James Gammon

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James Gammon
Born(1940-04-20)April 20, 1940
Newman, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJuly 16, 2010(2010-07-16) (aged 70)
Costa Mesa, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Liver cancer
Years active1966–2009
Spouse(s)Nancy Jane Kapusta
(1972-2010; his death)
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For the engraver, see James Gammon (engraver).
James Gammon
Born(1940-04-20)April 20, 1940
Newman, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJuly 16, 2010(2010-07-16) (aged 70)
Costa Mesa, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Liver cancer
Years active1966–2009
Spouse(s)Nancy Jane Kapusta
(1972-2010; his death)

James Richard Gammon (April 20, 1940 – July 16, 2010)[1] was an American actor, known for playing grizzled "good ol' boy" types in numerous films and television series.


Early life[edit]

Gammon was born in Newman, the son of Doris Latimer (née Toppe), a farm girl,[2] and Donald Gammon, a musician.[3] After his parents divorced and he bounced around home to home, he made his way to Orlando, Florida. He worked at Orlando's ABC TV affiliate WLOF Channel 9 as a cameraman and director. In his 20s, he packed up and moved to Hollywood to try to find work.[2]

Acting career[edit]

His early television credits include appearing twice as Deputy Virgil Bramley in the NBC western series The Road West in the 1966–1967 season, which co-starred Barry Sullivan, Andrew Prine, and Glenn Corbett.

In the 1970s, he helped found the Met Theatre in Los Angeles. While performing there, a rep from The Public Theater saw him and had him cast as Weston in Sam Shepard's Curse of the Starving Class in 1978. The two became friends afterward.[2] He made his sole Broadway appearance as "Dodge" in a revival of Sam Shepard's Buried Child. He was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance.[4] He also appeared on stage in Shepard's San Francisco debut of The Late Henry Moss along with Nick Nolte, Sean Penn, Cheech Marin and Woody Harrelson in 2000.

Gammon may be best-remembered for his characters Lou Brown, manager of the Cleveland Indians in the Major League films, and Nick Bridges, the father of Don Johnson's title character in the television series Nash Bridges. He appeared in the films Cool Hand Luke (1967), Urban Cowboy (1980), Silverado (1985), Noon Wine (1985), The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), Major League (1989), The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993), Major League II (1994), Wyatt Earp (1994), Wild Bill (1995), Truman (1995), Cold Mountain (2003), and more recently Appaloosa (2008). He also had an uncredited role in Natural Born Killers (1994).

Gammon portrayed a Korean War veteran on the hit ABC series Grey's Anatomy. He played Charles Goodnight in Streets of Laredo. In 2006, he played the stern grandfather, Sam, brother of notorious outlaw Butch Cassidy, in the film Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch Cassidy. Gammon also plays a supporting role in Appaloosa (2008).

Gammon provided the voices of the animated characters Marv Loach and Floyd Turbeaux in the 1999 Warner Bros. feature film The Iron Giant.[5]


Gammon died of adrenal gland and liver cancer in Costa Mesa.[6]


His friend, Sam Shepard, said this of Gammon: "This was a guy who could act circles around most other actors, and he never pretended to be other than a working kind of actor."[2] He would go on to say about the star-studded cast of The Late Henry Moss, "I mean, a bunch of notoriously famous guys, and every single one of them would come up to me, alone, and say, ‘Who’s that Jim Gammon guy? Where did he come from?’"[2] Shepard also would talk about why he cast Gammon, saying: "You’re probably aware of the notorious father figures in my plays, alcoholic Midwesterners who leave their families and get lost in the Southwestern desert. Jimmy had that familiarity about him with the way I grew up, the guys with the voice and the face and the whiskey. He definitely rang a bell with me."[2]

Personal life[edit]

His first marriage ended in divorce. He has a brother, Phillip, and a sister, Sandra (Glaudell). He was married to Nancy Jane Kapusta from 1972 until his death. He has two daughters, Allison Mann and Amy Gammon.[2][3]


1967Cool Hand LukeSleepy (uncredited)Supporting Role
1968Journey to ShilohTellis Yeager
1969The Thousand Plane RaidMajor Varga
1970A Man Called HorseEd
Macho CallahanCowboy
The IntrudersChaunce Dykstratelevision film
1972Cry for Me, BillyAmosSupporting Role
1974Macon County LineElisha
1975The Wild McCullochs1st Police Officer
The Kansas City MassacreGarthtelevision film
1976Bobbie Jo and the OutlawLeather SalesmanMinor Role
The Pom Pom GirlsCoach
1977Black Oak ConspiracyDeputy
The GreatestMr. Harry
1979The SackettsWes Bigelowtelevision film
1980On the NickelPeanut JohnSupporting Role
Urban CowboySteve Strange
Rage!Joe Deantelevision film
It's My TurnConnie FoxworthUncredited
Any Which Way You CanPalomino BartenderSupporting Role
Below the BeltLuke
1981The Big Black PillCaptain Jake Jacqualonetelevision film
1982The Ballad of Gregorio CortezSheriff Frank Fly
Deadly EncounterFrank Kitchens
1983M.A.D.D.: Mothers Against Drunk DriversWillard Kohlertelevision film
Women of San QuentinOfficer
1985Noon WineSheriff
Vision QuestKuch's DadSupporting Role
Hell TownLieutenant Raymond Tracytelevision film
SylvesterSteveSupporting Role
The Long Hot SummerBilly Quicktelevision film
Silver BulletArnie WestrumSupporting Role
1986Hard TravelingSgt. Slattery
1987StackingClate Connaloe
Made in HeavenSteve Shea
Laguna HeatGrimestelevision film
IronweedReverend ChesterSupporting Role
1988The Milagro Beanfield WarHorsethief Shorty
LincolnGen. Ulysses S. Granttelevision film
1989Major LeagueLou BrownSupporting Role
Roe vs. Wadetelevision film
1990RevengeTexanSupporting Role
Coupe de VilleDr. Sturgeon the Cadillac Surgeon
I Love You to DeathLt. Larry Schooner
1991ConagherSmoke Parnell, Ladder Five Ownertelevision film
Stranger at My DoorSheriff Bitterman
1992Leaving NormalWaltSupporting Role
Criminal BehaviorRoy Stubbstelevision film
1993Running CoolIronbutt GarrettSupporting Role
Painted DesertAl
Men Don't TellJacktelevision film
The Adventures of Huck FinnDeputy HinesSupporting Role
1994Cabin BoyPaps
Major League IILou Brown
Hard ViceBronski
Wyatt EarpMr. Sutherland
Natural Born KillersRedneck's Buddy in the Diner
1995Wild BillCalifornia Joe
TrumanSam Rayburntelevision film
1996Two Mothers for ZacharyChalmer
1997TravellerDouble DSupporting Role
The ApostleUncredited
1998The Man in the Iron MaskThe CommandantSupporting Role
Point BlankDad
Love from Ground ZeroHat
The Hi-Lo CountryHoover Young
Logan's War: Bound by HonorBentelevision film
1999You Know My NameReal Arkansas Tom
The Iron GiantMarv Loach/Floyd TurbeauxVoice
One Man's HeroGen. Zachary TaylorSupporting Role
2000The CellTeddy Lee
2002Life or Something Like ItPat Kerrigan
The Country BearsBig AlVoice
2003Monte WalshFighting Joe Hooker/Albert Millertelevision film
Cold MountainEsco SwangerSupporting Role
2004ParadiseOld cowboytelevision film
Silver CitySheriff Joe SkaggsSupporting Role
2005Don't Come KnockingOld Ranch Hand
2006Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch CassidySam
The Far Side of JerichoThe Preacher
AlteredSheriff Henderson
What I Did for LoveKarl Rydertelevision film
2007Jesse Stone: Sea ChangeBob
The Final SeasonJared AkersSupporting Role
2008AppaloosaEarl May
2009In the Electric MistBen Hebert

Television series[edit]

1966The Wild Wild WestEganThe Night of the FreebootersEpisodic character
The MonroesStennisNight of the Wolf
1966—1967The Road WestDeputy Virgil Bramley, Pete FowlerThe Agreement (1967), The Gunfighter (1966)
1966—1973GunsmokeArnie Jeffords, DudleyMy Father, My Son (1966), Susan Was Evil (1973)
1967Captain NiceWhatever Lola Wants
BonanzaHarry JeffersThe Man Without Land
The InvadersHalThe Spores
BatmanOsirisThe Unkindest Tut of All
Felony SquadMickeyOrdeal by Terror
The VirginianCal MasonA Small Taste of Justice
1968—1969LancerClint Meek, WesBlind Man's Bluff (1969), Chase a Wild Horse (1968)
1970The High ChaparralLafeOnly the Bad Come to Sonora (1970)
1971—1974The F.B.I.Cauldwell, Ben McCartyDiamond Run (1974), Turnabout (1971)
1971—1976CannonSheriff Ryder, KeelyThe Quasar Kill (1976), Country Blues (1971)
1973Dusty's TrailRoyHorse of Another Color (1973)
1973—1975The WaltonsZack Rosswell8 Episodes (1973–1975)Recurring Character
1974Kung FuJakeThe Nature of Evil (1974)Episodic character
1975Barnaby JonesAndy LuckerThe Final Burial (1974)
1976PetrocelliHarryBlood Money (1976)
Most WantedThe Torch (1976)
1977—1978Charlie's AngelsGates, BillyAngels in the Stretch (1978), Angels on Ice (1977)
1979Lou GrantSamaritan (1979)
1984The MasterA Place to Call Home (1984)
Cagney & LaceyBrian HolgateOld Debts (1984)
1985Murder, She WroteBilly Don BakerArmed Response (1985)
1986The EqualizerMichael CubOut of the Past (1986)
1987Crime StoryJack ClaymoreThe Pinnacle; The Survivor (1987)
1989Midnight CallerPete HanrahanTarnished Shield (1989)
In the Heat of the NightSheriff Ketch MonroeA Trip Upstate (1986)
1990—1991Bagdad CafeRudy15 Episodes (1990–1991)Recurring Character
1991The Young RidersElias MillsThe Blood of Others (1991)Episodic Character
1992The Young Indiana Jones ChroniclesTeddy RooseveltBritish East Africa, September 1909 (1992)
1992—1993HomefrontCoach Zelnick8 Episodes (1992–1993)Recurring Character
1993—1994L.A. LawRev. Joseph Halliday, Thomas QuinnGod is My Co-Counsel (1994), F.O.B. (1993)Episodic Character
1996—2001Nash BridgesNick Bridges49 Episodes (1996–2001)Recurring Character
2003Fillmore!Doc HemlockTwo Wheels, Full Throtle, No Brakes (2003)Voice
2004LAXBill BarkleyThe Longest Morning (2004)Episodic Character
Crossing JordanOlin PriceJustice Delayed (2004)
2007MonkOatesMr. Monk Visits a Farm (2007)
Grey's AnatomyMr. ScofieldScars and Souvenirs (2007)


External links[edit]