Lennie James

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Lennie James
LennieJames2015.jpg
Born (1965-10-11) 11 October 1965 (age 49)
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Occupation Actor, screenwriter, playwright
Years active 1988–present
Partner(s) Giselle Glasman
Children 4

Lennie James (born 11 October 1965)[1] is an English actor, screenwriter, and playwright.

James has appeared in many films, including Les Misérables, Snatch and Colombiana (2011). Among James' more notable roles in television is Mr. Glen Boyle on the current medical drama Critical on Sky 1. On American television, he portrayed the mysterious Robert Hawkins in the CBS series Jericho and Detective Joe Geddes in the AMC television series Low Winter Sun. James has received praise for his recurring appearances as Morgan Jones in the popular AMC series The Walking Dead.

Early life[edit]

James was born in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire.[2] His Afro-Trinidadian parents originate from Trinidad & Tobago. He lived in South London and attended school at Ernest Bevin College.[3]

James' mother, Phyllis Mary James, died when he was 10, after which he and his brother, Kester James, chose to live in a children's home instead of being sent to the United States to reside with a relative. Lennie remained in foster care for eight years.[4]

He aspired to be a professional rugby player as a teen, and was introduced to acting after following a girl he was interested in to an audition for a play. James attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1988.[5] While there he helped run a campaign against the school's plan to expel another student, which he has said is the bravest thing he's ever done. "That involved being taken in front of the head and threatening to boycott a big event for the Lord Mayor, even though the head said it would mean they would throw me out," James said in 2015.[6]

He was once employed by the British government's social security office.[1]

Career[edit]

James in February 2008.

James has appeared in more than 20 films, including Les Misérables (1998), Snatch (2000), 24 Hour Party People (2002), Sahara (2005), and Outlaw (2007). He starred in the 2010 film Tic and appeared in the action film Colombiana (2011) and the sci-fi film Lockout (2012).

On television, James appeared in the short-lived Channel 4 prison drama Buried (2003), the BBC terrorism drama The State Within (2006), the BBC spy drama Spooks (2002-2011), and he starred as Robert Hawkins in the CBS post-apocalyptic drama series Jericho (2006). James appeared in a Channel 4 television drama Fallout (2008), playing the role of a detective alongside another detective solving a teen-related murder. He also appeared in an episode of Lie to Me, as well as the AMC/ITV miniseries The Prisoner (which aired in November 2009). He appeared in HBO's comedy series Hung as a pimp.

James appeared in episodes of the 2010 TV series Human Target as the assassin Baptiste. In 2012, he received critical acclaim for his appearance as DCI Tony Gates in BBC Two's Line of Duty, created by Jed Mercurio.[5]

In 2010, he guest-starred as Morgan Jones in the pilot episode of the AMC series The Walking Dead, titled "Days Gone Bye".[7][8] In 2013, he reprised his role as Morgan Jones in an episode of the third season of The Walking Dead titled "Clear." On 12 October 2014, James made his return to the show in a post-credit scene at the end of the fifth season premiere and appeared again in a single scene at the end of the mid-season finale on 30 November 2014. He returned for the fifth season finale and played a significant role in the episode. Despite his few appearances on the show, James has received significant recognition for his portrayal of Morgan from critics and fans, including being stopped by a policeman who wanted to talk to him about the show.[5] He is set to return in the show's upcoming sixth season.

On 29 March 2015, James' character was featured throughout the fifth season finale. The actor's post-show appearance on the Talking Dead—in which he did not speak with an American accent—caused the hashtag #morganisbritish to trend on Twitter.[9]

James stars as Dr. Boyle on the medical drama Critical, also created by Mercurio, which debuted on Sky 1 in February 2015. He spent nearly a year away from his home in Los Angeles to film the series. Each episode takes place in "real time," with the medical staff having to save a life in an hour. James spent a week shadowing doctors at a London hospital to prepare for the role.[5]

James said his favorite television show of all time is the 1980s police drama Hill Street Blues, telling the Daily Express, "It’s the one that spawned every other show. It’s the Muhammad Ali or Pelé of television shows."[6]

James wrote the autobiographical TV film, Storm Damage in 2000, which was nominated for a British Academy Television Award for Best Drama Series. Storm Damage depicts a teacher who tries to go back to the foster home he left and help the teenagers there, as James did.[5] He also wrote the play The Sons of Charlie Paora, which opened at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2004 and was well-received.[1]

Personal life[edit]

James lives in Los Angeles with Giselle Glasman, his longtime partner. They have three daughters together: Romy (born 1990) and twins Celine and Georgia (born 1994). The twins are currently attending Ivy League universities.[6][10] He is the main cook for his family and has professed a fondness for Caribbean cuisine. He is a fan of Tottenham Hotspur.[11]

James is among the celebrities who have penned an open "letter to my younger self" for The Big Issue magazine. In his letter in March 2015, he wrote about the pain of losing his mother at a young age. "It hit me quite strongly. It had just been the three of us: my brother, my mum and me. Everything changed when the terrible thing happened. It had a profound, fundamental effect on me. One disappointment is that I never knew my mum as an adult," he wrote.[12]

James also works as a mentor to black inner-city kids, and says he rejects the importance people attach to fame and celebrity. "Boys and men in our community need to be aware of the guy who gets up every morning and goes to the job that he doesn't necessarily love, in order to support his family. They are the heroes my community need to celebrate,” he said.[5]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1993 Comics Delroy Smith Television film
1995 Fathers, Sons and Unholy Ghosts Martin Short film
1997 The Perfect Blue Danny
1998 Lost in Space Jeb Walker
1998 Les Misérables Enjolras
1998 Among Giants Shovel
1999 Elephant Juice Graham
1999 Shockers: Deja Vu Mark Television film
2000 Storm Damage Bonaface Television film
Writer
Nominated – BAFTA TV Award for Best Single Drama
2000 The Announcement Richard
2000 The Miracle Maker Tribune Voice
2000 Snatch Sol
2001 Lucky Break Rudy "Rud" Guscott
Hardy in Show
2001 The Martins Police Constable Alex
2002 24 Hour Party People Alan Erasmus
2003 Without You James Short film
2004 Stealing Lives Narrator Television film
2004 Frances Tuesday Trent
2005 Born with Two Mothers Errol Bridges Television film
2005 Sahara Brigadier General Zateb Kazim
2006 The Family Man Paul Jessop Television film
2007 Outlaw Cedric Munroe
2008 Fallout DS Joe Stephens Television film
2009 U.S. Attorney Eric King Television film
2010 Mob Rules C-Note Method Fest Award for Best Ensemble Cast
2010 The Next Three Days Lieutenant Nabulsi
2011 Colombiana Special Agent James Ross
2012 Lockout Harry Shaw
2014 Swelter Bishop
2014 Get on Up Joseph "Joe" James

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1988 Screenplay Writer
Episode: "Between the Craks"
1990 The Bill Writer
Episode: "Burnside Knew My Father"
1991 The Orchid House Baptist 3 episodes
1992 Civvies Cliff Morgan 6 episodes
1994 A Touch of Frost DC Carl Tanner Episode: "A Minority of One"
1994 Love Hurts Steve Episode: "Parent Trap"
1995–1996 Out of the Blue DC Bruce Hannaford 12 episodes
1998 Cold Feet Kris Bumstead 3 episodes
1998 Undercover Heart Matt Lomas 5 episodes
2003 Buried Lee Kingley 8 episodes
2004 Family Business Roy Tobelem Episode: "#1.1"
2005 ShakespeaRe-Told Oberon Episode: "A Midsummer Night's Dream"
2006–2008 Jericho Robert Hawkins 30 episodes
2006 Spooks David Newman Episode: "Agenda"
2006 The State Within Luke Gardner 4 episodes
2009 Lie to Me Terry "Tel" Marsh Episode: "Grievous Bodily Harm"
2009 Three Rivers Dr. Maguire Episode: "Alone Together"
2009 The Prisoner 147 6 episodes
2010 Human Target Baptiste 3 episodes
2010–2011 Hung Charlie 14 episodes
2010–present The Walking Dead Morgan Jones Season 1, 3 (Guest; 2 episodes)
Season 5 (Recurring; 3 episodes)
Season 6 (Main)
2012 Line of Duty DCI Tony Gates 5 episodes
2013 Low Winter Sun Joe Geddes 13 episodes
2013 Run Richard 2 episodes
2015 Critical Glen Boyle 13 episodes

Stage[edit]

Year Title Notes
2004 The Sons of Charlie Paora Writer

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2014 Destiny Lord Shaxx Voice[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Lennie James". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "Lennie James Biography". Film Reference. 
  3. ^ "Alumni". Ernest Bevin College. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Lennie James: Biography". Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Iqbal, Nosheen (23 February 2015). "Line of Duty's Lennie James: ‘I was 12 when I was first called the n-word – by a policeman’". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Packer, Amy (29 March 2015). "Critical actor Lennie James: 'I'm very good at styling girls' hair'". Daily Express. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Drew Pisarra (2008-07-24). "Four More Residents of The Village". AMC. 
  8. ^ "Lennie James as 147". AMC. 2009-11-16. 
  9. ^ "The Walking Dead Season 6: Morgan Will Return, Daryl Loves Carol, and More". US Magazine. 29 March 2015. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  10. ^ Romy Glasman-James, born 1990; Celine and Georgia Glasman-James, born 1994; England & Wales birth index; 1837-2006
  11. ^ Keckler (2008-02-18). "The Lennie James Interview". Television Without Pity. p. 10. 
  12. ^ Graham, Jane (3 March 2015). "The Terrible Thing Is that I Never Knew My Mum As An Adult". The Big Issue. Retrieved 30 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Destiny - End Credits - IGN Video. IGN Video. 2014-09-11. 4:30 (Voice and Motion Performers). Retrieved 2014-12-04. 

External links[edit]