Born in Detroit, Skerritt, after four years in the US military, entered Wayne State University as an English major.  Developing an interest in film directing, he transferred to UCLA.  Although focused on directing, an acting performance in a theater production lead to his being cast in his first film, WAR HUNT (1962), where he met other young hopefuls, Robert Redford and the late Sydney Pollock. 


As a filmmaker, Skerritt mentored with Robert Altman, Hal Ashby, Ridley and Tony Scott and has directed episodes of PICKET FENCES, CHICAGO HOPE, as well as a long form TV film for USA cable.


From his early acting role in Robert Altman’s classic comedy, M*A*S*H, to a roster which counts several classics among the movies he’s been in, including; THE TURNING POINT, ALIEN, A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, STEEL MAGNOLIAS, TOP GUN, CONTACT.


In Autumn of 2013 he performed in John Grisham’s A TIME TO KILL, his first appearance on Broadway.

He has also performed with the Pacific NW Ballet performance of Don Quixote 2012 and 2015.


Two time Golden Globe nominee and Best Actor Emmy winner for his Emmy Award series, PICKET FENCES, Skerritt, along with other film and story educators, founded The Film School in Seattle, a Mecca for learning and engaging the art of storytelling in film as well as all forms of storytelling. The Film School has become synonymous with forward-looking and effective training for the basis of good storytelling in film.   


With the success of The Film School, Skerritt redesigned a program to teach Storytelling to transitioning PTS vets at JBLM, Fort Lewis. Almost four years into the program the RED BADGE PROJECT is achieving success  with additional programs helping women and Vietnam vets re-connect with themselves.