Anthony James (actor)

Anthony James
James Anthony

(1942-07-22) July 22, 1942 (age 77)
Occupation Actor
Years active 1967–1992

Anthony James (born James Anthony; July 22, 1942)[1]:48 is an American character actor who specialized in playing creepy, sleazy, oily villains in films and television, many of them Westerns.[2]

Early life

James was born James Anthony in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 1942, the only child of Greek immigrants George Anthony (1893–1951) and Marika Palla (1913–2008). He later reversed the order of his given name and surname for his acting career.[1]


James made several guest appearances on the western series Gunsmoke during the series' run, appearing in different roles, most often playing the character of Elbert Moses. Other shows he has guest-starred on include: Hawaii Five-O; The High Chaparral; Bonanza; The Rookies; Charlie's Angels; Buck Rogers in the 25th Century; Holmes & Yoyo;The A-Team; Quincy, M.E.; and Beauty and the Beast.

James has also appeared in a number of major feature films. His first major role was as Ralph, the diner counterman in 1967's In the Heat of the Night, which was awarded an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1968. It is noteworthy that this movie beat out the well-known movies The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner for Best Picture.

Subsequent film appearances included P.J. (1968) and ...tick...tick...tick... (1970). He played one of the lynch mobsters in High Plains Drifter and appeared as well as the evil chauffeur in the horror film Burnt Offerings (1976).[3] He had roles in Blue Thunder (1983), Nightmares (1983), and The Naked Gun 2Β½: The Smell of Fear (1991).

James also appeared in Poison's 1988 music video for their song "Fallen Angel."[1]:139 He retired from acting in the early 1990s with his last film role in Clint Eastwood's 1992 Unforgiven,[2] which was awarded an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1993. It is notable that Anthony James' first and last major film appearances were each in Academy Award-winning films for Best Picture.

He has since concentrated on painting.[4] In 1994, he published a book of art and poetry, Language of the Heart. His autobiography, Acting My Face, was published in 2014.[2]

Select filmography


  1. ^ a b c James, Anthony (2014). Acting My Face. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 9781617039850. The union already had an actor named James Anthony and would not let me use Jimmy or Jim Anthony, so rather than change my name... I just reversed it to Anthony James.
  2. ^ a b c Thomas, Nick (April 21, 2014). "Anthony James: so good at being bad". The News-Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 21, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  3. ^ "'Burnt Offerings' Is an Outstanding Terror Movie". The New York Times. September 30, 1976.
  4. ^ "Anthony James β€” Artist". Renjeau Galleries. Retrieved 7 May 2017.

External links