William Rankin "Will" Patton (born June 14, 1954) is an American actor. Patton was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the eldest of three children. His father, Bill Patton, was a playwright, acting/directing instructor and Lutheran minister who served as a chaplain at Duke University.Patton was raised on a farm, where his parents ran a foster home for wayward teenagers. He attended the North Carolina School of the Arts and The Actors' Studio. Patton won two Obie Awards for best actor for his performances in Sam Shepard's play Fool for Love and the Public Theatre production of What Did He See?. He was nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of General Bethlehem in The Postman. He also portrayed coach Bill Yoast in Remember the Titans and FBI agent Melvin Purvis in the 1991 made-for-TV movie Dillinger. Patton provided the voice for the audio version of The Assault on Reason by Al Gore, as well as the role of Alan Wilson on the TV show 24. Patton plays the character of Sam Conroy in the film American Violet.