J. T. Walsh
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J. T. Walsh
Still of J.T. Walsh as Warren "Red" Barr in Breakdown (1997)
James Thomas Patrick Walsh
September 28, 1943
|Died||February 27, 1998 (aged 54)|
La Mesa, California, U.S.
(m. 1972; div. 1982)
James Thomas Patrick Walsh (September 28, 1943 – February 27, 1998) was an American actor. He appeared in many films, notably Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), A Few Good Men (1992), Hoffa (1992), Nixon (1995), Sling Blade (1996), Breakdown (1997) and Pleasantville (1998). According to Leonard Maltin, he was known for portraying "quietly sinister white-collar sleazeballs" in numerous films, and was described as "everybody's favorite scumbag" by Playboy magazine.
From 1948-62, the family lived in West Germany, before moving back to the United States. After studying at Clongowes Wood College (a Jesuit school in Ireland) from 1955–61, he attended the University of Tübingen (Walsh spoke fluent German), and then the University of Rhode Island, where he starred in many college theater productions. In 1974, he was discovered by a theatre director and began working in off-Broadway shows. After college, Walsh worked briefly as a VISTA volunteer in Newport, Rhode Island organizing tenants for the United Tenant Organizations of Rhode Island (UTO) before resigning to pursue his acting career.
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Walsh did not appear in films until 1983, when he had a minor role in Eddie Macon's Run. Over the next 15 years, he appeared in over 50 feature films, increasingly taking the bad guy role for which he is well known, such as Sergeant Major Dickerson in Good Morning, Vietnam. On television, he again portrayed an evil character, prison warden Brodeur on The X-Files in 1995 in the episode "The List".
Walsh wanted to show his range as an actor and play good guys, despite being typecast as a villain. He played relatively decent characters in Outbreak and Sniper, and also played the rather sympathetic Marine Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Markinson in A Few Good Men. He played a member of Majestic 12 in the 1996 sci-fi drama series Dark Skies. The 1997 thriller Breakdown featured Walsh as the villainous truck driver. It was his last starring film released during his lifetime. In his final year of life, Walsh starred in Hidden Agenda, Pleasantville, and The Negotiator. All three films were dedicated to his memory.
In his tribute to Walsh in Time Out New York, Andrew Johnston (critic) wrote: "Walsh is invariably referred to as a character actor who specialized in villains, but that description doesn't quite do justice to what he did. The typical Walsh character was a plot device, really, serving either as a moral counterpoint to the star of the show or as an Iagolike figure egging on the hero in a way likely to lead to the protagonists's downfall. These characters were often self-important authority figures 'defending' the American establishment from the individualism represented by the movies' heroes ... or crooks who thrived by exploiting the hypocrisy of the system. Walsh didn't just make a career of playing bad guys--his performances offered a sort of running commentary on the power structure of American society."
Walsh died of a heart attack on February 27, 1998, after feeling ill and collapsing at the Optimum Health Institute. He was 54 years old. Jack Nicholson dedicated his Academy Award for As Good as It Gets to Walsh's memory. The two had acted together in two films, A Few Good Men and Hoffa.
|1983||Eddie Macon's Run||Man in Bar|
|1985||Hard Choices||Deputy Anderson|
|1985||Right to Kill?||Maj. Eckwo|
|1985||The Beniker Gang||Principal Stoddard|
|1986||Hannah and Her Sisters||Ed Smythe|
|1987||House of Games||The Businessman / "Cop"|
|1987||Good Morning, Vietnam||Sgt. Major Dickerson|
|1988||Things Change||Hotel Manager|
|1988||Tequila Sunrise||DEA Agent Hal Maguire|
|1989||The Big Picture||Allen Habel|
|1990||Why Me?||Francis Mahoney|
|1990||Crazy People||Mr. Drucker|
|1990||Narrow Margin||Michael Tarlow|
|1990||Misery||State Trooper Sherman Douglas||Uncredited|
|1990||The Russia House||Colonel Jackson Quinn|
|1991||Iron Maze||Jack Ruhle|
|1991||Backdraft||Alderman Marty Swayzak|
|1991||True Identity||Agent Houston|
|1992||A Few Good Men||Lt. Col. Matthew Markinson|
|1992||The Prom||Grover Dean|
|1993||Sniper||Chester Van Damme|
|1993||Loaded Weapon 1||Desk Clerk|
|1993||Red Rock West||Wayne Brown|
|1993||Needful Things||Danforth "Buster" Keeton III||Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1993||Morning Glory||Sheriff Reese Goodloe|
|1993||One Little Indian||Marshall Robinson|
|1994||The Last Seduction||Frank Griffith|
|1994||Blue Chips||Happy Kuykendall|
|1994||The Client||Jason McThune|
|1994||Silent Fall||Sheriff Mitch Rivers|
|1994||Miracle on 34th Street||Ed Collins|
|1995||Outbreak||White House Chief of Staff||Uncredited|
|1995||Black Day Blue Night||Lt. John Quinn|
|1995||The Babysitter||Harry Tucker|
|1995||The Low Life||Mike Sr|
|1995||Charlie's Ghost Story||Darryl|
|1995||Nixon||John Ehrlichman||Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|1995||Sacred Cargo||Father Stanislav|
|1996||Executive Decision||Senator Jason Mavros|
|1996||The Little Death||Ted Hannon|
|1996||Sling Blade||Charles Bushman||Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|1996||Persons Unknown||Lt. Cake||Gang in Blue 1996|
|1997||Breakdown||Warren "Red" Barr||Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1998||The Negotiator||Inspector Terence Niebaum||Posthumous release|
|1998||Pleasantville||Big Bob||Posthumous release|
|1998||Hidden Agenda||Jonathan Zanuck||Posthumous release|
|1989||L.A. Law||Pete Bostik||Episode: "Consumed Innocent"|
|1995||The X Files||Warden Brodeur||Episode: "The List"|
|1996–1997||Dark Skies||Frank Bach|
- Obituary: J.T. Walsh; Actor Excelled in Malevolent Roles, latimes.com; accessed April 7, 2016.
- The J.T. Walsh Supersite; accessed February 24, 2015.
- Johnston, Andrew (March 19, 1998). "American psycho". Time Out New York.
- "Oh, that guy" Archived 2008-05-13 at the Wayback Machine Salon.com; accessed February 24, 2015.