James Brolin

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James Brolin
James Brolin 2013 (cropped).jpg
Brolin at La Quinta, California
BornCraig Kenneth Bruderlin
(1940-07-18) July 18, 1940 (age 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
ResidenceMalibu, California
Other names
  • James M. Brolin
  • Craig J. Brolin
Alma materUniversity High School
OccupationActor, producer, director
Years active1961–present
Home townLos Angeles, California
Children3; including Josh Brolin
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James Brolin
James Brolin 2013 (cropped).jpg
Brolin at La Quinta, California
BornCraig Kenneth Bruderlin
(1940-07-18) July 18, 1940 (age 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
ResidenceMalibu, California
Other names
  • James M. Brolin
  • Craig J. Brolin
Alma materUniversity High School
OccupationActor, producer, director
Years active1961–present
Home townLos Angeles, California
Children3; including Josh Brolin

James Brolin (/ˈbrlɨn/; born July 18, 1940) is an American actor, producer and director, best known for his roles in film and television, including sitcoms and soap operas. He is the father of actor Josh Brolin and husband of singer/actress Barbra Streisand.

Early life[edit]

Brolin was born Craig Kenneth Bruderlin in Los Angeles, California. The eldest of two brothers and two sisters, he was the son of Helen Sue (née Mansur), a housewife, and Henry Hurst Bruderlin, a building contractor.[1][2] The family settled in Westwood after his birth. As a young child, he was apparently more interested in animals and airplanes than in acting. When Brolin was 10 in 1950, he began building and flying model airplanes. As a teenaged filmgoer in the mid-1950s he was particularly fascinated with actor James Dean. When his parents invited a director over to his family's house for dinner before auditioning, he met another fellow actor and classmate, Ryan O'Neal, who was about a year younger than Brolin. The two clicked and later enrolled in University High School located in West Los Angeles. However, Bruderlin's own acting exposed his stifling shyness. His assurance grew when O'Neal invited him to a casting agency. Brolin graduated from high school in 1958, and his family was already encouraging him to become an actor like O'Neal.


Early career[edit]

Prior to taking acting classes in school, Brolin started out as a character actor on an episode of Bus Stop in 1961. The part led to parts in other television productions such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Margie, Love, American Style, Twelve O'Clock High and The Long, Hot Summer. He made 3 guest appearances on the popular 1960s series Batman, alongside Adam West and Burt Ward, as well as roles in The Virginian, and Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law alongside Arthur Hill and Lee Majors. He also had a recurring role on the short-lived television series The Monroes.

At the age of 20 he changed his last name from "Bruderlin" to "Brolin" to become James Brolin. He accepted a contract with 20th Century Fox. While in school struggling to make it big, he met actor Clint Eastwood. Brolin also had small roles in several films including Take Her, She's Mine (1963), Dear Brigitte (1965), Von Ryan's Express (1965), Fantastic Voyage (1966). The following year, his first big role was in The Cape Town Affair (1967), but it did not receive any success at the box office. Brolin was ultimately fired by 20th Century Fox.

Film work[edit]

During the 1970s, the 6 ft 4 inch Brolin began appearing in leading roles in films, including Skyjacked (1972), and Westworld (1973). By the mid-1970s, he was a regular leading man in films, starring in Gable and Lombard (1976), The Car (1977), Capricorn One (1978, in which he costarred with Elliott Gould, Streisand's ex-husband), The Amityville Horror (1979), Night of the Juggler (1980), and High Risk (1981). When Roger Moore expressed his desire to leave the role of James Bond, Brolin screen tested for the role in the next film Octopussy (1983). Ultimately, however, Moore decided to continue in the series.

In 1985, Brolin parodied his near-hiring as James Bond in the film Pee-Wee's Big Adventure. In a film within the film, he merged the characters of Bond and Pee-Wee Herman, the "real" version of whom was played by Paul Reubens. He is referred to as "PW" and the role of Pee-Wee Herman's girlfriend "Dottie" is played by Morgan Fairchild.

Television roles[edit]

Brolin as Dr. Steven Kiley, 1969.

In 1968, Brolin transferred to Universal Studios, where he auditioned for a co-starring role opposite seasoned actor Robert Young in the popular medical drama Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969–1976). The series was one of the top-rated television shows of the day. Brolin became widely known for his portrayal of youthful, skilled assistant physician Dr. Steven Kiley. The chemistry between Young & Brolin clicked, and even came to attract young women for its medical interest throughout the show's run. In its first season in 1970, Brolin won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, and was subsequently nominated three more times. He was also nominated for Golden Globes three times for Best Supporting Actor, and won twice between 1971 and 1973. Brolin also starred in the television films Short Walk to Daylight (1972) and Trapped (1973).

In 1983, Brolin returned to television to star in another popular series. He teamed with producer Aaron Spelling's prime-time soap opera, Hotel, for ABC. On this show he played Peter McDermott, a hotel manager who tried to help everyone solve their problems while letting love come into his own life at the same time. Among those co-starring on the show was a new actress, Shari Belafonte (The daughter of singer Harry Belafonte), first as a reservations clerk and then Director of Guest Relations, Julie Gillette, a familiar actress, Connie Sellecca, as Brolin's executive assistant and later General Manager, Christine Francis, and Nathan Cook as Billy Griffin, an ex-con who later became Peter's best friend. They each had a wonderful chemistry with Brolin on the set. As with Marcus Welby, this show was a ratings winner. Brolin was nominated twice for Golden Globes between 1983 and 1984 for Best Performance By an Actor in a TV Series, but didn't win either time. He would eventually serve as a director on the show, as well. On one episode of Hotel, he invited his future wife Jan Smithers to guest-star on the show as the writers suggested that they develop a storyline for them, as Brolin was going through a difficult divorce at the time. By 1988, after 5 seasons, Hotel was about to close its doors for good and the show was cancelled. That same year, his co-star, Cook had died of an allergic reaction to penicillin, and Brolin along with the rest of his cast attended his funeral.

Sellecca said of Brolin's on-screen chemistry with her on Hotel, "I remember instantly feeling comfortable with Jim, and that's the thing that Jim has as to women, most women, they need to feel safe, and Jim gets that." She also said, "To have him in a different role and have that confidence, it was a wonderful experience." After the show's cancellation, Sellecca continues to be good friends with Brolin. In 1992, her mentor was in attendance at her wedding to John Tesh.

As the new decade approached, Brolin starred in both Angel Falls for CBS and Extreme for ABC, although neither matched the popularity of his earlier series.

In 1997, Brolin's luck changed with the syndicated television series Pensacola: Wings of Gold. He played the role of Lt. Col. Bill "Raven" Kelly, whose job was to teach young Marines in a special unit, before being promoted to work with a group of talented Marine fighter pilots. Brolin served as an executive producer and director on the series. In 2000, however, the show was cancelled after 66 episodes due to low ratings.

In 1997, he also hosted Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction, a television series that shows five stories which have to do with the paranormal and supernatural. Jonathan Frakes took his place after the first season of the show.

In 1997, Brolin guest-starred on Roseanne. In Part 1 ("Lanford's Elite"), Roseanne & Jackie go to a luncheon at the Lanford Country Club, where they meet the son of their old boss Edgar Wellman Jr. (Brolin) of the Wellman Plastics factory. It appears that the factory is in need of financial help and Roseanne's money could save the factory. In Part 2 ("Some Enchanted Merger"), once the Wellman Plastics buyout is completed, Roseanne is at a loss for what to do when a mutual attraction springs between herself and Wellman.

Recent work[edit]

Brolin has had a number of supporting roles in major cinema releases since 2000. These include (amongst others) the role of General Ralph Landry, outgoing director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Steven Soderbergh's Oscar-winning Traffic (2000); as Jack Barnes in Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can (2002); a minor role in the 2003 comedy A Guy Thing; as philandering husband Robert Hatch in the 2006 comedy The Alibi (released in the UK as Lies and Alibis); as Jack Jennings in the 2007 film The American Standards; as TV network anchor Frank Harris in Richard Shepard's The Hunting Party (2007); and as Brian in Joel Hopkins' 2008 film Last Chance Harvey with Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman.

In 2002, Brolin played Governor Robert Ritchie of Florida, the Republican opponent of President Jed Bartlet, on the TV series The West Wing.

In late 2003, Brolin portrayed Ronald Reagan in the television film The Reagans. The film was originally meant to air on CBS, but after creative differences, scripts controversies, and rising costs, CBS passed on the film, and it aired on cable channel Showtime, also owned by Viacom. The role earned Brolin his fifth Emmy Award nomination, as well as his fifth Golden Globe nomination.

In 2005, Brolin guest starred on the TV series Monk as casino owner Daniel Thorn. In 2006, Brolin appeared in the A&E Network film Wedding Wars, playing an anti-gay marriage governor. In 2008, Brolin guest starred on Law & Order: SVU as astronaut Col. Dick Finley. The same year, Brolin also starred in the lead role in the Sci-Fi Channel film Lost City Raiders.

Brolin appeared in the 2009 comedy film The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.

He also appeared in a 2009 episode of Psych, titled "High Noon-ish", in which he played the sheriff of a tourist-attracting "Wild West" town. The episode was in part a parody of the 1973 film Westworld, in which he had starred.

Brolin has played Richard Castle's mysterious father in two episode of ABC's Castle, in 2013 and 2014.[3] He appeared in the NBC sitcom Community as William Winger, Jeff Winger's estranged father.

Personal life[edit]

Brolin has been married three times and has three children.

In 1966, he married Jane Cameron Agee, an aspiring actress at Twentieth Century Fox, 12 days after they first met.[4] The couple had two children, Josh (b. 1968), and Jess (b. 1972). They were divorced in 1984, after 18 years of marriage. Jane died in a car accident on February 13, 1995, one day after son Josh's 27th birthday. Josh said on the October 14, 2008, episode of the Late Show with David Letterman that his parents met on the TV series Batman, where his mother was a casting executive. James Brolin is the grandfather of Trevor (b. 1988) and Eden (b. 1993), from his son Josh's first marriage.

In 1985, Brolin met actress Jan Smithers on the set of Hotel, and they married in 1986. The couple had a daughter, Molly Elizabeth (b. 1987). Jan Smithers filed for divorce from Brolin in 1995.

In 1996, Brolin met singer, actress, and director Barbra Streisand through a friend, and the two were married on July 1, 1998. The couple resides in Malibu, California. Brolin is the stepfather of Streisand's only son, Jason Gould.



1963Take Her, She's MineMelUncredited
1965Dear BrigitteStudentUncredited
1965Von Ryan's ExpressPrivate Ames
1966Fantastic VoyageTechnician
1967The Cape Town AffairSkip McCoy
1968The Boston StranglerDetective Sgt. Phil Lisi
1972SkyjackedSgt. Jerome K. Weber
1973WestworldJohn Blane
1976Gable and LombardClark Gable
1977The CarCaptain Wade Parent
1978Capricorn OneColonel Charles Brubaker
1978Steel CowboyClayton Ray Dennis
1979The Amityville HorrorGeorge Lutz
1980Night of the JugglerSean Boyd
1981High RiskStone
1985Pee-wee's Big AdventureHimselfCameo
1990Nightmare on the 13th FloorDr. Alan LanierTelevision movie
1991Ted & VenusMax Waters
1993Paper HeartsHenry
1994The Book of ActsSimon Peter
1994Parallel LivesNick Dimas
2000TrafficGeneral Ralph LandryScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2002Catch Me If You CanJack Barnes
2002The Master of DisguiseFebbrizio Disguisey
2003The ReagansRonald ReaganTelevision movie
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
2003A Guy ThingKen Cooper
2006The AlibiRobert Hatch
2007The American StandardsJack Jennings
2007The Hunting PartyFranklin Harris
2007Bad Girl IslandTerry Bamba
2008Last Chance HarveyBrian
2008Lost City RaidersJohn Kubiak
2009The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard.Ben Selleck
2010BurlesqueMr. Anderson
2010Standing OvationProducer
2011A Fonder HeartCraig
2011Love, Wedding, MarriageBradley
2013Christmas with TuckerBo McCrayTelevision movie
2014Elsa & FredMax Hayes
2015The NestFilming


1961Follow the SunTeenagerEpisode: "The Highest Wall"
1961Bus StopUnknownEpisode: "The Resurrection of Annie Ahearn"
1962MargieFreddie CoatesEpisode: "Madame President"
1965Valentine's DayUnknownEpisode: "Two Weeks with Pay"
1965Voyage to the Bottom of the SeaSpencerEpisode: "The Saboteur"
1965The Patty Duke ShowHankEpisode: "Patty Meets the Great Outdoors"
1966–1967The MonroesDalton Wales4 episodes
1966–1967BatmanVarious4 episodes
1969–1976Marcus Welby, M.D.Dr. Steven Kiley172 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1971, 1973)
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (1971–73)
1972Owen Marshall: Counselor at LawZack JamisonEpisode: "Shine a Light on Me"
1974Owen Marshall: Counselor at LawDr. Steven KileyEpisode: "I've Promised You a Father, Part 2"
1983–1988HotelPeter McDermott115 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama (1984–85)
1990The Earth Day SpecialDoctor
1995ExtremeReese Wheeler7 episodes
1997RoseanneEdgar Wellman, Jr.2 episodes
1997–2000Pensacola: Wings of GoldLt. Colonel Bill Kelly66 episodes
2002The West WingGovernor Robert Ritchie2 episodes
2005MonkDaniel ThornEpisode: "Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas"
2008Law & Order: SVUColonel Richard FinleyEpisode: "Lunacy"
2009PsychSheriff Hank MendelEpisode: "High Noon-ish"
2010BlackoutTerrance Danfield3 episodes
2013–2014CastleJackson Hunt2 episodes
2013CommunityWilliam WingerEpisode: "Cooperative Escapism in Familial Relations"


  1. ^ California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. At Ancestry.com
  2. ^ James Brolin (1940?-), filereference.com
  3. ^ http://tvline.com/2013/01/22/castle-season-5-scoop-james-brolin-castles-father/
  4. ^ Stephen Rebello (October 2010). "Playboy Interview: Josh Brolin". Playboy. 

External links[edit]