James Cromwell

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James Cromwell
James Cromwell 2010.jpg
James Cromwell in 2010
BornJames Oliver Cromwell
(1940-01-27) January 27, 1940 (age 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
ResidenceStudio City, Los Angeles, California
Other namesJamie Cromwell
EducationMiddlebury College
Alma materCarnegie Mellon University
Years active1974 – present
Home townManhattan, New York
Spouse(s)Anne Ulvestad (1976–1986)
Julie Cobb (1986–2005)
Children3 (with Ulvestad)
ParentsKay Johnson,
John Cromwell
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For Doris Duke's first husband, see James H. R. Cromwell.
James Cromwell
James Cromwell 2010.jpg
James Cromwell in 2010
BornJames Oliver Cromwell
(1940-01-27) January 27, 1940 (age 74)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
ResidenceStudio City, Los Angeles, California
Other namesJamie Cromwell
EducationMiddlebury College
Alma materCarnegie Mellon University
Years active1974 – present
Home townManhattan, New York
Spouse(s)Anne Ulvestad (1976–1986)
Julie Cobb (1986–2005)
Children3 (with Ulvestad)
ParentsKay Johnson,
John Cromwell

James Oliver Cromwell (born January 27, 1940) is an American film and television actor. Some of his more notable films include Babe (1995), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), L.A. Confidential (1997), The Green Mile (1999), Space Cowboys (2000), The Sum of All Fears (2002), W. (2008), The Artist (2011), and the television series Six Feet Under (2003–2005), 24 (2007), and American Horror Story: Asylum (2012).

He has been nominated for an Oscar, four Emmy Awards, and four Screen Actors Guild Awards during his career. He won the 2013 Canadian Screen Award for Best Actor for his role in Still Mine and the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for his role in American Horror Story: Asylum.[1]

Early years[edit]

Cromwell was born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in Manhattan, New York. He is the son of actress Kay Johnson and actor, director, and producer John Cromwell, who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era.[2] He has English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry.[3] He was educated at The Hill School, Middlebury College and Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). Like his parents, he was drawn to the theater, performing in everything from Shakespeare to experimental plays.


Cromwell's first television performance was in a 1974 episode of The Rockford Files playing Terry,[4] a tennis instructor. A few weeks later,[5] he began a recurring role as Stretch Cunningham on All in the Family. In 1975, he took his first lead role on television as Bill Lewis in the short-lived Hot l Baltimore, and a year later he made his film debut in Neil Simon's classic detective spoof Murder by Death.

In 1980, Cromwell guest-starred in the two-part episode "Laura Ingalls Wilder" of the long-running television series Little House on the Prairie. He played Harve Miller, one of Almanzo Wilder's (Dean Butler) old friends.

While Cromwell continued with regular television work throughout the 1980s, he made appearances in films for his supporting roles in the films Tank and Revenge of the Nerds. He had starring roles in the 1990s critically acclaimed films Babe (1995), The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), L.A. Confidential (1997), The Green Mile, and Snow Falling on Cedars (both 1999). He also played Dr. Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) and the Star Trek: Enterprise pilot Broken Bow (the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly" later reused some of the First Contact footage).[6] He has also appeared in other Star Trek roles, on the television series The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, though not as Cochrane (his appearances on these shows predated his role in First Contact); he guest-starred in episodes including "The Hunted", "Birthright" (Part I and II) and "Starship Down".

Cromwell has had additional successes on television throughout his career. His role as newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst in the television film RKO 281 earned him an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Television Movie. The following year, he received his second Emmy Award nomination for playing Bishop Lionel Stewart on the NBC medical drama series ER. In 2004, he guest-starred as former President D. Wire Newman in the The West Wing episode "The Stormy Present". From 2003 to 2005, Cromwell played George Sibley in the HBO drama series Six Feet Under, which earned him his third Emmy Award nomination in 2003. Along with the rest of his castmates, he was also nominated for two Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2005 and 2006. The following year, Cromwell played Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in The Queen (2006), that earned Helen Mirren an Academy Award for Best Actress. He also guest starred as Phillip Bauer, father of lead character Jack, in the sixth season of the Fox thriller drama series 24.

In October 2007, Cromwell played the lead role of James Tyrone Sr. in the Druid Theatre Company's production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, at the Gaiety in Dublin as part of the Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival's 50th Anniversary.[7] That same year he received the King Vidor Memorial Award from the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival for his artistic achievements in film. More recently, Cromwell played George Herbert Walker Bush in Oliver Stone's W. (2008), that chronicles the rise to power of his son up until the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In an interview, Cromwell revealed that Stone had originally offered the role to Warren Beatty and Harrison Ford.[8]

Personal life[edit]

He has long been an advocate of progressive causes. In the late 1960s, he was a member of "The Committee to Defend The Panthers", a group organized to defend 13 members of the Black Panther Party who had been imprisoned in New York on charges of conspiracy. All thirteen were eventually released. In a 2004 interview with CNN.com, Cromwell praised the Panthers.[9] He became a vegetarian in 1974 after seeing a stockyard in Texas and experiencing the "smell, terror and anxiety."[10] He became an ethical vegan while playing the character of Farmer Hoggett in the movie Babe in 1995.[11] He frequently speaks out on issues regarding animal cruelty for PETA, largely the treatment of pigs.[12] In the book Money Men, author Jeffrey Birnbaum describes how John McCain went out of his way to meet Cromwell as he advocated on Capitol Hill for funding of Native American arts education.[13] He served as the narrator of the short film Farm to Fridge, a documentary produced by Mercy for Animals.[14] In an October 2008 interview, he strongly attacked the Republican Party and the George W. Bush administration, saying their foreign policy would "either destroy us or the entire planet."[8]

Cromwell is known for his tall stature; at 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m), he is the tallest actor nominated for an Academy Award. His son John is also tall, standing at 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m).[15] In the 2012 film Memorial Day John played the young Bud Vogel, while James played him as a grandfather,[16] and both Cromwells appear as the same character at different ages in season 2 of American Horror Story (2012), and season 1 of Betrayal (2013).

He was married to Ann Ulvestad from 1976 to 1986. They had three children. He married his second wife, actress Julie Cobb, on May 29, 1986. That marriage ended in divorce in 2005.[17]

In February 2013, Cromwell was arrested for interrupting a University of Wisconsin Board of Regents meeting while showing a graphic photo of a cat to protest alleged mistreatment of animals on campus.[18][19] The well-publicized incident, which garnered nationwide notice, was resolved March 25, 2013 when an attorney representing Cromwell entered no-contest pleas to the non-criminal offense and agreed to pay $100 forfeitures and court costs of $263.50.[20]



1976StrandedJerry HolmesTelevision movie
1976Once an EagleJ. L. CleghorneTelevision movie
1976Murder by DeathMarcel
1977Girl in the Empty Grave, TheThe Girl in the Empty GraveDeputy Malcolm Rossiter Jr.Television movie
1978Cheap Detective, TheThe Cheap DetectiveSchnell
1977Deadly GameDeputy Malcolm Rossiter Jr.Television movie
1980Christmas Without Snow, AA Christmas Without SnowReverend LohmanTelevision movie
1981Barefoot in the ParkHarry PepperTelevision movie
1981Nobody's PerfektDr. Carson
1982Rainmaker, TheThe RainmakerNoah CurryTelevision movie
1982Wall, TheThe WallFrancisekTelevision movie
1982Born to the WindFish Belly
1983Man with Two Brains, TheThe Man with Two BrainsRealtor
1984House of God, TheThe House of GodOfficer Quick
1984TankDeputy Euclid Baker
1984Revenge of the NerdsMr. SkolnickCredited as "Jamie Cromwell"
1984Oh, God! You DevilPriest
1984SpraggueLieutenant HurleyTelevision movie
1984EarthlingsSimon GamesTelevision movie
1985ExplorersMr. Müller
1986Fine Mess, AA Fine MessDetective Blist
1986Last Precinct, TheThe Last PrecinctChief Bludhorn
1986Dream WestMajor General David HunterTelevision movie
1987Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in ParadiseMr. Skolnick
1987Alison's DemiseHumboldt HobsonTelevision movie
1988Rescue, TheThe RescueAdmiral Rothman
1989Runnin' Kind, TheThe Runnin' KindUnknown
1989Pink CadillacMotel Desk Clerk
1990Miracle LandingB.J. CockerTelevision movie
1991In a Child's NameUnknownTelevision movie
1992Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next GenerationMr. SkolnickTelevision movie
1992Babe, TheThe BabeBrother Mathias
1993Romeo Is BleedingCage
1994Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in LoveMr. SkolnickTelevision movie
1994The Shaggy DogCharlie 'the Robber' MulvihillTelevision movie
1995Indictment: The McMartin TrialJudge PoundersTelevision movie
1995BabeFarmer Arthur Hoggett
1996EraserWilliam Donohue
1996People vs. Larry Flynt, TheThe People vs. Larry FlyntCharles Keating
1996Star Trek: First ContactDr. Zefram Cochrane
1997Owd BobAdam MacAdam
1997L.A. ConfidentialCaptain Dudley Smith
1997The Education of Little TreeGranpa
1998Species IISenator Judson Ross
1998Deep ImpactAlan Rittenhouse
1998Babe: Pig in the CityFarmer Arthur Hoggett
1999General's Daughter, TheThe General's DaughterLt. Gen. Joseph Campbell
1999Bachelor, TheThe BachelorPriest
1999Green Mile, TheThe Green MileWarden Hal Moores
1999Slight Case of Murder, AA Slight Case of MurderJohn EdgersonTelevision movie
1999RKO 281William Randolph HearstTelevision movie
1999Snow Falling on CedarsJudge Fielding
2000Space CowboysBob Gerson
2002Death in the Family, AA Death in the FamilyJoel LynchTelevision movie
2002The Magnificent AmbersonsMajor AmbersonTelevision movie
2002RFKPresident Lyndon B. Johnson
2002Spirit: Stallion of the CimarronThe Colonel
2002Sum of All Fears, TheThe Sum of All FearsPresident J. Robert Fowler
2002Nazi, TheThe NaziFranz
2003BlackballRay Speight
2003Snow Walker, TheThe Snow WalkerWalter Shepherd
2004I, RobotDr. Alfred Lanning
2004Salem's LotFather Donald CallahanTelevision movie
2005Longest Yard, TheThe Longest YardWarden Rudolph Hazen
2005Pope John Paul IICardinal Adam Stefan Sapieha
2006AvengerPaul DevereauxTelevision movie
2006Queen, TheThe QueenPrince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
2007Dante's InfernoVirgil
2007Becoming JaneReverend Austen
2007Spider-Man 3Captain George Stacy
2008Hit FactorOrson Fierce
2008W.George H. W. Bush
2009Lonely Place for Dying, AA Lonely Place for DyingHoward Simons
2009SurrogatesDr. Lionel Canter
2009StrikeoutDirectorTelevision movie
2009Last Days of Lehman Brothers, TheThe Last Days of Lehman BrothersHank PaulsonTelevision movie
2010SecretariatOgden Phipps
2011AdmissionsThe Clerk
2011Artist, TheThe ArtistClifton
2012Cowgirls n' AngelsTerence Parker
2012Memorial DayBud Vogel
2012Flying into LoveLyndon B. Johnson
2012Still MineCraig Morrison
2013The Trials of Cate McCallJustice Sumpter


1974Rockford Files, TheThe Rockford FilesTerryEpisode: "The Countess"
1974All in the FamilyStretch Cunningham3 episodes
1974MaudeAlfieEpisode: "Last Tango in Tuckahoe"
1975Hot l BaltimoreBill Lewis13 episodes
1975Barbary CoastRoyEpisode: "The Ballad of Redwing Jail"
1976–1977Nancy Walker Show, TheThe Nancy Walker ShowGlen13 episodes
1977Police StoryLutzEpisode: "Ice Time"
1977M*A*S*HCaptain Leo BardonaroEpisode: "Last Laugh"
1977Three's CompanyDetective LanniganEpisode: "Chrissy's Night Out"
1977Barney MillerSgt. WilkinsonEpisode: "Group Home"
1978MaudeDr. FarringtonEpisode: "The Obscene Phone Call"
1978AliceDetective Ralph HiltonEpisode: "Who Ordered the Hot Turkey?"
1979Barney MillerNeil SpencerEpisode: "Strip Joint"
1979Eight Is EnoughCoach PollardEpisode: "The Better Part of Valor"
1979Diff'rent StrokesFather O'BrienEpisode: "Arnold's Hero"
1979White Shadow, TheThe White ShadowMr. HamiltonEpisode: "Mainstream"
1980FloLeon2 episodes
1980White Shadow, TheThe White ShadowArt CummingsEpisode: "The Death of Me Yet"
1980Little House on the PrairieHarve Miller2 episodes
1981Barney MillerJason ParrishEpisode: "Liquidation"
1982NursePaul MooreEpisode: "A Place to Die"
1982Father MurphyFarley Webster2 episodes
1984Buffalo BillStaunton McMollerEpisode: "Jerry Lewis Week"
1984Gimme a Break!Russell CosgroveEpisode: "Class of '84"
1984–1985DallasGerald Kane3 episodes
1985Night CourtAlanEpisode: "Nuts About Hurry"
1985Family TiesJohn HancockEpisode: "Philadelphia Story"
1985RiptideJoey DietzEpisode: "Girls Night Out"
1985Hardcastle and McCormickJake FellowsEpisode: "Undercover McCormick"
1985Knight RiderCurtisEpisode: "Ten Wheel Trouble"
1985WildsideFake Buffalo BillEpisode: "Buffalo Who?"
1985Hill Street BluesLowenhandlerEpisode: "Grin and Bear It"
1985HunterSeymour RobbinsEpisode: "Sniper"
1985Twilight Zone, TheThe Twilight ZoneObediah PayneEpisode: "A Message From Charity"
1985–1986Scarecrow and Mrs. KingGregory2 episodes
1986Amazing StoriesFrancisEpisode: "One for the Road"
1986Magnum, P.I.French PolicemanEpisode: "Photo Play"
1986–1987Easy StreetQuentin Standard22 episodes
1988China BeachAmbassadorEpisode: "Pilot"
1988Mr. BelvedereRoy GallagherEpisode: "Fat Cats"
1988Mama's BoyLucky3 episodes
1989Christine CromwellArthurEpisode: "Things That Go Bump in the Night"
1990Life Goes OnBill HendersonEpisode: "Thacher and Henderson"
1990MatlockJudge Raymond PriceEpisode: "Nowhere to Turn"
1990Star Trek: The Next GenerationPrime Minister NayrokEpisode: "The Hunted"
1991Young Riders, TheThe Young RidersJacobEpisode: "Peacemakers"
1991Jake and the FatmanHavillandEpisode: "It Never Entered My Mind"
1993Star Trek: The Next GenerationJaglom Shrek2 episodes
1994Home ImprovementFredEpisode: "My Dinner with Wilson"
1995Picket FencesThe BishopEpisode: "Saint Zach"
1995HawkeyeUnknownEpisode: "The Visit"
1995Star Trek: Deep Space NineHanokEpisode: "Starship Down"
1995–1996PartnersMr. Saxonhouse2 episodes
1996Strange LuckMinisterEpisode: "Healing Hands"
1996The ClientOfficer Joe DentonEpisode: "The High Ground"
2001ERBishop Stewart4 episodes
2001Star Trek: EnterpriseDr. Zefram Cochrane2 episodes
2001Citizen BainesSenator Elliot Baines7 episodes
2003Angels in AmericaHenry2 episodes
2003–2005Six Feet UnderGeorge Sibley27 episodes
2004West Wing, TheThe West WingPresident D. Wire NewmanEpisode: "The Stormy Present"
200724Phillip Bauer (Jack's father)8 episodes
2007Masters of Science FictionRandolph LudwinEpisode: "Watchbird"
2008My Own Worst EnemyAlistar Trumble6 episodes
2009ImpactLloyd2 episodes
2010Sotto il Cielo di RomaPope Pius XII2 episodes
2012–2013Boardwalk EmpireAndrew W. Mellon4 episodes
2012–2013American Horror Story: AsylumDr. Arthur Arden10 episodes
2013Do No HarmDr. Phillip Carmelo3 episodes
2013–2014BetrayalThatcher Karsten13 episodes


2007Long Day's Journey into NightJames Tyrone, Sr.Druid Theatre
2012Waiting for GodotPozzoCenter Theatre Group

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAssociationCategoryNominated workResult
1996Academy AwardsBest Supporting ActorBabeNominated
1998Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureL.A. ConfidentialNominated
2000Blockbuster Entertainment AwardsFavorite Supporting Actor – SuspenseThe General's DaughterNominated
2000Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureThe Green MileNominated
2003Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieRKO 281Nominated
2001Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Drama SeriesERNominated
2003Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Guest Actor in a Drama SeriesSix Feet UnderNominated
2005Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesSix Feet UnderNominated
2006Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesSix Feet UnderNominated
2012Broadcast Film Critics Association AwardsBest CastThe ArtistNominated
2012Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion PictureThe ArtistNominated
2013Genie AwardsBest ActorStill MineWon
2013Critics' Choice Television AwardsBest Movie/Miniseries Supporting ActorAmerican Horror Story: AsylumNominated
2013Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a MovieAmerican Horror Story: AsylumWon


  1. ^ "Canadian Screen Awards raises the star wattage". Toronto Star, March 3, 2013.
  2. ^ "John Cromwell – Films as director:, Other films:". Filmreference.com. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Geneaology Data: John Oliver (James) Cromwell", Ancestry.com
  4. ^ "The Rockford Files" The Countess (1974)
  5. ^ "All in the Family (a Titles & Air Dates Guide)". Epguides.com. November 27, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ "StarTrek.com Offers Commentary on 'In a Mirror, Darkly'". TrekToday. April 27, 2005. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ Gaiety Theatre Dublin, Ireland – Irish Theatre[dead link]
  8. ^ a b "W: James Cromwell vs. George Bush Snr.". SuicideGirls. October 15, 2008. Retrieved October 15, 2008. 
  9. ^ "Black Panther, drunk priest, kind farmer". CNN. June 18, 2004. Retrieved March 23, 2007. 
  10. ^ "AR-News James Cromwell interview in The Age (Melbourne) focuses on animal rights". EnviroLink Network. June 23, 2003. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  11. ^ Cardoni, Salvatore (December 27, 2011). "James Cromwell: You Don't Own Another Creature". Takepart.com. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Select Your Media Preferences: James Cromwell's PETA Ad". Peta Tv. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  13. ^ The Money Men By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, Crown Books 2000, page 181
  14. ^ "Farm to Fridge". Meatvideo.com. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  15. ^ Ellis, Cynthia, "Tribeca Film Festival Interview: John and James Cromwell: A .45 at 50th", The Huffington Post, May 4, 2010
  16. ^ Memorial Day review
  17. ^ "James Cromwell files for divorce", Associated Press, January 14, 2005
  18. ^ WMTV (02/07/13). "Actor James Cromwell Arrested at UW Regents Meeting". Gray Television, Inc. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  19. ^ "James Cromwell Arrested Protesting UW Cat Experiments". 02/07/13. Retrieved 7 February 2013. 
  20. ^ http://host.madison.com/ct/news/local/writers/steven_elbow/attorney-for-actor-james-cromwell-agrees-to-fine-for-pro/article_d0e63d46-9578-11e2-a621-001a4bcf887a.html

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]