James Pickens Jr.

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James Pickens Jr.
Pickens in 2007
Born (1954-10-26) October 26, 1954 (age 68)
Gina Taylor
(m. 1984)

James Pickens Jr. (born October 26, 1954) is an American actor. He is best known for his starring role as Dr. Richard Webber on the ABC medical drama television series Grey's Anatomy, and for his supporting role as Deputy Director Alvin Kersh on later seasons of the Fox Network science fiction series The X-Files, and Chuck Mitchell on Roseanne (1990-1996;2018), and The Conners (2018–Present).

Early life and education[edit]

Pickens was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He began acting while a student at Bowling Green State University. His first acting role was in a campus production of Matters of Choice by Chuck Gordone.[1] Pickens earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from BGSU in 1976.[1]


Pickens started his professional acting career at the Roundabout Theatre in New York City playing Walter Lee in A Raisin in the Sun.[1] In 1981, Pickens performed in the Negro Ensemble Company's production of A Soldier's Play, starring alongside Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson.[1]

In 1986, Pickens began his TV career playing Zack Edwards on the soap opera Another World from 1986 to 1990. He went on to have recurring roles on The X-Files as Deputy Director Kersh, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The West Wing, Roseanne, Beverly Hills, 90210, JAG, and Six Feet Under. He also served a role in 42. In 1997, Pickens played the role of Stevens, head of NASA, in Disney’s comedy Rocket Man.

In 2002, Pickens had a cameo appearance as the male zoo doctor in the film Red Dragon.

In the February 28, 2007, all-star benefit reading of "The Gift of Peace" at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, he portrayed a man whose life experiences lead him to volunteer in the peace movement, and played alongside actors Ed Asner, Barbara Bain, Amy Brenneman, George Coe, and Wendie Malick. The play was an open appeal and fundraiser for passage of U.S. House Resolution 808,[2] which sought to establish a Cabinet-level "Department of Peace" in the U.S. government, to be funded by a two-percent diversion of the Pentagon's annual budget.[3]

In 2005, Pickens was chosen to play Dr. Richard Webber on the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy. In 2018, Pickens has reprised his role as Chuckie Mitchell in two episodes of the tenth season revival of Roseanne.[4] In 2019, he was inducted into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Pickens married Gina Taylor, a former member of Musique, on May 27, 1984 and has two children. In his spare time Pickens can be found horseback riding and roping cattle. He is a member of the United States Team Roping Championship and competes in roping events across the country. He owns an American Quarter Horse named Smokey.

James's two children, Carl Pickens and Gavyn Pickens, are both pursuing careers in show business. His son Carl is working on a Hip-Hop career and can be seen in various television appearances, including Hangin' with Mr. Cooper where he appeared alongside his long-time friend Omar Gooding. His father James Pickens Sr. worked for the City of Cleveland.



Year Title Role Notes
1986 F/X Ambulance Driver
1987 Hotshot
1992 Trespass Police Officer Reese
1993 Boiling Point Prison Officer
1993 Menace II Society Man
1994 Hostile Intentions Capt. Connor
1994 Jimmy Hollywood Cook
1995 Dead Presidents Mr. Curtis
1995 Nixon Black Orator
1996 Power 98 Det. Wilkinson
1996 Sleepers Guard Marlboro
1996 Ghosts of Mississippi Medgar Evers
1997 Gridlock'd Supervisor
1997 RocketMan Ben Stevens
1998 Sphere O.S.S.A. Instructor
1998 Bulworth Uncle David
1998 How Stella Got Her Groove Back Walter Payne
1999 Liberty Heights Sylvia's Father
2000 Traffic Ben Williams
2002 Red Dragon Male Zoo Doctor Uncredited
2002 Home Room Principal Robbins
2003 White Rush Denny
2005 Venom Sheriff
2008 Ball Don't Lie Roberto
2010 Just Wright Lloyd Wright
2013 42 Mr. Brock


Year Title Role Notes
1986–1990 Another World Zack Edwards Unknown episodes
Roseanne Chuck Mitchell 21 episodes
1991–1992 Beverly Hills, 90210 Henry Thomas 10 episodes
1992 Blossom Vinnie Episode: "The Letter"
1992 Parker Lewis Can't Lose Fred Episode: "Hungry Heart"
1992 L.A. Law Joseph Russell Episode: "Zo Long"
1992 Doogie Howser, M.D. Bert Episode: "Roommate with a View"
1992 Exclusive Jonathan Heglin Television film
1993 NYPD Blue Nathan Episode: "Personal Foul"
1993 Murder, She Wrote Sonny Greene Episode: "The Survivor"
1994 Renegade Lieutenant Pete Calloway Episode: "Hostage"
1994 Coach Rick Williams Episode: "Blue Chip Blues"
1994 Me and the Boys Coach Episode: "Black Dads Can't Jump"
1994 Sodbusters Isaac Television film
1994 A Child's Cry for Help Brad Currie Television film
1994 Lily in Winter Chick Television film
1995 Trail by Fire Television film
1995 Sharon's Secret Ashmore Television film
1995 Touched by an Angel George Episode: "The Driver"
1996 In the House Russell Episode: "My Crazy Valentine"
1996 The Lazarus Man Episode: "The Conspirator"
1996 One West Waikiki Episode: "Allergic to Golf"
1996 Dangerous Minds Coach Butch Kelly Episode: "Moonstruck"
1996 Bloodhounds Agent John DeGraf Television film
1996–1997 Something So Right Jim 5 episodes
1997 Pacific Palisades Josh Smith Episode: "Past & Present Danger"
1997 Walker, Texas Ranger Staff Sergeant Luther Parrish Episode: "The Fighting McLains"
1997–1998 Brooklyn South Detective 4 episodes
1997–2000 The Practice Detective Mike McKrew 15 episodes
1998 The Pretender Clark Thomas Episode: "Crash"
1998 Seinfeld Detective Hudson Episode: "The Finale"
1998 Little Girl Fly Away Detective Walter Engelhart Television film
1998–2000 Any Day Now Judge Lucius Pearl 3 episodes
The X-Files FBI Assistant / Deputy Director Alvin Kersh 20 episodes
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
1999 Vengeance Unlimited Mr. Hobbs Episode: "Friends"
1999 JAG Commander Wallace Burke 2 episodes
1999 A Slight Case of Murder Det. Larry Gray Television film
2000 City of Angels Wilson Patterson 3 episodes
2000 Daddio Doug Grayson Episode: "The Premium Also Rises"
2000 The District Mr. Lane Episode: "The Real Terrorist"
2000 Family Law Episode: "Family Values"
2000 NYPD Blue Lt. Joe Abner 3 episodes
2001 Semper Fi Mr. Maddox Television film
2001–2002 Philly Clyde Coleman 7 episodes
2002 Strong Medicine Dr. Everett Sloane Episode: "Outcomes"
2002 Crossing Jordan Agent Hawkins Episode: "Bombs Away"
2002 MDs Mr. Farrell Episode: "Cruel and Unusual"
2002–2003 Six Feet Under Roderick Charles 2 episodes
2002–2003 Becker Cliff Bennett 2 episodes
2003 CSI: Miami Prison Warden Episode: "Body Count"
2003 The Lyon's Den Terrance Christianson 3 episodes
2004 Line of Fire Kenneth Stevens Episode: "The Senator"
2004 The West Wing Mayor Episode: "Full Disclosure"
2004 Jack & Bobby Marcus Ride Episode: "Pilot"
2005 Curb Your Enthusiasm Doctor 2 episodes
2005–present Grey's Anatomy Richard Webber 405 episodes
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Satellite Award for Best Cast – Television Series
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (2006–11)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2006, 2008)
2007–2009 Private Practice Richard Webber 2 episodes
2010 Seattle Grace: Message of Hope Richard Webber 6 episodes
2018 Grey's Anatomy: B-Team Richard Webber 1 episode
2018 Yellowstone Old Cowboy Episode: "The Unravelling, Pt. 2"
2018–2022 The Conners Chuck Mitchell 9 episodes
2020–present Station 19 Richard Webber 6 episodes
2022–2023 The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder Charles (voice) 2 episodes


  1. ^ a b c d "Actor, alum Pickens to address BGSU grads". Bowling Green State University. www.bgsu.edu. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "H.R.808 - Department of Peace and Nonviolence Act, 110th Congress (2007-2008)". 18 May 2007. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  3. ^ Martino, Stacey. "The Gift of Peace". Archived from the original on September 19, 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
  4. ^ Ausiello, Michael (November 17, 2017). "Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on Good Doctor, Roseanne, Chicago Fire, Supernatural, Walking Dead, The Flash and More". TVLine. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  5. ^ "Hall of Fame Inductees". National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum. Retrieved June 17, 2023.
  6. ^ "Listings - X-FILES, THE on FOX | TheFutonCritic.com". www.thefutoncritic.com. Retrieved January 20, 2018.

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