With Peter unseen (in voiceover narration, or television and radio commercials), his voice is strongly reminiscent of, and often favorably compared, to that of Henry Fonda.
Along with Glenn Close, he narrated the opening ceremonies of the XIX Olympic Winter Games (2002 Salt Lake City, Utah, USA).
Before becoming an actor at the age of 39, he spent 15 years in the counterculture movement during the 1960s. He wrote a memoir of that time in his life, called "Sleeping Where I Fall," which was published in full in 1998. It has gone through five hardback printings and is in its second paperback edition. "Carla's Story", a chapter from the book which was released earlier, won the Pushcart Prize for Excellence in Non-Fiction in 1993/1994.
Tested for the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). His clumsiness during this process endeared him to Steven Spielberg, who felt that the role of the childlike Keys in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) would be perfect for Coyote.
He was one of the organizers of a group of 12 students who traveled to Washington, DC, during the Cuban missile crisis of the early 1960s supporting President John F. Kennedy's "peace race." President Kennedy invited the group into the White House (the first time protesters had ever been so recognized) and they met for several hours with Kennedy advisor McGeorge Bundy.
Was a member of the radically political theatre performance group "The San Francisco Mime Troupe".
Graduated with a B.A in English Literature from Iowa's Grinnell College in 1964.
Given the actor's unusual second name, it's ironic that, prior to his acting career, he once plucked chickens for a living
In his book "Lila," author Robert Pirsig relates that Coyote was in his mind to star in an adaptation of, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." Coyote was a friend of Pirsig's son Chris.
His father, Morris Cohon, was from a family of both Ashkenazi Jewish and Sephardi Jewish ancestry (from Russia, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Tunisia). His mother, Ruth (Fidler), was a Jewish immigrant from the Russian Empire.
Is so far the only American actor to work with Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar. He starred in Kika (1993), throughout which he speaks Spanish, in which he is fluent.
Is fluent in both Spanish and French.
He worked with Jerry Hardin in Heartbreakers (1984). He later played DA Jerry Hardin in Law & Order: LA (2010).
Ken Burns considers Coyote to be his "narrator muse," and Coyote never reads Burns' scripts in advance of performing the narrations.
Has a younger sister.
Has been friends with Terry Bisson since their time as Grinnell College students in the early 1960s.
When he was 17 years old, Coyote was arrested with a friend for trying to transport eighteen pounds of marijuana across the Mexican border into Texas. He used his one phone call to call his father, who bailed him out. His father never spoke about the incident again.
He considers Susie Nelson, the family housekeeper, to be his mother, after his mother had a nervous breakdown when he was 2 1/2. As a result, he never had emotional intimacy with his genetic mother until he was age 34, after the death of his father.
He has lived in the San Francisco Bay area and Marin County since just after his graduation from Grinnell College in 1964.
He has given both Rachmil Pinchus Ben Mosha Cohon and Robert Peter Cohon as his birthname in interviews.
He began using the last name of Coyote, for the animal, considered otherworldly by some Native Americans, after meeting a Paiute-Shoshone shaman in 1967.
Friend of author/poet Gary Snyder since the late 1960s.
He was paid just $28,000 for his role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), his fifth feature film role, and his eighth overall. But when the film passed $300,000,000 in international box office, director/producer Steven Spielberg sent him a "thank you" check for $10,000, which Coyote considered very generous.
Daughter, Ariel, with Eileen 'Sam' Ewing.