m in the Emmy-winning Deadwood, Sheriff Bud Dearborne in True Blood, Larry in the classic sitcom Newhart, and J.F. Sebastian in the sci-fi film masterwork Blade Runner. Now 75-years-old, Sanderson looks back at his incredible career, how he achieved success, and his own self-sabotaging behavior that always threatened disaster in Yes, I'm That Guy, The Rough-and-Tumble Life of a Character Actor, an entertaining memoir scheduled for release on May 23, 2019.
Early reviewers have been enthusiastic about the memoir. WZON Radio Host Rich Kimball says that he couldn't put the book down. "I read a lot of books for my show and a fair number of books by actors but something about this one grabbed me and wouldn't let go. It was incredibly honest, heartbreaking at times, and laugh-out-loud funny, and by the end I found myself tearing up with joy at the peace of mind that William seems to have found," he writes.
Written with the assistance of Ray Richmond, a syndicated movie critic and entertainment columnist, Yes, I'm That Guy tells the story of a highly successful character actor whom everyone recognizes without quite being able to place him. Weaving in entertaining anecdotes about some of Hollywood's biggest names, Sanderson chronicles his path from a troubled youth, to military service and law school, to a serendipitous discovery that he could act, to long-term success as a character actor.
Over the course of five decades, Sanderson has appeared in hundreds of feature films, TV movies and series, plays, commercials and even cartoons. The one constant throughout the decades was the urge to drink too much and do the wrong thing in a situation precisely because it was wrong – leading to numerous arrests and forcible removals from bars.
Looking back, Sanderson says that he is "astonished at the second chances that I've had." "I wrote this book to entertain and tell my story, but if there is any kind of a moral it is that you can realize a dream through persistence, fortitude and a little bit of good luck," he comments.
Sanderson credits his wife, Sharon, for being his life manager – or wife-ager, as he puts it – and saving him from himself. "If there's a happier character actor out there, I'd like to meet him," he writes. "It was never supposed to happen for me. Those really weren't the cards I got dealt. Yet I've managed to pack more experiences and adventure into my life than anyone ever expected, least of all me."
Sanderson is reprising his role as E.B. Farnum in the much-anticipated HBO TV movie Deadwood, twelve years after the popular western TV series went off the air. The May 23, 2019 publication of Yes, I'm That Guy is timed to coincide with the May 31, 2019 premier of Deadwood.