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James Cromwell

James Cromwell attending the "Night of 100 Stars" for the 82nd Academy Awards viewing party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA on March 7, 2010
Born James Oliver Cromwell
January 27, 1940 (1940-01-27) (age 70)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other name(s) Jamie Cromwell
Occupation Actor
Years active 1975–present
Spouse(s) Anne Ulvestad (1976-1986)
Julie Cobb (1986-2006)

James Oliver Cromwell (born January 27, 1940) is an American film and television actor. He has been nominated for an Oscar, three Emmy Awards, and four Screen Actors Guild Awards during his career.


Early years

Cromwell was born in Los Angeles, California and was raised in Manhattan, New York. He was adopted by actress Kay Johnson and actor, director and producer John Cromwell, who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era.[1][2] He was educated at The Hill School, Middlebury College and Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), where he studied engineering. Like both his parents, he was drawn to the theater, doing everything from Shakespeare to experimental plays.


Cromwell's first television performance was in a 1974 episode of The Rockford Files playing Terry.[3] A few weeks later,[4] he began a recurring role as Stretch Cunningham on All in the Family. In 1975 he took his first lead role on television as Bill Lewis in the short-lived Hot l Baltimore, and a year later he made his film debut in Neil Simon's classic detective spoof Murder by Death.

In 1980, Cromwell guest-starred in the two-part pivotal episode "Laura Ingalls Wilder" of the long-running television series Little House on the Prairire. He played "Harve Miller," one of "Almanzo Wilder's" (Dean Butler) old friends. He comes to visit Almanzo, who lives with his shy sister, Walnut Grove's school teacher "Eliza Jane." Eliza Jane and Harve spend time together over the next few weeks, and she falls in love, for the first time, with Harve. Eliza, however, misunderstands some comments Harve has made, and he stuns her, at Nellie's restaurant, by announcing he wishes to marry another woman in a different town. Harve is totally unaware that she had feelings of love towards him. She takes Almanzo's wagon to the town of Sleepy Eye to seek him out before he marries someone else. She finally gathers the courage to tell him that she loves him. Instead, he tells Eliza that it is too late, he is already married. Eliza lies to everyone, and claims she is marrying Harve and moving away. This allows seventeen-year-old Laura Ingalls (Melissa Gilbert) to take over her job as school teacher, giving Laura and Almanzo desperately needed income, and allowing Laura to move into their home to marry Almanzo at last.

While Cromwell continued with regular television work throughout the 1980s, he made real inroads in film business for his supporting roles in the films Tank and Revenge of the Nerds. His starring roles in the 1990s critically-acclaimed films Babe (1995), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), L.A. Confidential (1997), The Green Mile, and Snow Falling on Cedars (both 1999) were breakout roles for him, and made him more bankable in Hollywood. He also played Dr. Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) and the Star Trek: Enterprise pilot Broken Bow (the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly" later reused some of the First Contact footage).[5] He has appeared on other Star Trek television series The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, though not as Cochrane (his appearances on these shows predated his role in First Contact), he guest starred in episodes including "The Hunted", "Birthright" (Part I and II) and "Starship Down".

Cromwell also had additional success on television throughout his career. His role as newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst in the television film RKO 281 earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Television Movie. The following year, he receive his second Emmy Award nomination for playing Bishop Lionel Stewart on the NBC medical drama series ER. In 2004, he guest-starred as former President D. Wire Newman in the The West Wing episode "The Stormy Present". From 2003 to 2005, Cromwell played George Sibley in the HBO drama series Six Feet Under, which earned him his third Emmy Award nomination in 2003. Along with the rest of his castmates, he was also nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2005 and 2006. The following year, Cromwell played Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in The Queen (2006), that earned Dame Helen Mirren an Academy Award for Best Actress. He also guest starred as Phillip Bauer, father of lead character Jack, in the sixth season of the Fox thriller drama series 24.

In October 2007, Cromwell played the lead role of James Tyrone Sr. in the Druid Theatre Company's production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, at the Gaiety in Dublin as part of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival's 50th Anniversary.[6] More recently, Cromwell played George Herbert Walker Bush in Oliver Stone's W. (2008), that chronicles the unlikely rise to power of his son up until the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In an interview, Cromwell revealed that Stone had originally offered the role to Warren Beatty and Harrison Ford.[7]

Personal life

He has long been an advocate of leftist causes. In an October 2008 interview, he strongly attacked the Republican Party and the George W. Bush administration, saying their controversial foreign policy would "either destroy us or the entire planet."[7] In the late 1960s, he was a member of "The Committee to Defend The Panthers", a group organized to defend 13 members of the Black Panther Party who had been imprisoned in New York on charges of conspiracy. All thirteen were eventually released. In a 2004 interview with, Cromwell praised the Panthers.[8] He became a vegetarian in 1974 after seeing a stockyard in Texas and experiencing the "smell, terror and anxiety."[9] He became an ethical vegan while playing the character of Farmer Hoggett in the movie Babe in 1995. He frequently speaks out on issues regarding animal cruelty for PETA, largely the treatment of pigs.[10]

Cromwell is known for his unusually tall stature; he stands at 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m).[citation needed]

Cromwell was married to Anne Ulvestad from 1976 to 1986. They had three children. He married his second wife, Julie Cobb, on 29 May 1986.



Year Film Role Notes
1976 Murder by Death Marcel
1978 The Cheap Detective Schnell
1981 Nobody's Perfekt Dr. Carson
1983 The Man with Two Brains Realtor
1984 The House of God Officer Quick
Tank Deputy Euclid Baker
Revenge of the Nerds Mr. Skolnick Credited as "Jamie Cromwell"
Oh, God! You Devil Priest
1985 Explorers Mr. Müller
1986 A Fine Mess Detective Blist
1987 Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise Mr. Skolnick
1988 The Rescue Admiral Rothman
1989 The Runnin' Kind Unknown
Pink Cadillac Motel Desk Clerk
1991 RKO 281 William Randolph Hearst
1992 The Babe Brother Mathias
1993 Romeo Is Bleeding Cage
1995 Babe Farmer Arthur Hoggett Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1996 Eraser William Donohue
The People vs. Larry Flynt Charles Keating
Star Trek: First Contact Dr. Zefram Cochrane
1997 Owd Bob Adam MacAdam
L.A. Confidential Captain Dudley Smith Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Education of Little Tree Granpa
1998 Species II Senator Judson Ross
Deep Impact Alan Rittenhouse
Babe: Pig in the City Farmer Arthur Hoggett
1999 The General's Daughter Lt. Gen. Joseph Campbell
The Bachelor Priest
The Green Mile Warden Hal Moores Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Snow Falling on Cedars Judge Fielding
2000 Space Cowboys Bob Gerson
2002 Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron The Colonel
The Sum of All Fears President J. Robert Fowler
The Nazi Franz
2003 Blackball Ray Speight
The Snow Walker Walter Shepherd
2004 I, Robot Dr. Alfred Lanning
2005 The Longest Yard Warden Hazen
2006 The Queen Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
2007 Dante's Inferno Virgil
Becoming Jane Reverend Austen
Spider-Man 3 Captain George Stacy
2008 Tortured Jack
W. George H. W. Bush
2009 A Lonely Place for Dying Howard Simons
Flying Into Love Lyndon B. Johnson Pre-production
Surrogates Dr. Lionel Canter


Year Title Role Notes
1974 The Rockford Files Terry Episode 1.3: "The Countess"
All in the Family Stretch Cunningham Appeared in three episodes
1974, 1978 Maude Alfie
Dr. Farrington
Episode 3.9: "Last Tango in Tuckahoe"
Episode 6.13: "The Obscene Phone Call"
1975 Hot l Baltimore Bill Lewis Main cast member
Barbary Coast Roy Episode 1.4: "The Ballad of Redwing Jail"
1976 Stranded Jerry Holmes TV film
Insight Norman Episode "Jesus B.C."
The Nancy Walker Show Glen
Once an Eagle J. L. Cleghorne Mini-series
1977 Police Story Lutz Episode 4.20: "Ice Time"
The Girl in the Empty Grave Deputy Malcolm Rossiter Jr. TV film
M*A*S*H Captain Leo Bardonaro Episode 6.3: "Last Laugh"
Three's Company Detective Lannigan Episode 2.9: "Chrissy's Night Out"
Deadly Game Deputy Malcolm Rossiter Jr. TV film
1977, 1979, 1981 Barney Miller Sgt. Wilkinson
Neil Spencer
Jason Parrish
Dr. Edmund Danworth
Episode 3.20: "Group Home"
Episode 6.6: "Strip Joint"
Episode 7.22: "Liquidation"
Episode 8.5: "Stress Analyzer"
1978 Alice Detective Ralph Hilton Episode 3.9: "Who Ordered the Hot Turkey?"
1979 Eight Is Enough Coach Pollard Episode 3.23: "The Better Part of Valour"
Diff'rent Strokes Father O'Brien Episode 2.7: "Arnold's Hero"
1979, 1980 The White Shadow Mr. Hamilton
Art Commings
Episode 1.13: "Mainstream"
Episode 2.22: "The Death of Me Yet?"
1980 Flo Leon Episodes 1.1: "Homecoming" and 1.4: "Take My Sister, Please"
Little House on the Prairie Harve Miller Episodes 7.1: "Laura Ingalls Wilder: Part 1" and 7.2: "Laura Ingalls Wilder: Part 2"
A Christmas Without Snow Reverend Lohman TV film
1981 Barefoot in the Park Harry Pepper TV film
1982 The Rainmaker Noah Curry TV film
Nurse Paul Moore Episode 2.9: "A Place to Die"
The Wall Francisek TV film
Born to the Wind Fish Belly
Father Murphy Farley Webster Episodes 2.5: "The Reluctant Runaway: Part 1" and 2.6: "The Reluctant Runaway: Part 2"
1984 Buffalo Bill Unknown Episode 2.2: "Jerry Lewis Week"
Gimme a Break! Russell Cosgrove Episode 3.22: "Class of '84"
Spraggue Lieutenant Hurley TV film
Earthlings Simon Ganes TV film
1984-1985 Dallas Gerald Kane Appeared in three episodes
1985 Night Court Alan Episode 2.14: "Nuts About Harry"
Family Ties John Hancock Episode 3.15: "Philadelphia Story"
Riptide Joey Dietz Episode 2.17: "Girls Night Out"
Hardcastle and McCormick Jake Fellows Episode 2.20: "Undercover McCormick"
Knight Rider Curtis Episode 3.18: "Ten Wheel Trouble"
Wildside Fake Buffalo Bill Episode 1.5: "Buffalo Who?"
Hill Street Blues Lowenhandler Episode 5.23: "Grin and Bear It"
Hunter Seymour Robbins Episode 1.19: "Sniper"
The Twilight Zone Obediah Payne Episode 1.6: "Examination Day/A Message from Charity"
1985-1986 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Gregory Episodes 3.4: "Tail of the Dancing Weasel" and 3.18: "Wrong Number"
1986 Amazing Stories Francis Episode 1.15: "One for the Road"
Magnum, P.I. French Policeman Episode 6.21: "Photo Play"; uncredited
The Last Precinct Chief Bludhorn
Dream West Major General David Hunter TV mini-series
1987 Easy Street Quentin Standard Episode 1.13: "Frames and Dames"
Alison's Demise Humboldt Hobson TV film
1988 China Beach Ambassador at Large Roland Weymouth Pilot
Mr. Belvedere Roy Gallagher Episode 5.1: "Fat Cats"
Mama's Boy Unknown
1989 Christine Cromwell Arthur Episode 1.1: "Things That Go Bump in the Night"
1990 Life Goes On Bill Henderson Episode 1.13: "Thacher and Henderson"
Miracle Landing B.J. Cocker TV film
Matlock Judge Raymond Price Episode 5.2: "Nowhere to Turn"
1990, 1993 Star Trek: The Next Generation Prime Minister Nayrok
Jaglom Shrek
Episode 3.11: "The Hunted"
Episodes 6.16: "Birthright: Part 1" and 6.17: "Birthright: Part 2"
1991 The Young Riders Jacob Episode 2.14: "The Peacemakers"
Jake and the Fatman Havilland Episode 4.19: "It Never Entered My Mind"
In a Child's Name Unknown TV film
1992 Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation Mr. Skolnick TV film; credited as "Jamie Cromwell"
1994 Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love Mr. Skolnick TV film; credited as "Jamie Cromwell"
The Shaggy Dog Charlie 'the Robber' Mulvihill TV film
Home Improvement Fred Episode 4.9: "My Dinner with Wilson"
1995 Renegade Jeremy Sullivan Episode 3.15: "Stalker's Moon"
Picket Fences The Bishop Episode 3.20: "Saint Zach"
Indictment: The McMartin Trial Judge Pounders TV film
Hawkeye Unknown Episode 1.17: "The Visit"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Hanok Episode 4.6: "Starship Down"
1995-1996 Partners Mr. Saxonhouse Episodes 1.11: "Do We Have to Write You a Check?" and 1.18: "Can We Keep Her, Dad?"
1996 Strange Luck Minister Episode 1.13: "Healing Hands"
The Client Officer Joe Denton Episode 1.17: "The High Ground"
1999 A Slight Case of Murder John Edgerson TV film
RKO 281 William Randolph Hearst TV film
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
2000 Fail Safe Gordon Knapp TV play
2001 ER Bishop Stewart Appeared in four episodes
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Drama Series
Star Trek: Enterprise Dr. Zefram Cochrane Episode 1.1: "Broken Bow: Part 1"
Cromwell also appeared in archive footage in Episode 4.18: "In a Mirror, Darkly"
Citizen Baines Senator Elliot Baines Appeared in all seven episodes
2002 A Death in the Family Joel Lynch TV film
The Magnificent Ambersons Major Amberson TV film
RFK President Lyndon B. Johnson
2003 Angels in America Henry TV mini-series; chapters 1 and 4
2003-2005 Six Feet Under George Sibley Appeared in 27 episodes
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2005, 2006)
2004 The West Wing President D. Wire Newman Episode 5.10: "The Stormy Present"
'Salem's Lot Father Donald Callahan TV mini-series
2005 Pope John Paul II Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha
2006 Avenger Paul Devereaux TV film
2007 24 Phillip Bauer Appeared in eight episodes
Masters of Science Fiction Randolph Ludwin Episode 1.6: "Watchbird"
2008 Hit Factor Orson Fierce Also producer
My Own Worst Enemy Alistar Trumble Appeared in six episodes
2009 Strikeout Director TV film
Impact Lloyd TV mini-series
The Last Days of Lehman Brothers Hank Paulson Docu-drama



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