Date of Birth: October 10th 1941
Although most well known as a talented and respected character actor in innumerable films, from big-budget Hollywood blockbusters (such as Steven Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Jagged Edge) to funky independent and foreign films (Roman Polanski's Bitter Moon, Pedro Almodovar's Kika) to TV movies, Peter Coyote's long, circuitous route to popular success was initially inundated with an appreciation and love of music. The young Peter Cohon grew up in a New York City house in which his father, Morris, was an avid jazz lover. The household was often filled with musicians over for impromptu jam sessions, and Peter began studying drums at the age of 12 with legendary big band drummer Cozy Cole. He was also a prodigious collector of jazz LPs and blues 78s, accumulating some 1,200 items by the time he left for Grinnell College in Iowa circa 1962. Peter Cohon began informally playing guitar in 1960 and writing songs two years later when he was stopped in his tracks by the debut album of a young troubadour by the name of Bob Dylan. Only a few years later, the re-christened Peter Coyote would be traveling in the same general circles as and keeping company with Dylan and fellow top rock stars (not to mention writers, poets, actors, and every other manner of creative person) of the day as a member of the experimental anarchic street troupe the Diggers.