James Cromwell

James Cromwell
James Cromwell

James Cromwell in 2010
Born James Oliver Cromwell
January 27, 1940 (1940-01-27) (age 71)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other names Jamie Cromwell
Occupation Actor
Years active 1974–Present
Spouse Anne Ulvestad (1976-1986)
Julie Cobb (1986-2006)

James Oliver Cromwell (born January 27, 1940) is an American film and television actor. Some of his more notable roles are in Babe (1995), for which he earned Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Star Trek: First Contact (1996), L.A. Confidential (1997), The Green Mile (1999), The Sum of All Fears (2002), and in the television series Six Feet Under (2003–2005). 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 is the son of 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). Like his parents, he was drawn to the theater, performing in 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 Prairie. 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. However, Eliza, 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[citation needed]. 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 received 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 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] That same year he received the King Vidor Memorial Award from the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival for his artistic achievements in film. More recently, Cromwell played George Herbert Walker Bush in Oliver Stone's W. (2008), that chronicles the 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 progressive causes.[citation needed] 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 CNN.com, 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] In the book Money Men, author Jeffrey Birnbaum describes how John McCain went out of his way to meet Cromwell as he advocated on Capital Hill for funding of Native American arts education.[11] He served as the narrator of the short film Farm to Fridge, a documentary produced by Mercy for Animals.[12] In an October 2008 interview, he strongly attacked the Republican Party and the George W. Bush administration, saying their foreign policy would "either destroy us or the entire planet."[7]

Cromwell is known for his tall stature; at 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), he is the tallest actor nominated for an Academy Award. His son John is also tall, standing at 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m) [13]

He was married to Anne Ulvestad from 1976 to 1986. They had three children. He married his second wife, Julie Cobb, on 29 May 1986; that marriage ended in divorce in 2005.[14]



Year Title Role Notes
1976 Murder by Death Marcel
1978 Cheap Detective, TheThe Cheap Detective Schnell
1981 Nobody's Perfekt Dr. Carson
1983 Man with Two Brains, TheThe Man with Two Brains Realtor
1984 House of God, TheThe House of God Officer Quick
1984 Tank Deputy Euclid Baker
1984 Revenge of the Nerds Mr. Skolnick Credited as "Jamie Cromwell"
1984 Oh, God! You Devil Priest
1985 Explorers Mr. Müller
1986 Fine Mess, AA Fine Mess Detective Blist
1987 Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise Mr. Skolnick
1988 Rescue, TheThe Rescue Admiral Rothman
1989 Runnin' Kind, TheThe Runnin' Kind Unknown
1989 Pink Cadillac Motel Desk Clerk
1992 Babe, TheThe Babe Brother Mathias
1993 Romeo Is Bleeding Cage
1995 Babe Farmer Arthur Hoggett Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor
1995 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Hanok
1996 Eraser William Donohue
1996 People vs. Larry Flynt, TheThe People vs. Larry Flynt Charles Keating
1996 Star Trek: First Contact Dr. Zefram Cochrane
1997 Owd Bob Adam MacAdam
1997 L.A. Confidential Captain Dudley Smith Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1997 Education of Little Tree, TheThe Education of Little Tree Granpa
1998 Species II Senator Judson Ross
1998 Deep Impact Alan Rittenhouse
1998 Babe: Pig in the City Farmer Arthur Hoggett
1999 General's Daughter, TheThe General's Daughter Lt. Gen. Joseph Campbell Nominated — Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor - Suspense
1999 Bachelor, TheThe Bachelor Priest
1999 Green Mile, TheThe Green Mile Warden Hal Moores Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1999 RKO 281 William Randolph Hearst
1999 Snow Falling on Cedars Judge Fielding
2000 Space Cowboys Bob Gerson
2002 Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron The Colonel Western Heritage Award for Theatrical Motion Picture
2002 Sum of All Fears, TheThe Sum of All Fears President J. Robert Fowler
2002 Nazi, TheThe Nazi Franz
2003 Blackball Ray Speight
2003 Snow Walker, TheThe Snow Walker Walter Shepherd Nominated — DVD Exclusive Award for Best Supporting Actor (in a DVD Premiere Movie) (2006)
2004 I, Robot Dr. Alfred Lanning
2005 Longest Yard, TheThe Longest Yard Warden Hazen Nominated — Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Bad Guy
2006 Queen, TheThe Queen Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
2007 Dante's Inferno Virgil
2007 Becoming Jane Reverend Austen
2007 Spider-Man 3 Captain George Stacy
2008 Tortured Jack
2008 W. George H. W. Bush
2009 Lonely Place for Dying, AA Lonely Place for Dying Howard Simons
2009 Surrogates Dr. Lionel Canter
2010 Secretariat Ogden Phipps
2011 Artist, TheThe Artist Clifton
2012 Flying into Love Lyndon B. Johnson in production


Year Title Role Notes
1974 Rockford Files, TheThe Rockford Files Terry Episode 1.3: "The Countess"
1974 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
1975 Barbary Coast Roy Episode 1.4: "The Ballad of Redwing Jail"
1976 Stranded Jerry Holmes Television film
1976 Insight Norman Episode "Jesus B.C."
1976 Nancy Walker Show, TheThe Nancy Walker Show Glen
1976 Once an Eagle J. L. Cleghorne Miniseries
1977 Police Story Lutz Episode 4.20: "Ice Time"
1977 Girl in the Empty Grave, TheThe Girl in the Empty Grave Deputy Malcolm Rossiter Jr. Television film
1977 M*A*S*H Captain Leo Bardonaro Episode 6.3: "Last Laugh"
1977 Three's Company Detective Lannigan Episode 2.9: "Chrissy's Night Out"
1977 Deadly Game Deputy Malcolm Rossiter Jr. Television 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"
1979 Diff'rent Strokes Father O'Brien Episode 2.7: "Arnold's Hero"
1979, 1980 White Shadow, TheThe 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"
1980 Little House on the Prairie Harve Miller Episodes 7.1: "Laura Ingalls Wilder: Part 1" and 7.2: "Laura Ingalls Wilder: Part 2"
1980 Christmas Without Snow, AA Christmas Without Snow Reverend Lohman Television film
1981 Barefoot in the Park Harry Pepper Television film
1982 Rainmaker, TheThe Rainmaker Noah Curry Television film
1982 Nurse Paul Moore Episode 2.9: "A Place to Die"
1982 Wall, TheThe Wall Francisek Television film
1982 Born to the Wind Fish Belly
1982 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"
1984 Gimme a Break! Russell Cosgrove Episode 3.22: "Class of '84"
1984 Spraggue Lieutenant Hurley Television film
1984 Earthlings Simon Games Television film
1984–85 Dallas Gerald Kane Appeared in three episodes
1985 Night Court Alan Episode 2.14: "Nuts About Harry"
1985 Family Ties John Hancock Episode 3.15: "Philadelphia Story"
1985 Riptide Joey Dietz Episode 2.17: "Girls Night Out"
1985 Hardcastle and McCormick Jake Fellows Episode 2.20: "Undercover McCormick"
1985 Knight Rider Curtis Episode 3.18: "Ten Wheel Trouble"
1985 Wildside Fake Buffalo Bill Episode 1.5: "Buffalo Who?"
1985 Hill Street Blues Lowenhandler Episode 5.23: "Grin and Bear It"
1985 Hunter Seymour Robbins Episode 1.19: "Sniper"
1985 Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight Zone Obediah Payne Episode 1.6: "Examination Day/A Message from Charity"
1985–86 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"
1986 Magnum, P.I. French Policeman Episode 6.21: "Photo Play"; uncredited
1986 Last Precinct, TheThe Last Precinct Chief Bludhorn
1986 Dream West Major General David Hunter Miniseries
1987 Easy Street Quentin Standard Episode 1.13: "Frames and Dames"
1987 Alison's Demise Humboldt Hobson Television film
1988 China Beach Ambassador at Large Roland Weymouth Pilot
1988 Mr. Belvedere Roy Gallagher Episode 5.1: "Fat Cats"
1988 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"
1990 Miracle Landing B.J. Cocker Television film
1990 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 Young Riders, TheThe Young Riders Jacob Episode 2.14: "The Peacemakers"
1991 Jake and the Fatman Havilland Episode 4.19: "It Never Entered My Mind"
1991 In a Child's Name Unknown Television film
1992 Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation Mr. Skolnick Television film; credited as "Jamie Cromwell"
1994 Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love Mr. Skolnick Television film; credited as "Jamie Cromwell"
1994 Shaggy Dog, TheThe Shaggy Dog Charlie 'the Robber' Mulvihill Television film
1994 Home Improvement Fred Episode 4.9: "My Dinner with Wilson"
1995 Renegade Jeremy Sullivan Episode 3.15: "Stalker's Moon"
1995 Picket Fences The Bishop Episode 3.20: "Saint Zach"
1995 Indictment: The McMartin Trial Judge Pounders Television film
1995 Hawkeye Unknown Episode 1.17: "The Visit"
1995 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Hanok Episode 4.7: "Starship Down"
1995–96 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"
1996 Client, TheThe Client Officer Joe Denton Episode 1.17: "The High Ground"
1999 Slight Case of Murder, AA Slight Case of Murder John Edgerson Television film
1999 RKO 281 William Randolph Hearst Television film
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
2000 Fail Safe Gordon Knapp Television play
2001 ER Bishop Stewart Appeared in four episodes
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Drama Series
2001 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"
2001 Citizen Baines Senator Elliot Baines Appeared in all seven episodes
2002 Death in the Family, AA Death in the Family Joel Lynch Television film
2002 Magnificent Ambersons, TheThe Magnificent Ambersons Major Amberson Television film
2002 RFK President Lyndon B. Johnson
2003 Angels in America Henry Miniseries; chapters 1 and 4
2003–05 Six Feet Under George Sibley Appeared in 27 episodes
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor – Drama Series
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2005–06)
2004 West Wing, TheThe West Wing President D. Wire Newman Episode 5.10: "The Stormy Present"
2004 'Salem's Lot Father Donald Callahan Miniseries
2005 Pope John Paul II Cardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha
2006 Avenger Paul Devereaux Television film
2007 24 Phillip Bauer Appeared in eight episodes
2007 Masters of Science Fiction Randolph Ludwin Episode 1.6: "Watchbird"
2008 Hit Factor Orson Fierce Also producer
2008 My Own Worst Enemy Alistar Trumble Appeared in six episodes
2009 Strikeout Director Television film
2009 Impact Lloyd Miniseries
2009 Last Days of Lehman Brothers, TheThe Last Days of Lehman Brothers Hank Paulson Docu-drama



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