James Gammon

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For the engraver, see James Gammon (engraver).
James Gammon
Born (1940-04-20)April 20, 1940
Newman, Illinois, U.S.
Died July 16, 2010(2010-07-16) (aged 70)
Costa Mesa, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Liver cancer
Occupation Actor
Years active 1966–2009
Spouse(s) Nancy Jane Kapusta
(1972-2010; his death)

James Richard Gammon (April 20, 1940 – July 16, 2010)[1] was an American actor, known for playing grizzled "good ol' boy" types in numerous films and television series.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Gammon was born in Newman, the son of Doris Latimer (née Toppe), a farm girl,[2] and Donald Gammon, a musician.[3] After his parents divorced and he bounced around home to home, he made his way to Orlando, Florida. He worked at Orlando's ABC TV affiliate WLOF Channel 9 as a cameraman and director. In his 20s, he packed up and moved to Hollywood to try to find work.[2]

Acting career[edit]

His early television credits include appearing twice as Deputy Virgil Bramley in the NBC western series The Road West in the 1966–1967 season, which co-starred Barry Sullivan, Andrew Prine, and Glenn Corbett.

In the 1970s, he helped found the Met Theatre in Los Angeles. While performing there, a rep from The Public Theater saw him and had him cast as Weston in Sam Shepard's Curse of the Starving Class in 1978. The two became friends afterward.[2] He made his sole Broadway appearance as "Dodge" in a revival of Sam Shepard's Buried Child. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance.[4] He also appeared on stage in Shepard's San Francisco debut of The Late Henry Moss along with Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, Cheech Marin and Woody Harrelson in 2000.

Gammon may be best-remembered for his characters Lou Brown, manager of the Cleveland Indians in the Major League films, and Nick Bridges, the father of Don Johnson's title character in the television series Nash Bridges. He appeared in the films Cool Hand Luke (1967), Urban Cowboy (1980), Silverado (1985), Noon Wine (1985), The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), Major League (1989), The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993), Major League II (1994), Wyatt Earp (1994), Wild Bill (1995), Truman (1995), Cold Mountain (2003), and more recently Appaloosa (2008). He also had an uncredited role in Natural Born Killers (1994).

Gammon portrayed a Korean War veteran on the hit ABC series Grey's Anatomy. He played Charles Goodnight in Streets of Laredo. In 2006, he played the stern grandfather, Sam, brother of notorious outlaw Butch Cassidy, in the film Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch Cassidy. Gammon also plays a supporting role in Appaloosa (2008).

Gammon provided the voices of the animated characters Marv Loach and Floyd Turbeaux in the 1999 Warner Bros. feature film The Iron Giant.[5]

Death[edit]

Gammon died of adrenal gland and liver cancer in Costa Mesa.[6]

Legacy[edit]

His friend, Sam Shepard, said this of Gammon: "This was a guy who could act circles around most other actors, and he never pretended to be other than a working kind of actor."[2] He would go on to say about the star-studded cast of The Late Henry Moss, "I mean, a bunch of notoriously famous guys, and every single one of them would come up to me, alone, and say, ‘Who’s that Jim Gammon guy? Where did he come from?’"[2] Shepard also would talk about why he cast Gammon, saying: "You’re probably aware of the notorious father figures in my plays, alcoholic Midwesterners who leave their families and get lost in the Southwestern desert. Jimmy had that familiarity about him with the way I grew up, the guys with the voice and the face and the whiskey. He definitely rang a bell with me."[2]

Personal life[edit]

His first marriage ended in divorce. He has a brother, Phillip, and a sister, Sandra (Glaudell). He was married to Nancy Jane Kapusta from 1972 until his death. He has two daughters, Allison Mann and Amy Gammon.[2][3]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1967 Cool Hand Luke Sleepy (uncredited) Supporting Role
1968 Journey to Shiloh Tellis Yeager
1969 The Thousand Plane Raid Major Varga
1970 A Man Called Horse Ed
Macho Callahan Cowboy
The Intruders Chaunce Dykstra television film
1972 Cry for Me, Billy Amos Supporting Role
1974 Macon County Line Elisha
1975 The Wild McCullochs 1st Police Officer
The Kansas City Massacre Garth television film
1976 Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw Leather Salesman Minor Role
The Pom Pom Girls Coach
1977 Black Oak Conspiracy Deputy
The Greatest Mr. Harry
1979 The Sacketts Wes Bigelow television film
1980 On the Nickel Peanut John Supporting Role
Urban Cowboy Steve Strange
Rage! Joe Dean television film
It's My Turn Connie Foxworth Uncredited
Any Which Way You Can Palomino Bartender Supporting Role
Below the Belt Luke
1981 The Big Black Pill Captain Jake Jacqualone television film
1982 The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez Sheriff Frank Fly
Deadly Encounter Frank Kitchens
1983 M.A.D.D.: Mothers Against Drunk Drivers Willard Kohler television film
Women of San Quentin Officer
1985 Noon Wine Sheriff
Vision Quest Kuch's Dad Supporting Role
Hell Town Lieutenant Raymond Tracy television film
Sylvester Steve Supporting Role
Silverado Dawson
The Long Hot Summer Billy Quick television film
Silver Bullet Arnie Westrum Supporting Role
1986 Hard Traveling Sgt. Slattery
1987 Stacking Clate Connaloe
Made in Heaven Steve Shea
Laguna Heat Grimes television film
Ironweed Reverend Chester Supporting Role
1988 The Milagro Beanfield War Horsethief Shorty
Lincoln Gen. Ulysses S. Grant television film
1989 Major League Lou Brown Supporting Role
Roe vs. Wade television film
1990 Revenge Texan Supporting Role
Coupe de Ville Dr. Sturgeon the Cadillac Surgeon
I Love You to Death Lt. Larry Schooner
1991 Conagher Smoke Parnell, Ladder Five Owner television film
Stranger at My Door Sheriff Bitterman
1992 Leaving Normal Walt Supporting Role
CrissCross Emmett
Criminal Behavior Roy Stubbs television film
1993 Running Cool Ironbutt Garrett Supporting Role
Painted Desert Al
Men Don't Tell Jack television film
The Adventures of Huck Finn Deputy Hines Supporting Role
1994 Cabin Boy Paps
Major League II Lou Brown
Hard Vice Bronski
Wyatt Earp Mr. Sutherland
Natural Born Killers Redneck's Buddy in the Diner
1995 Wild Bill California Joe
Truman Sam Rayburn television film
1996 Two Mothers for Zachary Chalmer
1997 Traveller Double D Supporting Role
The Apostle Uncredited
1998 The Man in the Iron Mask The Commandant Supporting Role
Point Blank Dad
Love from Ground Zero Hat
The Hi-Lo Country Hoover Young
Logan's War: Bound by Honor Ben television film
1999 You Know My Name Real Arkansas Tom
The Iron Giant Marv Loach/Floyd Turbeaux Voice
One Man's Hero Gen. Zachary Taylor Supporting Role
2000 The Cell Teddy Lee
2002 Life or Something Like It Pat Kerrigan
The Country Bears Big Al Voice
2003 Monte Walsh Fighting Joe Hooker/Albert Miller television film
Cold Mountain Esco Swanger Supporting Role
2004 Paradise Old cowboy television film
Silver City Sheriff Joe Skaggs Supporting Role
2005 Don't Come Knocking Old Ranch Hand
2006 Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch Cassidy Sam
The Far Side of Jericho The Preacher
Altered Sheriff Henderson
What I Did for Love Karl Ryder television film
2007 Jesse Stone: Sea Change Bob
The Final Season Jared Akers Supporting Role
2008 Appaloosa Earl May
2009 In the Electric Mist Ben Hebert

Television series[edit]

Year Title Role Episodes Notes
1966 The Wild Wild West Egan The Night of the Freebooters Episodic character
The Monroes Stennis Night of the Wolf
1966—1967 The Road West Deputy Virgil Bramley, Pete Fowler The Agreement (1967), The Gunfighter (1966)
1966—1973 Gunsmoke Arnie Jeffords, Dudley My Father, My Son (1966), Susan Was Evil (1973)
1967 Captain Nice Whatever Lola Wants
Bonanza Harry Jeffers The Man Without Land
The Invaders Hal The Spores
Batman Osiris The Unkindest Tut of All
Felony Squad Mickey Ordeal by Terror
The Virginian Cal Mason A Small Taste of Justice
1968—1969 Lancer Clint Meek, Wes Blind Man's Bluff (1969), Chase a Wild Horse (1968)
1970 The High Chaparral Lafe Only the Bad Come to Sonora (1970)
1971—1974 The F.B.I. Cauldwell, Ben McCarty Diamond Run (1974), Turnabout (1971)
1971—1976 Cannon Sheriff Ryder, Keely The Quasar Kill (1976), Country Blues (1971)
1973 Dusty's Trail Roy Horse of Another Color (1973)
1973—1975 The Waltons Zack Rosswell 8 Episodes (1973–1975) Recurring Character
1974 Kung Fu Jake The Nature of Evil (1974) Episodic character
1975 Barnaby Jones Andy Lucker The Final Burial (1974)
1976 Petrocelli Harry Blood Money (1976)
Most Wanted The Torch (1976)
1977—1978 Charlie's Angels Gates, Billy Angels in the Stretch (1978), Angels on Ice (1977)
1979 Lou Grant Samaritan (1979)
1984 The Master A Place to Call Home (1984)
Cagney & Lacey Brian Holgate Old Debts (1984)
1985 Murder, She Wrote Billy Don Baker Armed Response (1985)
1986 The Equalizer Michael Cub Out of the Past (1986)
1987 Crime Story Jack Claymore The Pinnacle; The Survivor (1987)
1989 Midnight Caller Pete Hanrahan Tarnished Shield (1989)
In the Heat of the Night Sheriff Ketch Monroe A Trip Upstate (1986)
1990—1991 Bagdad Cafe Rudy 15 Episodes (1990–1991) Recurring Character
1991 The Young Riders Elias Mills The Blood of Others (1991) Episodic Character
1992 The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles Teddy Roosevelt British East Africa, September 1909 (1992)
1992—1993 Homefront Coach Zelnick 8 Episodes (1992–1993) Recurring Character
1993—1994 L.A. Law Rev. Joseph Halliday, Thomas Quinn God is My Co-Counsel (1994), F.O.B. (1993) Episodic Character
1996—2001 Nash Bridges Nick Bridges 49 Episodes (1996–2001) Recurring Character
2003 Fillmore! Doc Hemlock Two Wheels, Full Throtle, No Brakes (2003) Voice
2004 LAX Bill Barkley The Longest Morning (2004) Episodic Character
Crossing Jordan Olin Price Justice Delayed (2004)
2007 Monk Oates Mr. Monk Visits a Farm (2007)
Grey's Anatomy Mr. Scofield Scars and Souvenirs (2007)

References[edit]

External links[edit]