Actor James Gammon Dies
July 18, 2010 12:17 PM Subscribe
Gravelly-voiced character actor
posted by zarq (23 comments total)
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James Gammon has passed away
of cancer at the age of 70.
spanned more than 50 years in television, (with roles from "Gunsmoke" to "Grays Anatomy",) film and theater, but most will probably remember him as either the cantankerous manager of the Cleveland Indians
in the 1989 comedy "Major League" or as Don Johnson's crotchety, retired longshoreman father on the television show Nash Bridges
You can see him for a brief moment at 0:41 in this fake American Express commercial
from "Major League." He says "We're contenders now."
Gammon most often played a "good ol' boy." He had key supporting roles in many films, including "Urban Cowboy," "The Milagro Beanfield War," "Ironweed," "Silverado" and "Cold Mountain." He also appeared in "Cool Hand Luke," "Truman" and "Appaloosa."
A college dropout, Gammon got his start as a cameraman
at the CBS-TV affiliate (Channel 6) in Orlando, but soon moved to Los Angeles and became involved in local theater. Over time, he would have an extensive career on stage as well as on screen, including roles in a string of plays by Sam Shepard -- one of which earned him a Tony nomination
. He was founding partner
of the MET theater
in Hollywood, back in 1973, where he appeared in several plays by William Inge.
"He did a lot of movies and TV, but I think his great presence and power was on the stage," Paul Koslo, an actor and director who worked with Gammon at the MET, said Saturday. "He always had something unexpected, riveting and real." In 1978 Gammon appeared in his first Shepard drama, "Curse of the Starving Class," at the Public Theater in New York. The playwright called Gammon "astounding" after seeing him reprise the role of Weston in the West Coast premiere at the MET a year later.
Said theater critic Sylvie Drake in a review in The [Los Angeles] Times of the MET production: "His is a performance cut from flesh — a riveting, drunken, brawling, blind portrayal of a man at sea in a life he had abandoned years before, too long ago to ever hope to find it again."