James Cromwell

Despite spending years honing his craft on stage and building a career on television and in film, actor James Cromwell spent the better part of two decades struggling to make his name in the shadow of his famous father, director John Cromwell. Though he found steady work on sitcoms like "All in the Family" (CBS, 1970-79) and on the big screen in films like "Murder by Death" (1976), Cromwell became so disillusioned trying to make it in show business that he spent 18 months trying to find himself; even hitchhiking across the Sahara Desert on his own. Cromwell began hitting his stride as a character actor in supporting roles in the 1980s, making his way in numerous made-for-television movies and miniseries, while earning some dubious acclaim as the nerdy father of an über-geek in "Revenge of the Nerds" (1984). He finally achieved critical acclaim and Academy Award recognition for his endearing performance in "Babe" (1995), which helped propel his career. But it was his portrayal of a murderous Machiavellian police captain in "L.A. Confidential" (1997) that made audiences aware of his diverse talents, which paved the way to more prominent roles in large-scale films like "The Green Mile" (1999), "The Sum of All Fears" (2002), "The Queen" (2006) and "W" (2008). He also landed high-profile television roles, most notably on "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05), which granted the ever-busy Cromwell the recognition he richly deserved.