J. T. Walsh
|J. T. Walsh|
|Born||James Thomas Patrick Walsh
September 28, 1943
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Died||February 27, 1998
San Diego, California, United States
Cause of death
James Thomas Patrick "J.T." Walsh (September 28, 1943 – February 27, 1998) was an American character actor. He appeared in many well-known films, including Nixon, Hoffa, A Few Good Men, Backdraft, Miracle on 34th Street, Outbreak, Breakdown, Pleasantville, The Negotiator, and Good Morning, Vietnam. Walsh was known for his roles as "quietly sinister white-collar sleazeballs" (quote from Leonard Maltin) in numerous feature films, and was described as "everybody's favorite scumbag" by Playboy magazine.
Walsh was born in San Francisco, California. He had three siblings, Christopher, Patricia and Mary. From 1948 to 1962, the family lived in West Germany, before moving back to the United States. After studying at Clongowes Wood College in Ireland from 1955-1961, Walsh attended the University of Tübingen in Tübingen, Germany and then the University of Rhode Island, where he starred in many college theater productions. In 1974, he was discovered by a director and began working in off-Broadway shows.
Walsh did not appear in feature films until 1983, when he had a minor role in Eddie Macon's Run. Over the next 15 years, he played in over 50 feature films, increasingly taking the bad guy role for which he is well known, such as the loudly irascible Sergeant Major Dickerson in Good Morning, Vietnam.
On television, Walsh again portrayed a consummately evil character, prison Warden Brodeur on The X Files episode, "The List" (1995). Brodeur beats a hand-cuffed inmate to death because the inmate informs Brodeur that he will be next on the list of people a former inmate has threatened to kill.
Walsh wanted to show his range as an actor and play good guy parts despite being typecast as a villain. Although he did get to play a few decent people such as the White House Chief of Staff in Outbreak and Chester Van Damme in Sniper, even those films had Walsh portray a character with an amoral streak. Walsh played a member of Majestic 12 in the 1996-1997 sci-fi/drama television series Dark Skies.
Death and Legacy
In his last year, he starred in the 1998 films Hidden Agenda, Pleasantville, and The Negotiator. All three movies, plus Outside Ozona were dedicated to his memory after he died from a heart attack on Friday, February 27, 1998 at the age of 54. He died while a guest of the Optimum Health Institute in Lemon Grove, California.
|1985||Right to Kill?||Maj. Eckworth|
|1986||Hannah and Her Sisters||Ed Smythe|
|1987||Good Morning, Vietnam||Sgt. Major Dickerson|
|House of Games||The Businessman/"Cop"|
|1988||Tequila Sunrise||DEA Agent Hal Maguire|
|1989||The Big Picture||Allen Habel|
|1990||Crazy People||Mr. Drucker|
|Misery||State Trooper Sherman Douglas||Uncredited|
|The Russia House||Colonel Jackson Quinn|
|1991||Backdraft||Alderman Marty Swayzak|
|1992||A Few Good Men||Lt. Col. Matthew Markinson|
|Red Rock West||Wayne Brown|
|1993||Needful Things||Danforth 'Buster' Keeton III||Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|Sniper||Chester Van Damme|
|1994||The Last Seduction||Frank Griffith|
|Miracle on 34th Street||Ed Collins|
|The Client||Jason McThune|
|Silent Fall||Sheriff Mitch Rivers|
|1995||Nixon||John Ehrlichman||Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|Black Day Blue Night||Lt. John Quinn|
|The Babysitter||Harry Tucker|
|Outbreak||White House Chief of Staff||Uncredited|
|1996||Executive Decision||Senator Mavros|
|Persons Unknown||Lt. Cake|
|Sling Blade||Charles Bushman||Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|1997||Breakdown||Warren 'Red' Barr||Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1998||The Negotiator||Inspector Terence Niebaum||This film is dedicated to Walsh, who died before the movie's release.|
|Pleasantville||Big Bob||This film is dedicated to Walsh, who died before the movie's release.|
|Hidden Agenda||Jonathan Zanuck||This film is dedicated to Walsh, who died before the movie's release.|
- J. T. Walsh at the Internet Movie Database
- J. T. Walsh at AllMovie
- Reflection on J. T. Walsh (PDF)
- "Oh, that guy" Salon.com profile of Walsh
- Bubblegun interview
- J. T. Walsh at Find a Grave
- The J.T. Walsh Supersite