Sterling Walter Hayden (born Sterling Relyea Walter; March 26, 1916 – May 23, 1986) was an American actor and author. For most of his career as a leading man, he specialized in westerns and film noir, such as Johnny Guitar, The Asphalt Jungle, and The Killing. Later on he became noted for appearing in supporting roles such as Gen. Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). He also played the Irish American policeman Captain McCluskey in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather in 1972 and the novelist Roger Wade in 1973's The Long Goodbye. He played the role of Leo Dalcò in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900 in 1976. At 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m), he towered over most other actors.
Hayden was born in Upper Montclair, New Jersey, to George and Frances Walter, who named him Sterling Relyea Walter. After his father died, he was adopted at age 9 by James Hayden and renamed Sterling Walter Hayden. As a child he lived in coastal towns of New England, and in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Maine. He attended Wassookeag School in Dexter, Maine.