Marcus, Welby, M.D
Two-time Golden Globe Award winning and Emmy Award winning American television, film, character actor, producer, and director James Brolin became famous and gained recognition with his star-making turn as Dr. Steven Kiley on the ABC long-running series “Marcus Welby, M.D” (1969-1976). The role brought him his Emmy Award and Golden Globe Awards. Seven years later, he successfully returned to the small screen as general manager Peter McDermott on the 1983-1988 series “Hotel,” where he picked up two Golden Globe nominations. More recently, in 2003, the lanky actor, who was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998, charmed both critics and audiences alike with his role as Ronald Reagan in the controversial television film The Reagans. Delivering a notable performance, he took home Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
As a film actor, after appearing in a number of unsuccessful projects, Brolin finally scored a massive hit with the 1979 horror The Amityville Horror, which became the then-highest-grossing independent feature film to date. Except for Allison Anders’ Gas Food Lodging (1992), his later big screen outings were commonly dismissed by both audiences and critics until he joined Steven Soderberg in the 2000 ensemble drama Traffic, which gave him a SAG Award. Since then, he has enjoyed a reviving career. Other notable credits include Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can (2002), Master of Disguise (2002) and A Guy Thing (2003). He also has various roles in such upcoming projects as Joe Wehinger’s The American Standards (2007, also a producer), the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men (2007) and Richard Shepard’s Spring Break in Bosnia (2007).
Brolin made his feature directorial debut in My Brother’s War (1997), which was released direct-to-video. The movie won a Best Feature Film honor at the 1997 Hollywood Film Festival. He also directed several episodes of “Hotel” (1983-1988) and “Pensacola: Wings of Gold” (1997-2000).
As for his private life, Brolin has been married three times. He was married to Jane Cameron Agee from 1966 to 1984, and to actress Jan Smithers from 1986 to 1995. He married his current wife, singer-actress Barbra Streisand in 1998. From his first two marriages, he has three children, Josh Brolin (actor, born in 1968), Jess Brolin (born in 1972) and Molly Elizabeth (born in 1987).
Childhood and Family:
James Kenneth Bruderlin, who would later be popular as James Brolin, was born on July 18, 1940, in Los Angeles, California. His father, Henry Bruderlin, was an aeronautical engineer and his mother, Helen Bruderlin, was a singer. He has three siblings: Barbara, Sue and Brian. After his birth, the family relocated to the Westwood area of Los Angeles, where he grew up.
As a young child, James became interested in airplanes and animals. At age 10, he started creating model airplanes. Thanks to his meeting Ryan O’Neal, a fellow actor and classmate who invited him to a casting agency, and his parents’ encouragement, the teenaged James chose acting as his profession. He studied theater arts in both Santa Monica City College and the University of California in Los Angeles.
In 1966, James married Jane Cameron Agee, an aspiring actress at Twentieth Century Fox, and had two sons: Josh Brolin, on February 12, 1968, and Jess Brolin on February 7, 1972. However, the couple’s marriage ended in divorce in 1984 after18 years of marriage. In 1986, he married actress Jan Smithers, whom he met on the set of “Hotel” a year before. The two welcomed their daughter, Molly Elizabeth, on November 28, 1987, but later separated in 1995. James met singer-actress Barbra Streisand in 1996 and they became engaged in May the following year. The couple eventually shared wedding vows on July 1, 1998.
When James Brolin was 15, his parents invited Hollywood producer/director William Castle to dinner. Brolin’s self-confidence and teen-idol look soon impressed the director, who then invited the teen Brolin to audition for a movie role at Columbia Pictures. He failed to get the part. This encouraged him to study acting more diligently and in 1960, his hard work paid off when he was put under contract by 20th Century Fox. He made his television acting debut in an episode of ABC’s series “Bus Stop” in 1961 and kicked off his movie career two years later with an unaccredited part in the movie adaptation of Take Her, She’s Mine, which starred James Stewart. He went on to have minor parts in Fox features like Goodbye Charlie (1964), Von Ryan’s Express (1965, starred Frank Sinatra), Our Man Flint (1966) and Fantastic Voyage (1966). The actor, however, did not experience his first real break until he landed a small, but noticeable, recurring role on the 1966 TV series “The Monroes.” He graduated to a leading role in 1967 with director Robert D. Webb’s remake of The Cape Town Affair, opposite Jacqueline Bisset.
Disappointed with the slow development of his movie career, Brolin moved to Universal Studios, who soon cast him in his career-defining role of the highly trained young physician Steve Kiley in the medical drama “Marcus, Welby, M.D.,” which ran on ABC from 1969 to 1976. For his bravura acting, Brolin took home a 1970 Emmy in Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in the Drama category and two Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actor – Television, one in 1971 and the other in 1973. The role made the actor a TV star. Subsequently, he appeared in several television films, including Short Walk to Daylight (1972) and Trapped (1973), which became the highest-rated TV film of that season. He also appeared in movies like Skyjacked (1972) and Westworld (1973).
After the show departed the airwaves, Brolin tried to rebuild his film career. In 1976’s Gable and Lombard, he starred as Clark Gable, opposite Jill Clayburgh as Clark Lombard, but the performance failed to impress critics and audiences. Next, the actor starred in the horror The Car (1977) and the sci-fi thriller Capricorn One (1978), where he shared the screen with Elliott Gould. In 1979, he eventually experienced a blockbuster hit with The Amityville Horror, a horror helmed by Stuart Rosenberg.
In 1983, Brolin returned to series TV for a starring regular role as Peter McDermott, the general manager of the imaginary St. Gregory Hotel in San Francisco, on “Hotel.” During his five-year tenure on the show (from 1983 until its finale season in 1988), he enjoyed TV success by nabbing two Golden Globe nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series – Drama. Brolin also directed many episodes of “Hotel,” including 1988’s “Double Take” and 1987’s “Glass People.” Following the series’ cancellation, he found himself hosting the syndicated reality show “Reunion” (1990), which he followed with work on the syndicated miniseries “Voice of the Heart” (1990) and the CBS miniseries “And the Sea Will Tell” (1991), as well as two short-lived series, CBS’ soap “Angel Falls” (1993) and ABC’s “Extreme” (1995, as Reese Wheeler). Meanwhile, on the wide screen, he was memorable for his portrayal of a rebellious father in the Allison Anders-directed Gas Food Lodging (1992) before executive producing and starring in the film Paper Hearts (1993).
Following the failed pilot “California” (1997), a potential spin-off of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” the actor joined the cast of the syndicated series “Pensacola: Wings of Gold,” playing Lt. Col. Bill “Raven” Kelly. He played the role from 1997 until the show came to an end in 2000. While costarring on the show, he still found time to direct some of the episodes and made his feature directorial debut in the direct-to-video release My Brother’s War (1997), where he also played the starring role of John Hall. The movie won him a Hollywood Film Festival award for Best Feature Film.
Kicking off the 2000s, Brolin’s movie career received a boost when he teamed up with Benicio Del Toro, Jacob Vargas, Andrew Chavez and Michael Saucedo for the high-profile ensemble drama Traffic (2000), for director Steven Soderberg. Playing the small role of General Ralph Landry, he jointly earned a 2001 Screen Actors Guild for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture. He gained further popularity with his work in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can (2002), where he was cast as a wayward entrepreneur who gets in the middle of Leonardo DiCaprio’s family, and Chris Koch’s A Guy Thing (2003), portraying the shotgun toting dad of Selma Blair. He also appeared as Dana Carvey’s super-spy father in the comedy Master of Disguise (2002). In 2004, Brolin picked up Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for playing Ronald Reagan in the 2003 made-for-TV film The Reagans, opposite Judy Davis as Nancy Reagan.
Brolin played Robert Hatch in the comedy film The Alibi (2006) and Governor Conrad Welling in the television film Wedding Wars (2006). He will star as Jack Jennings in Joe Wehinger’s drama The American Standards (2007, also serves as producer) and appear with his son, Josh, and Tommy Lee Jones in the Coen brothers’ No Country for Old Men (2007). He also is working with director Richard Shepard for the upcoming Spring Break in Bosnia (2007), opposite Diane Kruger, Richard Gere and Terrence Howard. On the television front, Brolin is set to play Alyssa Milano’s father in the ABC drama pilot Reinventing the Wheelers (2007).