Steve James (actor)

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Steve James
Born(1952-02-19)February 19, 1952
DiedDecember 18, 1993(1993-12-18) (aged 41)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
OccupationFilm, television actor
Years active1970–1993
Spouse(s)Christine Pan James (1992-1993; his death)[1]

Steve James (February 19, 1952 – December 18, 1993) was an American actor, stunt performer and martial artist. He starred mostly in action films such as the American Ninja series, The Delta Force (1986), The Exterminator (1980), and Enter the Game of Death (1978). James also portrayed Kung Fu Joe in the 1988 comedy/spoof film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, and its 1990 television pilot spinoff Hammer, Slammer, & Slade.

Life and career[edit]

James was born and raised in New York City. His father was trumpet player Hubie James, and his uncle was James Wall, who played Mr. Baxter on the children's television series Captain Kangaroo. His godfather was Joe Seneca who, among many roles, played Danny Glover's character's father in Silverado. Joe Seneca was instrumental in Steve becoming interested in action films as he took him to movies on 42nd Street when he was a child. He graduated from Power Memorial Academy in 1970, then attended C.W. Post College as an Arts and Film major. Upon graduating, he became involved in stage work and TV commercials. James started his film career off as a stunt performer for such New York based film productions as The Wiz, The Warriors, and The Wanderers.

His last roles were in the feature film Bloodfist V: Human Target with Don "The Dragon" Wilson and the pilot for the TV series M.A.N.T.I.S.. The pilot first aired on Fox just a few weeks after his death. He was also scheduled to star as Jax Briggs in 1995's Mortal Kombat until his death.


On December 18, 1993, James died of pancreatic cancer[2] in his home in Burbank, California at age 41.

Eulogies at Steve's funeral service were delivered by Sidney Poitier (as his widow, Chris, was employed by Mr. Poitier), his father Hubie James, his friend John A. Gallagher and Christine Pan James. His urn resides on the mantle of his home in Burbank, California.[3]



Year Title Role Notes
1974 The Education of Sonny Carson Uncredited
1975 The Land That Time Forgot First Sto-Lu (chases Susan Penhaligon into a pool of quicksand, sinks to his death)
1978 Enter the Game of Death Black Martial Artist (as Samuel Walls)
Enter Three Dragons Sammy (as Samuel Walls)
1979 The Warriors Baseball Fury
Golden Dragon, Silver Snake Black Martial Artist (as Samuel Walls)
1980 The Exterminator Michael Jefferson
He Knows You're Alone Young Man
Times Square Dude (as Steve W. James)
The Mouse and the Woman Union Man
1981 Arthur Man Outside Tie Store Uncredited
1982 Muggable Mary, Street Cop Park Slasher-Rapist
The Soldier Soldier's Force member #2
1983 Vigilante (a.k.a. Street Gang) Ptl. Gibbons (as Steve W. James)
1984 Fatal Vision US Marshal
The Brother from Another Planet Odell
1985 Mask Hospital Intern
Weird Science Guy at Table Uncredited
American Ninja Curtis Jackson
To Live and Die in L.A. Jeff Rice
1986 The Delta Force Bobby
Behind Enemy Lines (a.k.a. P.O.W. the Escape) Johnston
C.A.T. Squad Bud Raines
Avenging Force Larry Richards
1987 Hollywood Shuffle Hood #3 (as Steve W. James)
American Ninja 2: The Confrontation Curtis Jackson
1988 Johnny Be Good Coach Sanders
C.A.T. Squad: Python Wolf Bud Raines
Hero and the Terror Robinson
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka Kung Fu Joe
1989 American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt Curtis Jackson
Riverbend Major Samuel Quentin
1990 Mister Johnson Aliu
Street Hunter Logan Blade
Hammer, Slammer, & Slade Kung Fu Joe
1991 McBain Eastland
1993 Weekend at Bernie's II Henry
1994 Bloodfist V: Human Target Marcus / Drew Washington
M.A.N.T.I.S. Antoine Pike (final film role)


Year Title Episode Role Notes
1984 T.J. Hooker "Night Vigil" Coach Cassius Isley
All My Children Guard Pinkston
The Dukes Of Hazzard "Danger on the Hazzard Express" Carney
1985 Arthur Hailey's Hotel "Love and Honor" Kaz
The Atlanta Child Murders (mini-series) Policeman #1
1986 Moonlighting "Symphony in Knocked Flat" Mohammed "Boogaloo" Brown
1993 Raven "Checkmate" Paul Dodson
1994 M.A.N.T.I.S. Antoine Pike (final film role)


Year Title Notes
1974 The Education of Sonny Carson
1978 The Wiz
1978 Oliver's Story
1979 The Wanderers
1980 Dressed to Kill
He Knows You're Alone
The Exterminator
1981 Fort Apache the Bronx
1982 Fighting Back
Hanky Panky
1984 The Brother from Another Planet



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-12. Retrieved 2012-04-24.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), biography
  3. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2011-10-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]