J. T. Walsh
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|J. T. Walsh|
|Born||James Thomas Patrick Walsh
September 28, 1943
San Francisco, California, U.S.
|Died||February 27, 1998
Lemon Grove, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart Attack|
James Thomas Patrick "J. T." Walsh (September 28, 1943 – February 27, 1998) was an American actor. He appeared in many well known films, including Nixon, Hoffa, A Few Good Men, Backdraft, Miracle on 34th Street, Outbreak, Sling Blade, Breakdown, Pleasantville, The Negotiator, and Good Morning, Vietnam. He was known for portraying "quietly sinister white-collar sleazeballs" (as stated by Leonard Maltin) in numerous 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 to 1961, Walsh attended the University of Tübingen in Tübingen, 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.
Walsh did not appear in films until 1975, 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 1995 X Files episode "The List". Brodeur beats a handcuffed inmate to death because the inmate informs him 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 guys, 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 him portray a character with an amoral streak. 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, which raised his profile to movie audiences. It was his last starring film released during his lifetime. In his final year of life, Walsh starred in the films Hidden Agenda, Pleasantville, and The Negotiator. All three films were dedicated to his memory.
Walsh died of a heart attack in Lemon Grove, California on February 27, 1998, aged 54. 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.
|1985||Right to Kill?||Maj. Eckworth|
|1986||Hannah and Her Sisters||Ed Smythe|
|1987||Good Morning, Vietnam||Sgt. Major Dickerson|
|1987||House of Games||The Businessman / "Cop"|
|1988||Tequila Sunrise||DEA Agent Hal Maguire|
|1989||The Big Picture||Allen Habel|
|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||True Identity||Agent Houston|
|1991||Backdraft||Alderman Marty Swayzak|
|1992||A Few Good Men||Lt. Col. Matthew Markinson|
|1992||Red Rock West||Wayne Brown|
|1993||Needful Things||Danforth "Buster" Keeton III||Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|1993||Sniper||Chester Van Damme|
|1994||The Last Seduction||Frank Griffith|
|1994||Miracle on 34th Street||Ed Collins|
|1994||The Client||Jason McThune|
|1994||Silent Fall||Sheriff Mitch Rivers|
|1995||Nixon||John Ehrlichman||Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|1995||Black Day Blue Night||Lt. John Quinn|
|1995||The Babysitter||Harry Tucker|
|1995||Outbreak||White House Chief of Staff||Uncredited|
|1996||Executive Decision||Senator Jason Mavros|
|1996||Persons Unknown||Lt. Cake|
|1996||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|
|1998||Hidden Agenda||Jonathan Zanuck|
|1995||The X Files||Warden Brodeur||Episode: "The List"|
|1996–1997||Dark Skies||Frank Bach|
- J. T. Walsh at the Internet Movie Database
- J. T. Walsh at AllMovie
- Reflection on J. T. Walsh
- Bubblegun interview
- J. T. Walsh at Find a Grave