Date of Birth : Jul 30th 1947
Atherton entered pop culture history in 1984, when he appeared in the hit comedy Ghostbusters as the overbearing United States Environmental Protection Agency agent Walter Peck. Atherton was almost injured on the set when 200 pounds of shaving cream were dumped on him from a crane to simulate a torrent of molten marshmallow engulfing him, nearly knocking him off his feet. After the big success of Ghostbusters, Atherton has said that people have yelled “Dickless” at him when they see him in public (Peck is called “Dickless” by Dan Aykroyd’s character in the movie).
In 1985, Martha Coolidge chose Atherton to play Professor Jerry Hathaway in the teen comedy Real Genius. In 1988, Atherton played the reporter Dick Thornburg in the blockbuster action film Die Hard, as well as its 1990 sequel. Other film credits include No Mercy, The Pelican Brief, Bio-Dome, Mad City, The Crow: Salvation, The Last Samurai, Grim Prairie Tales, the TV movies Buried Alive, Headspace and Virus. He has also made guest appearances on such TV shows as The Twilight Zone, Desperate Housewives, The Equalizer, Law & Order & Monk. Atherton also provided the voice of Dr. Destiny on Justice League.
According to writer/director Kevin Smith, Atherton was his first choice to play the odious Jared Svenning, the chief villain of his 1995 film Mallrats. Atherton turned it down as he saw the film to be too childish, although Smith humorously added that Atherton had elected instead to play a role in the Pauly Shore vehicle Bio-Dome. His 2007 appearances included Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door, an adaptation of the best selling novel The Girl Next Door. He will be reprising his role as Walter Peck in the upcoming Ghostbusters: The Video Game, set for release in June 2009.