James Brolin

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James Brolin (born July 18, 1940) is an American television, film, character actor and director who's best known for his starring roles as Dr. Steven Kiley on Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969-1976), as Peter McDermott on Hotel (1983-1988), and as Lt. Bill "Raven" Kelly on Pensacola: Wings of Gold (1997-2000).

He was born James Kenneth Bruderlin in Los Angeles, California to an aeronautical engineer, Henry and a singer, Helen, and the family settled in Westwood, after his birth. As a teenager in the mid-1950s, he would often be fascinated with another actor James Dean, (this was due to him watching movies of his time). At the same time, while his parents invited a director over to his family's house for dinner before auditioning, he met another fellow actor and classmate Ryan O'Neal, who's about a year younger than Brolin, and the two click.

At the age of 20, he changed his last name from Bruderlin to Brolin, and began his contract over at 20th Century Fox studios, where he took 5,000 hours of acting classes. He made his acting debut in 1961 on an episode of Bus Stop. He also had small roles in several movies from Take Her, She's Mine (1963), Dear Brigitte (1965), Fantastic Voyage (1966), among many others. He also had a recurring role on the short-lived series The Monroes, but was soon canceled. The following year, his first big role was The Cape Town Affair (1967), where it did not receive any recognition from the box office. Despite of the issues Brolin had, he was fired from 20th Century Fox Studios, and he would transfer to another job at Universal Studios, where he auditioned for a co-starring role opposite longtime actor Robert Young in the 1960s medical drama, Marcus Welby, M.D. for ABC in 1969. On the show, he played Dr. Steven Kiley, a young and highly-skilled trained doctor who was asked to work with another doctor of experience, and the chemistry of Brolin & Young clicked. In its first season in 1970, he was nominated and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, but was nominated for three more times for a total of four Emmy nominations. He was also nominated for Golden Globes three times for Best Supporting Actor, and won twice between 1971 and 1973, and the actor was on his way to greater fame as the years went on. He would also had two hiatuses in a year when he wasn't working on Marcus Welby, he would then star in a couple of movies, such as, Skyjacked (1972), and Westworld (1973). After launching a movie career in 1976, Brolin was very pleased that his first show finally went off the air so that the actor could concentrate on his movie career.

In the mid-1970s, he became one of Hollywood's leading man starring in a lot of movies from Gable and Lombard (1976), to High Risk (1981). He tried out for a part in Octopussy (1983) to become the next James Bond, but was unsuccessful, because he wouldn't play that role.

Brolin went back to series television to star in yet another popular series, in 1983, where he teamed up with Aaron Spelling to produced a pilot for the prime-time soap opera, Hotel, for ABC. On his second show, he played Peter MacDermott, a hotel manager who helped everybody tried to solve their own problems and to let love in his own life at the same time. Compared to his 1970s series, Marcus Welby, his show was also a ratings winner in the first season, as he invited several guest stars to talk about their own issues and personal feelings as the show progressed. In his first year, Brolin was nominated for 2 additional Golden Globes between 1983 and 1984 for Best Performance By an Actor in a TV Series, but didn't win. He would also serve as series director of the show making him the driving force of the show. In 1985, while his marriage to Jane was falling, his emotional anger took a turn for the worst {when he was asked to invite Jan Smithers on the set of Hotel) when the writers suggested they do a storyline for Peter in which a woman needed to take very good care of him throughout this difficult time. By 1988, after 5 seasons, Hotel was about to close its doors for goods as the show was cancelled.

As the new decade approached, Brolin was about to become a popular 1990s film star again, as he would star in yet more films before he would star in both Angel Falls for CBS and Extreme for ABC, neither one of those shows matched Brolin's popularity of both Marcus Welby and Hotel. In 1997, his luck had changed as he once again returned to the small screen starring in the syndicated series Pensacola: Wings of Gold, playing the role of Lt. Col. Bill "Raven" Kelly, whose job was to teach young marines in a special unit before he was promoted to work with a group of talented Marine fighter pilots. During its first season, it was also a big hit, and he served as Executive Producer and Director of the series, as well, making him one of the driving forces. The show was cancelled after only 66 episodes due to low ratings, but Brolin (who enjoys flying planes in real-life) had the honor of flying planes on the show, as well.

Brolin had been married three times. In 1966, he met Jane Cameron Agee, an aspiring actress who was working over at 20th Century Fox Studios, and she and Brolin were married that October and the couple had 2 children, (Josh Brolin, b. February 12 1968), and {Jesse, b. 1972), they were divorced in 1985, after 19 years of marriage. His first wife died in a serious car accident on February 11, 1995, 1 day shy before son Josh's 27th birthday. Also in 1985, he met actress Jan Smithers on the set of Hotel, and were married in 1986, the following year where the couple had a daughter (Molly Elizabeth, b. 1987), after his first wife's Jane's death, Jan filed for a divorce from Brolin, a few weeks after. In 1997, he met veteran stage actress, Barbra Streisand, through a fellow friend, and the two were married the following year.

In late 2003, he was supposed to be playing Ronald Reagan in the TV movie The Reagans, but despite of its differences, bad scripts and high rising costs, CBS had decided to pull the plug on it, but moved to Showtime, which was also owned by Viacom. Brolin was nominated for another Emmy Award, making it his fifth Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe making it also his fifth, but didn't win. As of this year, he’s returning to the box office starring in 2 films with big roles, such as The Alibi (2005), and The American Standards (2005).

Film and television appearances

In 1985, Brolin parodied his near-hiring as James Bond in the film "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure." In a film within the film, he merged the characters of Bond and Pee-Wee Herman, the "real" version of whom was played by Paul Reubens.

In 2004, Brolin played Governor Robert Ritchie of Florida, the Republican opponent of President Jed Bartlet on the TV series "The West Wing." In Bartlet's words, he'd "turned being unengaged into a Zen-like thing," and seemed to enjoy it. The character seemed to be a parody of real-life President George W. Bush, whose brother, John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, was then the real-life Governor of Florida.

External links

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