The Full Wiki

James Tolkan: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Tolkan
Born James S. Tolkan
June 20, 1931 (1931-06-20) (age 78)
Calumet, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1960–present

James S. Tolkan (born June 20, 1931) is an American actor, often cast as a strict, overbearing, bald-headed authority figure.



Personal life

He was born in Calumet, Michigan, the son of Ralph M. Tolkan,[1] a cattle dealer, and attended the University of Iowa, Coe College, the Actors Studio and Eastern Arizona College.[2] Tolkan currently lives in Lake Placid, New York and is an active participant in the Saranac Lake Pool League.


Tolkan is best known for his role in the 1985 film Back to the Future as the strict, disciplinarian Hill Valley High School principal Gerald Strickland. He referred to Marty McFly, his father, and Biff Tannen derisively as "slackers." He reprised the role in the 1989 sequel Back to the Future Part II, where unnamed gang members made a drive-by assault on him in a bleak alternate present (then 1985) - he also referred to these criminals as "slackers" as he shot back. In 1990, he played the part of Mr. Strickland's grandfather in Back to the Future Part III. Other well-known roles include a government agent in WarGames and Stinger, the no-nonsense officer in the 1986 box-office hit Top Gun. He also appeared in the 1987 film Masters of the Universe as a police officer. He played a dual role in the Woody Allen comedy Love and Death, playing both Napoleon and a Napoleon look-alike. He also appeared as Big Boy Caprice's accountant "Numbers" in the 1990 Warren Beatty film Dick Tracy.

Tolkan has also made guest appearances on many TV shows, including Naked City, Remington Steele, Miami Vice and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. A member of the repertory cast of A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2001-2002), he played more than a dozen varied roles in the A&E TV series and also directed two episodes ("Die Like a Dog" and "The Next Witness").



Year Film Role Notes
1960 Naked City (TV series) Evan Humboldt "The Man Who Bit a Diamond in Half"
1962 Armstrong Circle Theatre (TV series) Stefan Malwitz "The Man Who Refused to Die"
1966 The Three Sisters
1969 N.Y.P.D. (TV series) "The Night Watch"
Stiletto Edwards
1971 They Might Be Giants Mr. Brown
1973 The Friends of Eddie Coyle The Man's contact man
The Werewolf of Washington Dark Glasses
Serpico Lt. Steiger
1975 Love and Death Napoleon Bonaparte
1976 Independence Tom Paine
1979 The Amityville Horror Coroner
1981 Wolfen Baldy
Prince of the City District Attorney Polito
1982 Hanky Panky Conferee
Author! Author! Lt. Glass
1983 Wings (TV) Billy
WarGames FBI Agent Nigan
Nightmares Voice of the Bishop (segment) "Bishop of Battle"
1984 Iceman Maynard
The River Howard Simpson
1985 Turk 182! Hanley
Hill Street Blues Coach Beasley "Queen for a Day"
Back to the Future Mr. Strickland
Walls of Glass Turner
19851986 Mary (TV series) Lester Mintz
19851987 Remington Steele (TV series) Norman Keyes "Diced Steele"
"Forged Steele"
"Bonds of Steele"
"The Steele That Wouldn't Die"
1986 Off Beat Harry
Top Gun Cmdr. Tom "Stinger" Jordan
Armed and Dangerous Lou Brackman
Little Spies The Kennel Master
1987 Masters of the Universe Detective Lubic
Made in Heaven Mr. Bjornstead
Miami Vice Mason Mather "Amen ... Send Money"
1988 Weekend War (TV) Dr. Alex Thompson
Viper Col. William Tansey
Leap of Faith (TV) Dr. Siegel
Split Decisions Benny Pistone
1989 The Equalizer (TV series) Ruger "The Visitation"
The Case of the Hillside Stranglers (TV)
True Blood Det. Joseph Hanley
Second Sight Coolidge
Back to the Future Part II Mr. Strickland
Ministry of Vengeance Col. Freeman
Family Business Judge in 2nd Trial
1990 Opportunity Knocks Sal Nichols
Sunset Beat (TV series) Ray Parker "One Down, Four Up"
Back to the Future Part III Chief Marshal James Strickland
Dick Tracy Numbers
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Dr. Oates "Day Damn One"
1991 Hangfire Patch
Driving Me Crazy Vince
Tales from the Crypt (TV series) Sgt. McClaine "The Trap"
Problem Child 2 Mr. Thorn
1992 Tequila and Bonetti (TV series) "Fetch This, Pal"
Sketch Artist (TV) Lt. Tonelli
The Hat Squad (TV series) Mike Ragland "The Widow Marker"
Bloodfist IV: Die Trying Agent Sterling
1993 The Wonder Years (TV series) Coach Silva "Hulk Arnold"
Boiling Point Levitt
19931994 Cobra (TV series) Dallas Cassel
1994 Beyond Betrayal (TV) Joe Maloney
1995 Sketch Artist II: Hands That See (TV) Tonelli
1996 Top Gun: Fire at Will (video game) Commander Hondo
Nowhere Man (TV series) Commander Cyrus Quinn "Heart of Darkness"
Underworld Dan "Iceberg" Eagan
Robo Warriors Quon
Early Edition (TV series) Coach Phillips "Hoops"
1997 Love in Ambush (TV) Agent Price
The Pretender (TV series) FBI Special Agne Korkos "Dragon House"
1999 Wings: Thrill of Flight Host
20012002 A Nero Wolfe Mystery (TV series) Richard Wragg
Mr. Hackett
Bernard Quest
Mr. Joseph Pitcairn
Percy Ludlow
Avery Ballou
Loftus, Dog Expert
Leo Bingham
Adrian Dart
Benedict Aiken
Ben Jenson
Richard Wragg
Ed Graboff
"The Doorbell Rang"
"Champagne for One"
"Prisoner's Base"
"Disguise for Murder"
"Door to Death"
"Over My Dead Body"
"Death of a Doxy"
"Die Like a Dog"
"Poison à la Carte"
"Too Many Clients"
"Help Wanted, Male"
"The Silent Speaker"
"Cop Killer"
2004 Seven Times Lucky Dutch
2006 Heavens Fall Thomas Knight Sr.


Year Film Episode
2002 A Nero Wolfe Mystery (TV series) "The Next Witness"
"Die Like a Dog"


External links

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address