|JAMES WOODS (Jack Crow) exceptional career continues to build in power and range with each performance he offers. Within the past year, he has delivered a chillingly uncompromising Academy Award nominated portrait of civil rights activist Medgar Evers assassin, Bryon De La Beckwith, in Rob Reiners Ghosts of Mississippi; provided the comic voice of Hades in Disneys Hercules; and pleased audiences and critics alike with his starring performance opposite Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey in Robert Zemeckis thought-provoking Contact, based on Carl Sagans best-selling science fiction novel.
His recent work has garnered a much-deserved shower of honors including the Golden Satellite Award for his lead performance in the independent feature, Killer: A Journal of Murder and Golden Globe nominations for both the Hallmark Hall of Fame television movie, The Summer of Ben Tyler, and Reiners Ghosts of Mississippi. In Ben Tyler, Woods played the antithesis of the monster he created in Ghosts, a man who adopts a retarded black child in the segregated South of the 1940s.
The calibre of his work has attracted a number of the worlds finest directors, most recently including Martin Scorsese for whom he appeared in Casino and Kicked in the Head and Oliver Stone for whom he has starred in the directors Nixon and the film that landed him his first Academy Award nomination, Salvador.
During Woods two decades of motion picture and television performances, he has moved effortlessly from big box office studio films to festival-celebrated independent features, comedy to drama. His versatility and range is reflected in his roles as White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman in Nixon, a sleazy Las Vegas pimp in Casino, comedic performances in The Hard Way with Michael J. Fox and Immediate Family opposite Glenn Close, as well as his acclaimed television performances in Indictment: The McMartin Trial and HBOs Citizen Cohn in which he captured the ruthless essence of McCarthy Committee Counsel Roy Cohn.
Woods portraits of controversial real life figures began with his portrayal of cop killer Gregory Powell in Harold Beckers The Onion Field, and has continued with his roles as Haldeman, Beckwith, Cohn and serial killer Carl Panzram in Killer. His performance in Citizen Cohn remains one of the most enthusiastically reviewed performances in the mediums history, earning him the first American Television Award Best Actor Trophy (voted by the nations critics), the Peabody Award and nominations for literally every other relevant award. Similarly, Janes House, in which he starred, was one of the highest-rated television movies in many seasons.
Woods received his first Academy Award nomination and the Independent Film Projects Spirit Award as Best Actor in Oliver Stones Salvador. During that same year, he received the Golden Globe Award, the Golden Apple Award and an Emmy all earned for his performance in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of Promise . He received another Golden Globe nomination for NBCs In Love and War. His films that year also included The Boost and Best Seller.
In addition to winning an Emmy for his portrayal of the cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous in My Name is Bill W., Woods made the projects video release possible by foregoing his profit participation in exchange for Warner Bros. agreement to give thousands of copies of the film to the organization. The drama remains a powerful recruiting tool for the program.
James Woods was born in Utah, the son of a military hero and a schoolteacher. He was raised in various places including Illinois, Virginia, Guam and, primarily, Rhode Island. He began his acting career in a typically unorthodox environment for the arts while attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Majoring in political science on full scholarship, he appeared in some 36 plays at M.I.T., Harvard and the Theatre Company of Boston. Summer stock at the Provincetown Playhouse preceded his move to New York to expand his career as an actor.
Woods made his Broadway debut in Brendan Behans Borstal Boy, and followed with a lead performance in the off-Broadway production of Saved for which he received the Obie Award and the Clarence Derwent Award for Most Promising Actor. Other theater credits include The Trial of the Catonsville Nine, Finishing Touches, Green Julia and Michael Wellers Moonchildren for which he won the Theatre World Award.
Woods made his film debut in Elia Kazans The Visitors then played a small but memorable role as Barbra Streisands college boyfriend in The Way We Were. His first major starring role was in Alex and the Gypsy opposite Jack Lemmon. He went on to star in Arthur Penns Night Moves with Gene Hackman. Joseph Wambaughs The Onion Field, directed by Harold Becker, truly launched his film career and earned him his first Golden Globe Award.
Woods made his television debut as Joanne Woodwards brother in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of All the Way Home. He played Meryl Streeps husband in the television production of Holocaust and distinguished himself with performances in And Your Name is Jonah, Badge of the Assassin and The Boys.
His film work includes Sergio Leones Once Upon a Time in America, Peter Yates Eyewitness with William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver, The Getaway with Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, the Bruce Beresford/Sam Sheppard Curse of the Starving Class opposite Kathy Bates, David Cronenbergs Videodrome, Mordecai Richlers Joshua, Then and Now, Ted Kotcheffs Split Image, Against All Odds with Jeff Bridges and True Believer with Robert Downey, Jr.