J.T. Walsh

J.T. Walsh

Highest Rated: 96% Sling Blade (1996)

Lowest Rated: 4% Wired (1989)

Birthday: Sep 28, 1943

Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA

Considered the very embodiment of a character actor, and one of the best of his kind, J.T. Walsh filled a need for hospital corner-executive types and glowering villains throughout a busy 15-year career. His penetrating, unblinking eyes brought a deadly seriousness to a spectrum of supporting characters, both white and blue collar. James Patrick Walsh -- who decided to adopt the initials J.T. after his name was misprinted -- was born on September 28, 1943 in San Francisco, then raised in Rhode Island and Europe. He worked in a variety of career fields, from social worker to salesman, during his young adulthood. It wasn't until age 30 that he focused on stage acting, and ten more years that he began popping up regularly on the big screen. His rave reviews for a 1984 stage production of David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross finally translated into the beginning of a film career. It took Walsh little time to become a character-actor mainstay. Woody Allen cast him in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), and a year later he gained notice as the sergeant who puts the clamps on Robin Williams' fast-talking DJ in Good Morning, Vietnam (1987). He hooked up with Mamet again on House of Games that same year. The first of several collaborations with friend Kurt Russell came with Tequila Sunrise in 1988. Walsh earned kudos as the prototypical shady studio exec in Christopher Guest's The Big Picture (1989). By this point he had begun appearing in an average of four or five films per year. His portrayals in the early '90s included Annette Bening's sleazy mentor in The Grifters (1990) and another villainous military officer in A Few Good Men (1992). The mid-'90s brought such films as Red Rock West (1993), The Client (1994), The Last Seduction (1994), and Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995), the last of which cast him as Watergate figure John Ehrlichman. In the final few years of his life, Walsh etched some of his most haunting portrayals, including the predatory sex offender who bends the ear of Karl Childers in Billy Bob Thornton's Sling Blade (1996), reprising his role from the little-seen short Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade (1993), also written by Thornton. Walsh burned with a menacing intensity as a malicious trucker in the Duel-inspired thriller Breakdown (1997), also starring Russell. Walsh already had Pleasantville and The Negotiator (both 1998) in the can when he suffered a fatal heart attack on February 27, 1998, in San Diego. Both films were dedicated to him, as was Jack Nicholson's Oscar for As Good As It Gets (1997).


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Hidden Agenda Actor 1999
85% Pleasantville Big Bob 1998
75% The Negotiator Insp. Niebaum 1998
No Score Yet Hope Ray Percy 1997
80% Breakdown Red Barr 1997
14% Persons Unknown Cake 1996
96% Sling Blade Charles Bushman 1996
No Score Yet Crime of the Century Norman Schwarzkopf 1996
No Score Yet Gang in Blue Eyler 1996
56% The Low Life Mike Sr. 1996
No Score Yet The Little Death Ted Hannon 1996
64% Executive Decision Sen. Mavros 1996
74% Nixon John Ehrlichman 1995
17% The Babysitter Harry Tucker 1995
No Score Yet Sacred Cargo Father Stanislav 1995
57% Outbreak White House Chief of Staff (uncredited) 1995
No Score Yet Black Day Blue Night Lt. John Quinn 1995
60% Miracle on 34th Street Collins 1994
No Score Yet Star Struck Greer 1994
22% Silent Fall Sheriff Mitch Rivers 1994
78% The Client McThune 1994
94% The Last Seduction Frank 1994
37% Blue Chips Happy 1994
No Score Yet Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade Actor 1994
No Score Yet Morning Glory Sheriff 1993
31% Needful Things Danforth Keeton III 1993
38% Sniper Chester Van Damme 1993
58% Indian Summer Actor 1993
17% National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 Desk Clerk 1993
95% Red Rock West Wayne 1993
52% Hoffa Fitzsimmons 1992
82% A Few Good Men Lt. Col. Matthew Markinson 1992
No Score Yet Contact Actor 1992
No Score Yet In the Shadow of a Killer Inspector Leo Kemeny 1992
No Score Yet Iron Maze Jack 1991
No Score Yet Defenseless Steven Seldes 1991
43% True Identity Houston 1991
74% Backdraft Martin Swayzak 1991
76% The Russia House Quinn 1990
90% Misery Park Ranger (uncredited) 1990
58% Narrow Margin Michael Tarlow 1990
90% The Grifters Cole 1990
No Score Yet Why Me? Francis Mahoney 1990
37% Crazy People Charles F. Drucker 1990
60% Dad Dr. Santana 1989
91% The Big Picture Allen Habel 1989
4% Wired Bob Woodward 1989
40% Tequila Sunrise Maguire 1988
83% Things Change Hotel Manager 1988
90% Good Morning, Vietnam Sgt. Major Dickerson 1987
96% House of Games Businessman 1987
81% Tin Men Actor 1987
No Score Yet Legends - Live at Montreux 1997 Wing 1987
No Score Yet Hard Choices Deputy Anderson 1986
91% Hannah and Her Sisters Ed Smythe 1986
50% Power Jerome Cade 1986
No Score Yet Right to Kill? Major Vegvary 1985
No Score Yet The Beniker Gang Principal Stoddard 1985
No Score Yet Eddie Macon's Run Man in Bar 1983


60% Dark Skies
Col. Frank Bach 1997
74% The X-Files
Warden 1995
86% Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Col. Charles Fane 1994
No Score Yet The Equalizer
Sam Griffith 1985


Martin Swayzak says: You see that glow in the corner of your eye. It's your career dissapation light and it's going into overtime.

Stephen McCaffrey says: If anyone's lights are about to go out, believe me they are yours.

Sgt. Major Dickerson says: What does three up and three down mean to you Airman?

Adrian Cronauer says: End of an inning?