey 2 episodes
2004 Method & Red Donald 3 episodes
2004–2005 Veronica Mars Abel Koontz 4 episodes
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation Charles Pellew Episode: "Committed"
2005 Numbers Henry Korfelt Episode: "Assassin"
2005–2008 Boston Legal Jerry Espenson 44 episodes
2006 Crossing Jordan Fr. Edward Klausner Episode: "Mysterious Ways"
2009 ER Dr. Kurtag Episode: "Old Times"
2009 NCIS Perry Sterling Episode: "Dead Reckoning"
2009 The Mentalist Dr. Roy Carmen 2 episodes
2009 Raising the Bar Tom Episode: "Maybe, Baby"
2009–2012 CSI: Miami Dr. Tom Loman 52 episodes
2010 Memphis Beat Jimmy Masterson Episode: "Love Her Tender"
2010 Grey's Anatomy Ivan Fink Episode: "Can't Fight Biology"
2011 The Glades Ed Vickers Episode: "Iron Pipeline"
2012 Harry's Law Sam Berman 5 episodes
2013 Shameless Christopher Collier 2 episodes
2013 Mike & Molly Mr. O'Donnell Episode: "Poker in the Front, Looker in the Back"
2014 Dallas Howard Rieder Episode: "Trust Me"
2014 Californication Couples Counsellor Episode: "Faith, Hope, Love"
2014 Manhattan Niels Bohr Episode: "Last Reasoning of Kings"
2014 Legends Mr. Porter 3 episodes
2014–2017 Turn: Washington's Spies Martin De Young 7 episodes
2016 The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story Bill Hodgman 5 episodes
2017 Colony Dan Bennett 10 episodes
2017 Lifeline Dugan Morris Episode: "There's a Chip in Her Arm"
2019 9-1-1 Franklin Prentiss Episode: "Ocean's 9-1-1"
2019 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Forreston Graham Episode: "The Burden of Our Choices"
2021 The Good Doctor Dr. Silas Chambers Episode: "Teeny Blue Eyes"
2022 Julia James Beard Episode: "Crepes Suzette"
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