J.T. Walsh

J.T. Walsh

Born: September 28, 1943
Died: February 27, 1998 (at age 54)
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, U.S.

James Thomas Patrick "J. T." Walsh (September 28, 1943 - February 27, 1998) was an American actor. He appeared in many well-known films, including Nixon, Hoffa, A Few Good Men, The Grifters, Backdraft, Miracle on 34th Street, Outbreak, Sling Blade, Breakdown, Pleasantville, The Negotiator, and Good Morning, Vietnam. According to Leonard Maltin, he was known for portraying "quietly sinister white-collar sleazeballs" in numerous films, and was described as "everybody's favorite scumbag" by Playboy magazine.

Early life

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Walsh was born in San Francisco, California. He had three siblings: Christopher, Patricia, and Mary.

From 1948-62, the family lived in West Germany, before moving back to the United States. After studying at Clongowes Wood College (a Jesuit school in Ireland) from 1955-61, he attended the University of Tübingen, and then the University of Rhode Island, where he starred in many college theater productions. In 1974, he was discovered by a theatre director and began working in off-Broadway shows. After college Walsh worked briefly as a VISTA volunteer in Newport, Rhode Island organizing tenants for the United Tenant Organizations of Rhode Island (UTO) before resigning to pursue his acting career.


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Walsh did not appear in films until 1975, when he had a minor role in Eddie Macon's Run. Over the next 15 years, he appeared in over 50 feature films, increasingly taking the bad guy role for which he is well known, such as Sergeant Major Dickerson in Good Morning, Vietnam. On television, he again portrayed an evil character, prison warden Brodeur on The X-Files in 1995 in the episode "The List".

Walsh wanted to show his range as an actor and play good guys, despite being typecast as a villain. He played relatively decent characters in Outbreak and Sniper. He played a member of Majestic 12 in the 1996 sci-fi drama series Dark Skies. The 1997 thriller Breakdown featured Walsh as the villainous truck driver. It was his last starring film released during his lifetime. In his final year of life, Walsh starred in Hidden Agenda, Pleasantville, and The Negotiator. All three films were dedicated to his memory.


Walsh died of a heart attack in La Mesa, California, at Grossmont hospital on February 27, 1998, at age 54, after feeling ill and collapsing while a guest at the Optimum Health Institute in Lemon Grove, California. Jack Nicholson dedicated his Academy Award for As Good as It Gets to Walsh's memory. The two had acted together in two films, A Few Good Men and Hoffa.



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Eddie Macon's Run Man in Bar
1985 Hard Choices Deputy Anderson
1985 Right to Kill? Maj. Eckwo
1985 The Beniker Gang Principal Stoddard
1986 Hannah and Her Sisters Ed Smythe
1986 Power Jerome Cade
1987 Tin Men Wing
1987 House of Games The Businessman / "Cop"
1987 Good Morning, Vietnam Sgt. Major Dickerson
1988 Things Change Hotel Manager
1988 Tequila Sunrise DEA Agent Hal Maguire
1989 The Big Picture Allen Habel
1989 Wired Bob Woodward
1989 Dad Dr. Santana
1990 Why Me? Francis Mahoney
1990 Crazy People Mr. Drucker
1990 The Grifters Cole
1990 Narrow Margin Michael Tarlow
1990 Misery State Trooper Sherman Douglas Uncredited
1990 The Russia House Colonel Jackson Quinn
1991 Iron Maze Jack Ruhle
1991 Backdraft Alderman Marty Swayzak
1991 Defenseless Steven Seldes
1991 True Identity Agent Houston
1992 A Few Good Men Lt. Col. Matthew Markinson
1992 Hoffa Frank Fitzsimmons
1992 The Prom Grover Dean
1993 Sniper Chester Van Damme
1993 Loaded Weapon 1 Desk Clerk
1993 Red Rock West Wayne Brown
1993 Needful Things Danforth "Buster" Keeton III Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1993 Morning Glory Sheriff Reese Goodloe
1993 One Little Indian Marshall Robinson
1994 The Last Seduction Frank Griffith
1994 Blue Chips Happy Kuykendall
1994 The Client Jason McThune
1994 Silent Fall Sheriff Mitch Rivers
1994 Miracle on 34th Street Ed Collins
1995 Outbreak White House Chief of Staff Uncredited
1995 Black Day Blue Night Lt. John Quinn
1995 The Babysitter Harry Tucker
1995 The Low Life Mike Sr
1995 Charlie's Ghost Story Darryl
1995 Nixon John Ehrlichman Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1995 Sacred Cargo Father Stanislav
1996 Executive Decision Senator Jason Mavros
1996 The Little Death Ted Hannon
1996 Sling Blade Charles Bushman Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
1996 Persons Unknown Lt. Cake
1997 Breakdown Warren "Red" Barr Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
1998 The Negotiator Inspector Terence Niebaum
1998 Pleasantville Big Bob
1998 Hidden Agenda Jonathan Zanuck (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes
1989 L.A. Law Pete Bostik Episode: "Consumed Innocent"
1995 The X Files Warden Brodeur Episode: "The List"
1996-1997 Dark Skies Frank Bach

[ Source: Wikipedia ]