James Jude Courtney

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James Jude Courtney
James Jude Herbkersman[1]

(1957-01-31) January 31, 1957 (age 63)
Portland, Ohio, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of South Carolina[2][3]
Stunt double
Stunt performer
Years active1987–present
Height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)[2]

James Jude Courtney (née Herbkersman;[1] born January 31, 1957) is an American actor, stunt double, and stunt performer. He is best known for playing serial killer Michael Myers in the 2018 film Halloween. He also played Der Kindestod in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Killed by Death".

Life and career[edit]

Courtney, born James Jude Herbkersman in Portland, Ohio, was raised in Columbia, South Carolina, as the eldest of seven brothers.[5] From an early age, Courtney was determined to become an actor and made short films from fifth grade through college. He majored in journalism at the University of South Carolina in 1981 and subsequently moved to California to pursue acting.[3] There, he started working at Universal Studios Hollywood as a tour guide before he was cast as Conan in the park's Conan the Barbarian live show. Courtney applied his martial arts skills to the role, which demanded high falls and sword fights; he sustained multiple injuries during performances.[6] At Universal Studios, Courtney met actor Brian Thompson and stunt coordinator Alex Daniels, who helped him to branch out as a stunt performer.[2] He also pursued acting studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and was coached by Stella Adler.[2][7]

Courtney made his film acting debut in The Freeway Maniac (1989) and continued acting through 2002. In 1997, he gained wider recognition in the role Der Kindestod in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Killed by Death".[8][9][10]

Courtney played Michael Myers in David Gordon Green's horror film Halloween, the 2018 sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 film of the same name.[2][11][12] Green explained to Courtney his vision for Myers' mannerisms, an amalgamation of the performance of Nick Castle, 1978 Myers actor, and the addition of a feline style of movement. Courtney tailored his portrayal to those specifications by observing the movement of his cat: "I think cats are the most perfect hunting machines on the planet. And the beauty of it is we don't judge a cat for what a cat does. So I sort of carried that movement and the non-judgmental approach to the way I moved as The Shape, which I learned from my cat Parcival."[2] Courtney used Carpenter and Castle's work on the original film to inform how the forty years that transpired between the events of the films would affect the character.[6][13][14][15] The December 2017 announcement of Castle's participation in the film was widely reported as his retaking the role of Myers,[16] with Courtney only doing additional work as the character. However, in a 2018 interview, Courtney stated that Castle's screentime was minimal and that the great majority of the work under the mask was done by Courtney, which led to the question of whether Castle's return had been misrepresented by the production.[17] Honoring his portrayal of Michael Myers, October 19, the film's United States opening day, was officially proclaimed James Jude Courtney Day in Warren County, Kentucky, by Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon.[18] In January 2019, Courtney was nominated for Best Actor at the 2019 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards alongside Castle for his work in Halloween.[19][20]

Courtney is set to return to the role for its two upcoming sequels, Halloween Kills and Halloween Ends, thus earning him the accolade of being the actor to portray Myers the most amount of times.[21][22]


Title Year TV or Film Role Notes
Tour of Duty 1987–1990 TV stunts
The Freeway Maniac 1989 Film Arthur Credited as James Courtney
Knots Landing 1989 TV Peter Christopher / R. Peter Christopher 3 episodes
We're Talking Serious Money 1991 Film Biker #2
[[CLOWN WRAPPING PAPER AKA KITCH ' 1992 TV Peter Byrne 1 episode
The Hit List 1993 Film Final Hitman
Danger Theatre 1993 TV Man in Bar 1 episode
Philadelphia Experiment II 1993 Film Vortex Technician
Firearm 1993 Short film Alec Swan a.k.a. Firearm
...And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him 1994 Film Carpenter
When a Man Loves a Woman 1994 Film Earl
Last Detour 1994 Film
Girl in the Cadillac 1995 Film Stunts
Access Denied 1996 Film Bill Robinson
Babylon 5 1994–1996 TV Narn #1 / Gyor 2 episodes; stunts
Executive Power 1997 Film Thug
The Killing Grounds 1997 Film Craig
The Nurse 1997 Film Mr. Roberts Stunt coordinator
Devil in the Flesh 1997 TV film Mr. Roberts
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1998 TV Der Kindestod 1 episode; stunts
Soccer Dog: The Movie 1999 Film Mafia Goon
Level 9 2000–2001 TV Stunts; stunt driver
The Gray in Between 2002 Film Huge Goon
Halloween 2018 Film Michael Myers / The Shape
Halloween Kills 2021 Film


  1. ^ a b "James Jude Herbkersman". MooseRoots. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Arzt, Matt. "[Interview] Meet James Jude Courtney, Your New Michael Myers in 'Halloween' 2018". Halloween Daily News. Archived from the original on March 28, 2018. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Ablon, Matthew (November 1, 2018). "USC alum is the man behind the Michael Myers mask". Fox Carolina. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  4. ^ Swietek, Wes (October 4, 2018). "'Halloween' homecoming: New Michael Myers will be here on film's opening weekend". Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  5. ^ Friedman, Rebekah (November 6, 2018). "A killer career". SC.edu. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Squires, John (June 8, 2018). "[Set Visit] 'Halloween' Star James Jude Courtney on Why You Should Be Terrified of His Michael Myers". Bloody Disgusting. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  7. ^ Abrams, Simon (October 11, 2018). "Michael Myers, Unmasked". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  8. ^ Tracy, Kathleen (2014). The Girl's Got Bite: The Original Unauthorized Guide to Buffy's World – 30. "Killed by Death". St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-31298-886-9.
  9. ^ Jones, Steven (2000). The Essential Monster Movie Guide: A Century of Creature Features on Film, TV, and Video. Billboard Books. p. 67. ISBN 978-0823079360.
  10. ^ Clarke, F. S. (2000). Cinefantastique, Vol 31-32. p. 31.
  11. ^ Dressler, Jacob. "Original Shape Actor Playing Michael Myers In Upcoming Halloween Movie". ScreenGeek.net. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  12. ^ Keene, Allison (December 20, 2017). "The 'Halloween' Reboot Will Bring Back the Original Michael Myers Actor". Collider. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  13. ^ Evanson, Landon (September 24, 2018). "Big Game James: A 'Halloween' Interview With James Jude Courtney". Horror Geek Life. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  14. ^ DiLauro, Rob (November 6, 2018). "Exclusive Interview: James Jude Courtney Talks Halloween And Playing Michael Myers". We Got This Covered. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  15. ^ Golianopoulos, Thomas (October 22, 2018). "Michael Myers Is a Terrifying Acting Challenge, Too". The New York Times. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  16. ^ Verhoeven, Beatrice (December 20, 2017). "Original Michael Myers Actor to Return to 'Halloween' Franchise". TheWrap. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  17. ^ Millican, Joshua (March 28, 2018). "Nick Castle is NOT Michael Myers in Blumhouse's "Halloween"? Cameo Only". Horror Freak News. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  18. ^ Medina, Ana (October 19, 2018). "Michael Myers actor speaks on preparing for Halloween role". WBKO. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  19. ^ Orange, B. Alan (January 22, 2019). "Fangoria Resurrects the Chainsaw Awards Celebrating the Horror Movies Oscar Missed". MovieWeb. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  20. ^ Rife, Katie (January 22, 2019). "Screw the Oscars, let's see who got nominated for a Fangoria Chainsaw Award". The A.V. Club. Retrieved February 4, 2019.
  21. ^ Sprague, Mike (July 26, 2019). "NICK CASTLE RETURNING FOR HALLOWEEN KILLS & HALLOWEEN ENDS!". JoBlo.com. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  22. ^ Morse, Chris (September 11, 2019). "James Jude Courtney Teases Return as Michael Myers in Upcoming Halloween Sequels". DeadEntertainment.com. Retrieved September 18, 2019.

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