Actor James Gammon Dies
July 18, 2010 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Gravelly-voiced character actor James Gammon has passed away of cancer at the age of 70. His career 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."
posted by zarq (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
God I loved him in "Major League." He was perfect for that role but seemed to fit in with anything he played. Sorry to hear this.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 12:22 PM on July 18, 2010

"Ricky, give him the heater!"

He's perfect in that movie. RIP.
posted by friendlyjuan at 12:31 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:36 PM on July 18, 2010

We're out of towels, and I'm too old to go diving into lockers.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:40 PM on July 18, 2010

I finally found a trailer for "Major League." Mr. Gammon has perhaps two or three lines in it.
posted by zarq at 12:44 PM on July 18, 2010

He was also one of the crew in "Cabin Boy".
posted by stifford at 12:45 PM on July 18, 2010

posted by ob1quixote at 1:02 PM on July 18, 2010

posted by KingEdRa at 1:07 PM on July 18, 2010

Oh, I love James Gammon -- he's one of that crew of rough-hewn multi-generational multi-dimensional "character actors" who always dress up whatever flick they appear in: Len Cariou, Brian Dennehy, John Ashton, Yaphet Kotto, etc., etc.

So long, man.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:12 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

*pisses on contract*

(seriously, RIP dude, I loved that guy)
posted by jonmc at 1:19 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

"I think there's just a couple o' guys up there and this asshole is one of them!" ... Silverado
posted by crunchland at 2:00 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Aw, man, I never put a name to the face, but I've seen him in all kinds of stuff.

posted by Halloween Jack at 2:00 PM on July 18, 2010

"You may run like Hayes, but you hit like shit."

Immortal line.

posted by jquinby at 2:49 PM on July 18, 2010

Here he is ("he's gotta bullet in him") in the wonderfully goofy screwball comedy I Love You to Death. (Full trailer).

posted by marsha56 at 3:11 PM on July 18, 2010

posted by cerebus19 at 4:08 PM on July 18, 2010

"I've HAD it with this nickel-and-dime stuff!"

posted by mreleganza at 4:34 PM on July 18, 2010

I always thought he was a bit of a ham ...
thankyew, thankyew
posted by scruss at 4:51 PM on July 18, 2010

posted by Smart Dalek at 6:00 PM on July 18, 2010

"My kinda team, Charlie, my kinda team."
posted by bwg at 6:38 PM on July 18, 2010

posted by 300two8 at 7:09 PM on July 18, 2010

Aww. He was perfect in Major League.

posted by snuffleupagus at 8:58 PM on July 18, 2010

"Come on, Dorn, get in front of the damn ball. Don't give me this olé bullshit!"

posted by shallowcenter at 8:40 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lou Brown: I need a catcher, Jake. Someone who can lead this team on the field. But I want the absolute truth, here, are you one-hundred percent?
Jake Taylor: Yeah, would I bullshit you about something like that?
Lou Brown: You better, if you wanna make this team.

posted by grubi at 9:15 AM on July 19, 2010

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