Slater attended the Dalton School, the Professional Children's School and the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.
Slater's acting career began with television and then a Broadway début in 1980.
It was the film, Heather's in the 1980's which really put him on the map. Heather's was billed as the teen film of the late 1980's and Slater went on to play similar roles. Slater starred in many blockbuster hits such as Pump up the Volume, True Romance and Interview with the Vampire.
More recently Slater has guest starred in popular television shows.