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Character actor James Gammon dies at 70

Gammon James Gammon, a versatile character actor who brought to stage and screen his gravelly voice and craggy face, died Friday in Costa Mesa. He was 70 and had cancer.

Gammon may be best known for his role as Lou Brown, manager of the hapless Cleveland Indians in the 1989 comedy "Major League" and its 1994 sequel. He stood out with key roles in many films including "Urban Cowboy," "The Milagro Beanfield War," "Ironweed," "Silverado" and "Cold Mountain."

On television he played the father on "Nash Bridges" from 1996 to 2001, though he was only nine years older than star Don Johnson. He also had roles in such TV series as "Gunsmoke," "The Waltons" and "Bagdad Café."

A co-founding member of the MET Theatre in Hollywood, he received several Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards for acting and directing. Gammon played a succession of roles for Sam Shepard and received a Tony nomination for a 1996 production of the playwright's "Buried Child."

A full obituary will follow at www.latimes.com/obits.

-- Claire Noland

Photo: James Gammon in 1989. Credit: Robert Gabriel / Los Angeles Times

 
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Comments (13)

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James was always a gentleman.
We videotaped his William Inge productions of PICNIC and DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS back in the mid '70's. Those plays broke Nick Nolte and other actors to fame.
Will miss him.

James was always a gentleman.
We videotaped his William Inge productions of PICNIC and DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS back in the mid '70's. Those plays broke Nick Nolte and other actors to fame.
Will miss him.

To the rest of the world he was one of the most recognizable character actors - the one with the craggy (I prefer rugged!) face and the gravelly voice. To me, he was my beloved Uncle Jim. His sister Donna, who was my mom, also lost her battle with cancer in 1997. He wll be missed so very much. Rest in peace Uncle Jim. Love you!

This man is a great actor, character or otherwise.

If you watch some of his body of work...over a long weekend -- no phone, no doors to answer to.

You'll understand.

For all the film critics and media morons enabled by the web
these days...and all the Disney-fied and fried so called stars
shoved in our faces...Mister Gammon truly knew how to act -- by not acting.

You don't show it...because the camera takes in so much,
at least in film. It has to be about being subtle..regardless of
how your media handlers and publicists and every producer out there
who think they know what they're doing, and tell you otherwise.

In other words...I'll take one singular sensation called James Gammon over
a Zac and a Lauter and all the rest.

Yes...

This is a wake up call to those mentioned, before it's too late.
Stop the movies for awhile...and go do community or regional or off, off Broadway theatre...and really get you acting chops down.


My most influential acting coach(Michael Ray Lloyd) who passed on last October spoke highly of Jim because they both had the same acting teacher(Lawrence Parke).

My most influential acting coach(Michael Ray Lloyd) who passed on last October spoke highly of Jim because they both had the same acting teacher(Lawrence Parke).

He may never have been a household name, but I've seen a lot of his work. He was one of those steadily working actors you recognize (Oh, it's THAT guy!) but never knew the name of. Funny that he played the dad on Nash Bridges, and was only nine years older than Don Johnson!

R.I.P.

Great Great western actors ae few and far between. James Gammon rode in that company. Randolp Scott, Ben Johnson and other notables have been joined another of the finest cowboy actor seen on the screen. True he played other roles(Nick Nash probably the most noticable) But look in any great western and James Gammon was there. Big Role or small you know youd find him. Rest in peace and ride well friend your in good company once again.

Jimmy....all your friends in Santa Fe and New Mexico will
miss you.

I loved him in "Made in Heaven". I do believe that only a lovely man could play such a lovely man. Thanks for giving us that.

I loved him in "Made in Heaven". I do believe that only a lovely man could play such a lovely man. Thanks for giving us that.

Jim is my dad's (Raymond Jackson) cousin. They were born on the same day just hours apart. Though I never personally met him, I did watch him on TV. He will be greatly missed by my family.

My late acting coach knew him quite well because they both studied under the same teacher(Lawrence Parke, here in L.A.) and thought quite highly of him, even at the time they were students.


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