Fichtner graduated from Maryvale High School (Cheektowaga) in 1974. After graduating from Farmingdale State College in 1976 with an associate degree in criminal justice, he attended State University of New York Brockport and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice in 1978. Fichtner then studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New New York
He has appeared in a number of notable films and television series. He is known for his roles as Sheriff Tom Underlay in the cult favorite television series Invasion, Alexander Mahone on Prison Break, and numerous film roles, including: Quiz Show, Armageddon, The Perfect Storm, Crash, Blades of Glory, Blackhawk Down, Nine Lives, The Longest Yard, Mr. & Mistress Smith, The Dark Knight, Date Night, The Lone Ranger, Phantom, Elysium, Independence Day: Resurgence, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and its sequel.
He has German ancestry.
Fichtner credits his Farmingdale State College admissions counselor, Don Harvey, with his decision to study acting. Harvey, who became a lifelong friend, took Fichtner to his first Broadway show.
On 18 May 2008, Fichtner was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Farmingdale State College. Fichtner began his acting career as Josh Snyder in As the World Turns in 1987.
Fichtner"s film credits include Contact, Heat, Armageddon, Go, Equilibrium, Black Hawk Down, The Perfect Storm, The Longest Yard, Crash, Ultraviolet, and The Dark Knight.
Mainly a character actor, one of Fichtner"s few leading roles is in Passion of Mind, also starring Demi Moore and Stellan Skarsgåroad Credited as Bill Fichtner, he voiced the character Ken Rosenberg in the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Between 2005 and 2006, Fichtner also starred in the science-fiction television series Invasion as Sheriff Tom Underlay.
After Invasion was cancelled, Fichtner played Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent Alexander Mahone in the second through fourth seasons (2006–2009) of Prison Break.
Later that year, he presented an award at the National Hockey League award show. He also appears in The West Wing episode, "The Supremes" as Christopher Mulready, a conservative judge nominated to the Supreme Court.
Fichtner also had a role as the Gotham National Bank manager in the feature film The Dark Knight, and as Jurgen in Equilibrium. In June 2009, Fichtner signed on to guest star on Entourage playing television producer Philosophy Yagoda, who is trying to remake his hit 1990s teen series.
He also voices Master Sergeant Sandman in the 2011 video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.
Fichtner plays Eric Sacks in 2014"s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and will in its sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. As of June 2014, Fichtner lives in Prague, Czechoslovakian Republic, where he filmed the television series Crossing Lincolnshire. Fichtner is a Buffalo Bills fan, appearing in a commercial for the team before the 2014 season.
More recently, Fichtner narrated the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network 30 for 30 documentary titled "Four Falls of Buffalo", chronicling the Buffalo Bills" four consecutive Super Bowl appearances from 1990-1993.