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Overview for Brion James
Brion James

Brion James


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Also Known As: Brion Howard James Died: August 7, 1999
Born: February 20, 1945 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Beaumont, California, USA Profession: Cast ... actor comic cook butler


A tall (6'3"), strapping and versatile character player of film and TV since the mid-1970s, Brion James, with his malicious smile and leering eyes, quickly became established playing oddball heavies, lowlifes and hicks in genre fare, notably in collaboration with action guru Walter Hill in "Hard Times" (1975), "The Driver" (1978), "Southern Comfort" (1981), "48 Hours" (1982) and "Another 48 Hours" (1990). He may be best known as Leon, a memorably murderous replicant who gives Harrison Ford a hard time in Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" (1982). James uttered one of the films most memorable lines: "Wake up ... time to die!"

James grew up watching movies in a theater owned by his father in his native Beaumont, California. He moved to NYC where he worked as a cook/butler for celebrated acting teacher Stella Adler. James also appeared in Off-Broadway productions and performed standup comedy. He returned to LA in 1973 and embarked on a full-time acting career. Within two years, James was landing regular assignments in TV and features. This busy and prolific character actor had appeared in over 100 TV shows and 70 features by 1994; his policy was to never turn down a job.

James points to his role as studio executive Joel Levison in Robert Altman's "The Player" (1992) as a career turning point that resulted in his getting cast in a much wider variety of roles. Be that as it may, five of his next six credits (all 1992-93) were direct-to-video thrillers. James' other feature credits include "Striking Distance" (1993), as a detective associate of Bruce Willis, and "Cabin Boy" (1994), as a tough and smelly fisherman.

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