William Mapother
Birth Date:
April 17, 1965
Birth Place:
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
6' 1" (1.85 m)
Famous for:
Cousin of Tom Cruise, starred as Ethan Rom on TV series Lost (2004-2006)
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In the Bedroom


“I never really worried about it. As I've amassed a body of work, the questions about Tom have gone away. I figured that if I did good work, I'd be seen for what I am.” William Mapother (about his famous cousin, Tom Cruise)

American film and television actor William Mapother rose to fame after playing Marisa Tomei's cruel ex-husband on the Todd Field triumphant debut feature “In the Bedroom” (2001), from which he shared a Screen Actors Guild nomination. Former school teacher Mapother made his debut in front of the film camera in Oliver Stone's “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989), alongside his cousin Tom Cruise, but did not appear in another film project until he was cast in the Cruise produced film “Without Limits” (1998). He continued to have bit parts in Tom Cruise's films “Mission: Impossible II” (2000), “Vanilla Sky” (2001) and “Minority Report” (2002) and in other films like “Magnolia” (1999) and “Swordfish” (2001). After his breakthrough on “In the Bedroom,” Mapother landed significant roles in various films, including “The Grudge” (2004), “The Zodiac” (2005), “World Trade Center” (2006), a reunion with Oliver Stone, “Moola” (2007), “The Burrowers” (2008), “Hurt” (2009), “Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend” (2010) and “Another Earth” (2011). On the small screen, Mapother is perhaps best known for playing Ethan Rom on several episodes of the ABC popular series “Lost” (2004-2010). He has also guest starred in many TV shows, including “Prison Break,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “CSI: Miami.”

The Kentucky native co-founded the Flyover Film Festival in Louisville. He is also a founding partner of Slated, which performs market research for films.

Currently, Mapother resides in Los Angeles, California. He enjoys writing and listening to music. His favorite actor is Bill Murray.

Cruise's Cousin

Childhood and Family:

William Reibert Mapother, Jr. was born on April 19, 1965, in Louisville, Kentucky. His father, William Reibert Mapother, Sr., was an attorney, a consultant, and a judge from 1967 to 1970. His mother's name is Louisa. His parents divorced in 1992 and his father died on June 22, 2006, after battling lung cancer and pulmonary fibrosis. William has two younger sisters, Katherine (born 1969) and Amy (born 1983). He is the younger cousin of superstar Tom Cruise and Lee Anne De Vette.

William attended St. Xavier High School in Louisville and the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, from which he received a B.A. in English. After graduating college, he taught high school in Los Angeles for three years before eventually switching to acting. He graduated from the Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Acting School in Santa Monica, California.



William Mapother began his show business career in the late 1980s as a production assistant for the films “Rain Man” (1988, directed by Roger Donaldson) and “Cocktail” (1988, directed by Barry Levinson), which both starred his cousin, Tom Cruise. His first acting job arrived when he landed a small role in the Oliver Stone Academy Award winning movie “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989), also starring Tom Cruise. Mapother also served as the Cruise’s assistant for the film. After his debut, however, Mapother spent almost a decade away from the big screen and took a teaching job in Los Angeles.

Mapother resumed his acting career in 1998 when he landed a role in the Tom Cruise produced biographical film “Without Limits.” The film was met with positive reviews from critics but performed poorly at the box office. The same year, he also starred with Andrew Heckler and Kristin Moreu in the award winning short “Trickle” and appeared with Lea Thompson, Vincent Spano and Danny Nucci in the film “The Unknown Cyclist,” by director Bernard Salzmann.

Mapother went on to have small roles in Paul Thomas Anderson's “Magnolia” (1999), starring Tom Cruise, Jason Robards and Julianne Moore, and “Mission: Impossible II” (2000), which Cruise starred and produced. He then received his breakthrough screen role as Richard Strout, the alienated husband of a woman having an affair with a younger man, in “In the Bedroom” (2001), the feature directorial debut of actor Todd Field. The performance earned him a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture, which he shared with costars Sissy Spacek, Nick Stahl, Marisa Tomei, Celia Weston, Tom Wilkinson and William Wise. “In the Bedroom” was nominated for Oscars in the categories of Best Actor (Wilkinson), Best Actress (Spacek), Best Picture, Best Screenplay - Adapted and Best Supporting Actress (Tomei).

Still in 2001, Mapother also appeared in the big budget thriller “Swordfish,” which was directed by Dominic Sena and starred John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle and Vinnie Jones. He then had an unaccredited part in Cruise's film “Vanilla Sky.” He was reunited with his cousin again in the critically acclaimed science fiction film “Minority Report” (2002), where Mapother appeared as a hotel clerk. After starring in the short “Self Storage” (2002), Mapother made his television movie debut on the ABC film “The Pennsylvania Miners' Story” (2002), which was based on the true life of coal miners. The same year, he also had his first TV episodic role on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” More guest spots followed and he appeared in episodes of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2003), “Touched by an Angel” (2003), “Line of Fire” (2004), “CSI: Miami” (2004) and “NCIS: Naval Criminal Investigative Service” (2004).

In 2004, Mapother landed the recurring role of mysterious antagonist Ethan Rom on the ABC hit series “Lost,” which was co-created by J. J. Abrams. He appeared in 11 episodes throughout the show's run between 2004 and 2010. Also that year, Mapother returned to the big screen as Bill Grieves on the thriller “Suspect Zero,” starring Aaron Eckhart, Ben Kingsley and Carrie-Anne Moss, and Matthew Williams in the American remake of the successful Japanese thriller “The Grudge,” opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, KaDee Strickland, Clea DuVall and Bill Pullman.

2005 saw Mapother guest star in the television series “The Inside,” “Threshold” and “Crossing Jordan” and play a doctor in the short film “Chloe.” He also portrayed Donnie in the Catherine Hardwicke directed film “Lords of Dogtown,” which starred Heath Ledger, Emile Hirsch, John Robinson, Victor Rasuk, Michael Angarano and Nikki Reed, and starred with Justin Chambers, Rory Culkin, Philip Baker Hall and Brad Henke in the psychological thriller “The Zodiac,” which was directed and co-written by Alexander Bulkley. The next year, he was cast as Jason Thomas in the hit disaster film “World Trade Center,” from director Oliver Stone, and played the supporting role of Jack on the film “The Lather Effect,” which starred Connie Britton, Sarah Clarke and Tate Donovan and was directed by Sarah Kelly. In addition, he contributed his voice to the animated TV series “Robot Chicken” (2 episodes).

Mapother next starred with Treat Williams and Charlotte Ross in the Don Most directed film “Moola” (2007), worked with Jon Heder, Mila Kunis, Rutger Hauer, Ben Gourley and Billy Drago in the comedy “Moving McAllister” (2007), which was directed by Andrew Black, starred as William Parcher in the horror film “The Burrowers” (2008), opposite Clancy Brown, Laura Leighton, Sean Patrick Thomas and Robert Ri'chard, and starred in “Hurt” (2009), opposite Melora Walters, Jackson Rathbone, Johanna E. Braddy, Sofia Vassilieva and Ava Gaudet. Meanwhile on the small screen, the actor appeared in episodes of “K-Ville” (2007), “Viva Laughlin” (2007), “Criminal Minds” (2008), “WordGirl” (2009, as the voice of Guy Rich) and “Prison Break” (2009). He also played Henry Hargrove Jr. in the television film “Skip Tracer” (2008), starring Stephen Dorff, Diedrich Bader and Martha Higareda, and reprised his role of Ethan Rom in an episode of the TV miniseries version “Lost: Missing Pieces” (2008).

In 2010, Mapother appeared in episodes of “Human Target,” “The Young and the Restless” (as the voice of Gavin), “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “I <3 Vampires.” He also portrayed the role of Pastor Jenkins in the comedy “Darnell Dawkins: Mouth Guitar Legend,” starring Ross Patterson, Michael Raymond-James and Christine Lakin. In addition, he provided voices for the video games “Halo: Reach” and “Fallout: New Vegas.”

Recently, in 2011, the actor starred with Brit Marling in the science fiction film “Another Earth,” which premiered at the 27th Sundance Film Festival in January 2011. It was the feature directorial debut of Mike Cahill. He will play David Milligan in the upcoming film “A Warrior's Heart,” which is set to be released in the U.S. on September 9, 2011. The film was co-written and directed by Gavin O'Connor and will star Nick Nolte, Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Jennifer Morrison and Kurt Angle. Mapother is also scheduled to play roles in the upcoming movies “Edwin Boyd” (2011), “FDR: American Badass” (2011) and “Static” (2012).


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