James Hanlon

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James Hanlon
Born 1966 (age 50–51)
United States
Occupation Director, Producer, Actor

James Hanlon (born 1966) is a former New York City firefighter, an actor and director.[1] He executive produced and directed the CBS documentary film 9/11.[2][3]


Gédéon Naudet, James Hanlon, Susan Zirinsky and Jules Naudet posing with the Peabody Award for their film 9/11, May 2003

Hanlon was born in the South Bronx and grew up in New York City in a large Irish Catholic family. He attended the prestigious Mount St. Michaels Academy, where he was part of the nationally ranked Track team and lettered in track all four years. While attending college in New York, Hanlon attended an acting class with a friend. He soon start classes and eventually would graduate from the The Acting Studio and Chelsea Rep. He would go on to perform in 27 plays in New York and regionally. He worked with Tony Award-winning director Vivian Matalon and soon started guest starring for TV shows filming in New York City.

In between jobs Hanlon worked at The New York Daily News in the advertising department. He went on to work at The Daily News from 1986 to 1992.

In 1992, he joined the New York City Fire Department as a firefighter. His brother had bet him $500 he wouldn't pass the test. Hanlon attained a perfect score and was appointed soon after.

Hanlon was working in a busy division and wanted to show people what the life of a fireman was really like; it had never been done before.

In 2001, he convinced the commissioner to allow him to shoot a documentary about Tony Benetatos, a probationary, or "probie", firefighter. During filming, the September 11 attacks occurred and the documentary became the film 9/11 which he is the executive producer and director and cinematographer of the 9/11 documentary which aired on CBS.[2]

Hanlon retired a decorated FDNY firefighter and moved to California . He quickly applied and attended the directing program at UCLA

He is an American television director of shows: NCIS Los Angeles, NCIS and numerous CBS episodic dramas. Hanlon has won the Emmy Award, The Peabody Award and The Edward R Murrow Award.

In 2016 for the 15th anniversary of his award winning 9/11 documentary series, Hanlon went back to New York and executive produced, directed and was the cinematographer for the updated airing of CNN's 9/11: Fifteen Years Later.

He has appeared as an actor in episodes of NYPD Blue, Sex and the City, Criminal Minds and Law and Order amongst other roles.[4][5]


  1. ^ New York Times
  2. ^ a b "Charlie Rose". charlierose.com. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Huff, Richard (2011-09-01). "Former FDNY member James Hanlon recalls steps that brought him to '9/11: Ten Years Later' doc". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  4. ^ New York Times
  5. ^ "James Hanlon". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 18 April 2015. 

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