This is a beta version of NNDB
Search: for

James Woods

James WoodsAKA James Howard Woods

Born: 18-Apr-1947
Birthplace: Vernal, UT

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Casino, Any Given Sunday

James Woods has played a long list of ruthless creeps and cold-blooded bastards, including the cop-killer in The Onion Field, the entrepreneur who offered torture on cable TV in David Cronenberg's Videodrome, a particularly slimy gangster in Once Upon a Time in America, a professional killer in Best Seller, Sharon Stone's pimp-boyfriend in Martin Scorsese's Casino, the notorious H. R. Haldeman in Nixon, a serial killer and child rapist in Killer, the assassin of Medgar Evers in Ghosts of Mississippi, and a coke-snorting anti-Semite in Pretty Persuasion.

He has also played a few memorable good guys -- the burnt-out reporter in Salvador, the maverick lawyer in True Believer. On TV, he played a Jewish artist in Buchenwald opposite Meryl Streep in the mini-series Holocaust, prisoner of war James Stockdale in In Love and War with Jane Alexander, and the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous in My Name is Bill W with James Garner. He is currently starring as a tough lawyer on the CBS drama Shark with Jeri Ryan.

His father worked in Army intelligence, necessitating frequent moves, and Woods spent his childhood in Utah, Illinois, Virginia, Guam, and Rhode Island. He was 12 when his father died. His mother, who had never worked before, provided for the family by starting a daycare center that proved popular and profitable. One of the children she cared for was Jim Langevin, who now represents Rhode Island in Congress.

Woods says his IQ is 180, and he was smart enough to get into M.I.T., where he studied political science for a career at the State Department. His plans were derailed after he joined the drama club and appeared in several school plays. He dropped out to become an actor, and worked in fringe theater for a few years. His big break was a mid-sized part in a Broadway play, which he landed by adopting a fake British accent after he overheard the director say he wanted an English actor for the part. He won a Theater World Award for his 1972 performance in the play Moonchildren, a comedy with Christopher Guest. After a few small movie roles, he first caught critics' attention in Elia Kazan's 1972 Vietnam morality tale The Visitors. He has taken only two acting lessons in his life, and he says "The Method" is shit.

His romantic life has provided a great deal of fodder for the paparazzi press. After his first marriage ended in a messy divorce, he fell for horse trainer Sarah Owen, who is 16 years younger than he. In 1987, she accused him of verbal and physical abuse, including pointing a gun at her and ordering her to strip, lie on the floor, and say, "I am a whore, I am a baby killer." Two years later they were married, for barely four months. During their messy divorce, she told the tabloids Woods was addicted to pornography, had forced her to have an abortion, and that she had caught him masturbating outside her mother's bedroom. He has since referred to her as "The AntiChrist".

In a story that received widespread media attention, Woods dated Sean Young in 1988, then sued her for harassment the next year, alleging she had sent him pictures of dead babies and animals, that either she or a friend of hers had destroyed his garden, left a mutilated doll on his doorstep, and generally acted like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Young denied everything, but the lawsuit sealed her reputation as a nutcase. An aspect of the matter that drew less attention, however, is that the case was settled out-of-court, by Woods' payment of a quarter-million dollars to Young.

Woods has a famous fondness for young actresses, which Hollywood offers in abundance. He dated Heather Graham in 1992, when she was 22 to his 44. He announced his engagement to 23-year-old actress Missy Crider in 1997, but their wedding was later called off. He was romantically linked to Days of Our Lives actress Alexis Thorpe in 2001 when she was 19, and in 2006 he dated 19-year-old actress Ashley Madison, whom he had known since she was 5 -- she is the daughter of an old friend. He publicly dropped Madison after complaining that she had come to his brother's funeral wearing an inappropriately short mini-skirt. "The world's a better place," he has said, "if I'm a single man."

Woods and Vince Van Patten, the tennis-playing son of Dick and Patricia Van Patten, are the celebrity spokesmen for the gambling website Hollywood Poker. They appear in the site's promotional material, play in its on-line tournaments, and Woods, describing himself as a "poker shark", publishes a blog on the website offering his poker perspectives.

In an story Woods told often after September 11, he says that a month before that disastrous day he flew on an American airliner and overheard four "Arab-looking" men talking in adjacent seats. Deciding it was "blatantly obvious" they were planning to hijack the plane, he says he warned a flight attendant and one of the plane's pilots, but he put this traumatic incident out of his mind after the four men did not in fact try to hijack the plane. Woods says he reported the incident to the FBI after 9/11, and says he was "told unofficially, not by the FBI, but by someone else in a -- actually a higher level of government, believe it or not, just through a coincidence, through a mutual friend, that all four of them were terrorists involved" in the 9/11 attacks.

Politically, Woods has few kind words for Hollywood's liberal activists, and admired New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani so much that he lobbied to play Giuliani in the TV telling of his life story, Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story. He was an outspoken supporter of George W. Bush, and has said of Barack Obama that "this president is a true abomination." As punishment for his right-wing views in famously left-wing Hollywood, Woods said in 2013, "I don't expect to work again," but his acting career does not seem seriously in jeopardy.

His brother, Michael Woods, ran for Mayor of Warwick, Rhode Island as a Democrat in 2000 and again in 2004, but lost both elections.

Father: Gail Peyton Woods (Army intelligence officer, d. 1959)
Mother: Martha A. (Smith) Woods Dixon (daycare provider)
Brother: Michael Jeffrey Woods (video store owner, b. 1957, d. 26-Jul-2006 heart disease)
Girlfriend: Julie Wright
Wife: Kathryn Greko Morrison (costume designer, m. 1980, div. 1983)
Wife: Sarah Owen (horse trainer, b. 1963, cohabited 1985-89, m. 1989, div. 1990)
Girlfriend: Sean Young (actress, dated 1988)
Girlfriend: Julie Tesh (ex-wife of John Tesh, dated in early 1990s)
Girlfriend: Heather Graham (actress, dated 1992-93)
Girlfriend: Nicollette Sheridan (actress, b. 1963, dated 1995-96)
Girlfriend: Missy Crider (actress, b. 1974, dated and engaged 1997, broke up 2000)
Girlfriend: Lauren Holly (actress, dated 2000)
Girlfriend: Alexis Thorpe (actress, b. 1980, dated 2001)
Girlfriend: Lynn Oddo (actress, dated 2001)
Girlfriend: Dawn DeNoon (TV writer, dated in 2003)
Girlfriend: Ashley Madison (actress, b. 1986, dated 2006)

    High School: Pilgrim High School, Warwick, RI (1965)
    University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (dropped out)

    Theta Delta Chi Fraternity
    Hollywood Walk of Fame 15-Oct-1998 at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
    Emmy 1987 for Promise
    Emmy 1989 for My Name Is Bill W.
    Golden Globe 1987 for Promise
    Wedding: Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones (2000)
    Angioplasty Los Angeles (1-May-2006)
    Irish Ancestry
    Risk Factors: Gambling

    Shark Sebastian Stark (2006-08)

    Jamesy Boy (3-Jan-2014)
    White House Down (26-Jun-2013)
    Mary and Martha (1-Mar-2013) · Mary's Father
    Jobs (25-Jan-2013)
    Officer Down (22-Jan-2013)
    Straw Dogs (16-Sep-2011) · Tom Heddon
    Too Big to Fail (23-May-2011) · Richard S. Fuld, Jr.
    Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths (23-Feb-2010) [VOICE]
    Family Guy Presents: Something Something Something Dark Side (22-Dec-2009) · Himself [VOICE]
    An American Carol (3-Oct-2008)
    Surf's Up (7-Jun-2007) [VOICE]
    End Game (22-Mar-2006)
    Be Cool (4-Mar-2005)
    Pretty Persuasion (22-Jan-2005)
    Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (16-May-2004) · Himself
    This Girl's Life (7-Jul-2003) · Pops
    Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story (30-Mar-2003)
    Northfork (21-Jan-2003) · Walter O'Brien
    Mickey's House of Villains (3-Sep-2002) [VOICE]
    Stuart Little 2 (14-Jul-2002) [VOICE]
    John Q (15-Feb-2002) · Dr. Turner
    Race to Space (31-Oct-2001) · Wilhelm Von Huber
    Riding in Cars with Boys (19-Oct-2001) · Mr. Donofrio
    America: A Tribute to Heroes (21-Sep-2001) · Himself
    Scary Movie 2 (4-Jul-2001) · Fr. McFeely
    Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within (2-Jul-2001) · Gen. Hein [VOICE]
    Recess: School's Out (10-Feb-2001) [VOICE]
    Dirty Pictures (27-May-2000)
    Play It to the Bone (25-Dec-1999)
    Any Given Sunday (16-Dec-1999)
    The General's Daughter (18-Jun-1999)
    The Virgin Suicides (19-May-1999) · Mr. Lisbon
    True Crime (19-Mar-1999)
    Another Day in Paradise (15-Sep-1998)
    Vampires (15-Apr-1998)
    Contact (11-Jul-1997) · Michael Kitz
    Hercules (14-Jun-1997) [VOICE]
    Kicked in the Head (11-May-1997)
    Ghosts of Mississippi (20-Dec-1996)
    The Summer of Ben Tyler (15-Dec-1996)
    Killer: A Journal of Murder (6-Sep-1996)
    For Better or Worse (18-Feb-1996)
    Nixon (20-Dec-1995) · H. R. Haldeman
    Casino (22-Nov-1995) · Lester Diamond
    Indictment: The McMartin Trial (20-May-1995)
    The Specialist (7-Oct-1994) · Ned Trent
    Curse of the Starving Class (13-Sep-1994) · Weston Tate
    Next Door (4-Sep-1994)
    The Getaway (11-Feb-1994) · Jack Benyon
    Chaplin (25-Dec-1992) · Joseph Scott
    Citizen Cohn (22-Aug-1992)
    Diggstown (14-Aug-1992) · Gabriel Caine
    Straight Talk (3-Apr-1992) · Jack
    The Boys (15-Apr-1991)
    The Hard Way (8-Mar-1991) · John Moss
    Immediate Family (27-Oct-1989)
    My Name Is Bill W. (30-Apr-1989)
    True Believer (17-Feb-1989) · Eddie Dodd
    The Boost (23-Dec-1988)
    Cop (Mar-1988)
    Best Seller (25-Sep-1987) · Cleve
    In Love and War (16-Mar-1987)
    Salvador (23-Apr-1986) · Richard Boyle
    Badge of the Assassin (2-Nov-1985)
    Joshua Then and Now (17-May-1985)
    Cat's Eye (12-Apr-1985) · Morrison
    Against All Odds (2-Mar-1984)
    Once Upon a Time in America (17-Feb-1984)
    Videodrome (28-Jan-1983) · Max Renn
    Fast Walking (8-Oct-1982)
    Split Image (3-Oct-1982)
    Eyewitness (26-Aug-1981) · Aldo
    The Black Marble (7-Mar-1980)
    The Onion Field (7-Sep-1979) · Gregory Powell
    And Your Name Is Jonah (28-Jan-1979) · Danny Corelli
    The Gift of Love (8-Dec-1978)
    Holocaust (16-Apr-1978)
    The Choirboys (23-Dec-1977) · Harold Bloomguard
    Raid on Entebbe (9-Jan-1977)
    The Disappearance of Aimee (17-Nov-1976)
    Alex & the Gypsy (3-Oct-1976)
    Distance (21-Dec-1975)
    Night Moves (11-Jun-1975) · Quentin
    The Gambler (Oct-1974)
    The Way We Were (17-Oct-1973) · Frankie McVeigh
    Hickey & Boggs (20-Dec-1972)
    Footsteps (3-Oct-1972)
    The Visitors (2-Feb-1972)

Create a map starting with James Woods
Requires Flash 7+ and Javascript.

Do you know something we don't?
Submit a correction or make a comment about this profile

Copyright ©2019 Soylent Communications