John was born in 1948 in London to the Scottish actor, Russell Waters. As a child, he spent a lot of time around the acting business, visiting sets where his father was working. Prior to beginning his acting career, John was the singer and bass player for the rock and roll band The Riots. He left England in 1968 to head to Australia. In 1969 John managed to land himself a small part in Adam's Woman, which was an American movie being filmed in Australia. Following on from this role, John auditioned for musicals and gained a role in Hair. His career went on from here, with many roles in movies and Australian television series'.
John has been married to Zoe Burton since 2002 and he has one child.