J.T. Walsh - Rotten Tomatoes

J.T. Walsh



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).

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Hidden Agenda
  • Actor
1999
84% Pleasantville
  • Big Bob
1998
75% The Negotiator
  • Insp. Niebaum
1998
No Score Yet Hope
  • Ray Percy
1997
80% Breakdown
  • Red Barr
1997
20% 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
75% Nixon
  • John Ehrlichman
1995
17% The Babysitter
  • Harry Tucker
1995
No Score Yet Sacred Cargo
  • Father Stanislav
1995
63% Executive Decision
  • Sen. Mavros
1995
59% Outbreak
  • White House Chief of Staff (uncredited)
1995
No Score Yet Black Day Blue Night
  • Lt. John Quinn
1995
61% Miracle on 34th Street
  • Collins
1994
No Score Yet Star Struck
  • Greer
1994
24% Silent Fall
  • Sheriff Mitch Rivers
1994
80% 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
26% Needful Things
  • Danforth Keeton III
1993
42% Sniper
  • Chester Van Damme
1993
65% Indian Summer
  • Actor
1993
15% National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1
  • Desk Clerk
1993
95% Red Rock West
  • Wayne
1993
52% Hoffa
  • Fitzsimmons
1992
81% A Few Good Men
  • Lt. Col. Matthew Markinson
1992
No Score Yet Contact
  • Actor
1992
No Score Yet Iron Maze
  • Jack
1991
No Score Yet Defenseless
  • Steven Seldes
1991
43% True Identity
  • Houston
1991
72% Backdraft
  • Martin Swayzak
1991
75% The Russia House
  • Quinn
1990
89% Misery
  • Park Ranger (uncredited)
1990
58% Narrow Margin
  • Michael Tarlow
1990
90% The Grifters
  • Cole
1990
No Score Yet Why Me?
  • Francis Mahoney
1990
33% Crazy People
  • Charles F. Drucker
1990
56% Dad
  • Dr. Santana
1989
91% The Big Picture
  • Allen Habel
1989
4% Wired
  • Bob Woodward
1989
42% Tequila Sunrise
  • Maguire
1988
82% Things Change
  • Hotel Manager
1988
89% Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Sgt. Major Dickerson
1987
96% House of Games
  • Businessman
1987
79% Tin Men
  • Actor
1987
No Score Yet Legends - Live at Montreux 1997
  • Wing
1987
No Score Yet Hard Choices
  • Deputy Anderson
1986
93% Hannah and Her Sisters
  • Ed Smythe
1986
55% 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

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet The X-Files
1993
  • Warden

Quotes from J.T. Walsh's Characters