Emmy-winning character actor Powers Boothe first gained national attention for his portrayal of Reverend Jim Jones, the crazed leader of the People's Temple cult, on the two-part CBS docudrama "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones" (1980; also called “The Mad Messiah”). He has since become a leading man in such TV projects as the TV series "Philip Marlowe, Private Eye" (1983-1986) and "Deadwood" (2004-2006), and the TV movies or miniseries "Family of Spies" (1990), "Wild Card" (1992), "True Women" (1997), "Joan of Arc" (1999) and "Attila" (2001). He also had the recurring role of Noah Daniels (2007) on FOX’s critically-acclaimed series "24."
On the big screen, Boothe has starred in such films as "Southern Comfort" (1981), "The Emerald Forest" (1985), "Tombstone" (1993), "Blue Sky" (1994), "Nixon" (1995), "U Turn" (1997), "Men of Honor" (2000), "Sin City" (2005) and "The Final Season" (2007). He will next be seen in an upcoming sequel to "Sin City," "Sin City 2." A true thespian, Boothe has played Shakespeare's “King Henry IV” and “Richard III” on stage.
“Hell, I've played as many guys who get the girl as I have heavies. I've done love scenes with Jessica Lange [Blue Sky] and Jennifer Lopez [U-Turn] and I won't kid you, they're fun.” Powers Boothe
This 6' 1½" actor is married to Pam Cole (Pamela Boothe). They have two children, one of whom is actress Parisse Ashley Boothe.
Childhood and Family:
In Snyder, Texas, Powers Allen Boothe was born on June 1, 1949, to Merrill Vestal Boothe and his wife Emily Kathryn Reeves. Boothe, who is of Native American ancestry, was named after a friend of his father's that was killed in World War II. He has two older brothers, Riley Vestal Boothe (born in August 1945) and Tommy Dale Boothe (born in October 1943). He is the cousin of Stephen and Kristin Morgan.
Boothe played football in high school until his senior year, when he quit to pursue acting. He was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity while attending Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) in San Marcos as an undergraduate. He earned his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from Southern Methodist University, in Dallas, Texas, in 1972.
On May 25, 1969, Boothe married his present wife, Pam Cole (Pamela Boothe). They have two children, daughter Parisse Ashley Boothe (actress; born on June 12, 1983) and son Preston Allen Boothe (born on August 13, 1989). Boothe has worked with daughter Parisse on “Deadwood” and in “The Final Season.”
Born on a farm in Snyder, the seat of Scurry County in west Texas, Boothe resides in Los Angeles where he raises racing quarter horses. He also collects private art, which includes western paintings of his friend and fellow actor Buck Taylor.
After studying at Southern Methodist University, Powers Boothe spent several years in regional theater. In 1969, he appeared as a Bolivian bandito in George Roy Hill's classic film starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”.
Receiving his Master of Fine Arts (MFA) from Southern Methodist University in 1972, Boothe went on to become a resident actor at the Oregon Shakespeare Company and appeared in such plays as “Henry IV, Part 2” (portraying Henry IV of England) and “Troilus and Cressida.”
In 1974, the aspiring actor made his New York stage debut in the Lincoln Center production of “Richard III.” Three years later, he appeared on screen in director Herbert Ross' romantic comedy film "The Goodbye Girl" (1977; starring Richard Dreyfuss, Marsha Mason, Quinn Cummings, and Paul Benedict), playing one of the actors in the production of "Richard III." In 1979, Boothe made his Broadway theater debut in a starring role in the one-act play written by James McLure, “Lone Star.”
Boothe began showing up in films and TV regularly in the early 1980s. He was cast in director William Friedkin's thriller starring Al Pacino, "Cruising" (1980), which is loosely based on the novel of the same name by New York Times reporter Gerald Walker, and gained national attention for his portrayal of Reverend Jim Jones in the two-part CBS docudrama "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones" (1980; also called “The Mad Messiah”). His performance in the miniseries that was based on Charles A. Krause's book "Guyana Massacre: The Eyewitness Account" won him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special.
Accepting his Emmy in 1980, Boothe said, "This is either the most courageous moment of my career or the stupidest...I also thought long and hard whether or not I would attend, but I came here because this is America and one must do what one believes. I believe in the Academy. I also believe in my fellow actors in their stand."
Following his Emmy win, Boothe starred as Corporal Hardin, a cynical transfer from the Texas National Guard, in Walter Hill's war drama "Southern Comfort" (1981), and played the title role in the HBO detective show "Philip Marlowe, Private Eye" (1984-1986), for which he was nominated for a CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Presentation. He also starred opposite Meg Foster in John Boorman's true story-based film set in the Brazilian Rainforest, "The Emerald Forest" (1985), and was nominated for another CableACE Award, this time for Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries, for his turn as a father searching for his missing daughter in the HBO powerful and moving drama, "Into the Homeland" (1987).
Entering the 1990s, Boothe starred as master spy John A. Walker Jr., in the fact-based CBS miniseries "Family of Spies: The Walker Spy Ring" (1990). He then portrayed a former preacher turned professional gambler in the USA Network thriller movie inspired by Ted Thackrey Jr.'s book, "Wild Card" (1992), and appeared in Kurt Russell's Western film "Tombstone" (1993). For his role in the latter film, Boothe was trained by renowned Hollywood gun coach Thell Reed, who has also trained such actors as Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Bill Paxton, Sam Elliot, Michael Biehn, Brad Pitt, Girard Swan and Leonardo DiCaprio. Boothe subsequently acted opposite Jessica Lange and Tommy Lee Jones in Tony Richardson's Academy Award-winning romantic drama "Blue Sky" (filmed in 1990; released in 1994), and portrayed Alexander Haig in Oliver Stone's Academy Award nominated biopic "Nixon" (1995; starring Anthony Hopkins).
During the late 1990s, Boothe co-starred as Tina Majorino's brother-in-law in the CBS miniseries based on a 1993 novel by Janice Woods Windle, "True Women" (1997; also featuring Dana Delany, Annabeth Gish, and Angelina Jolie). He also teamed up again with Oliver Stone for his drama film based on the book "Stray Dogs" by John Ridley, "U Turn" (1997; with Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, and Jennifer Lopez), and had a featured role as Jacques D'Arc in the CBS two-part television miniseries about the 15th century Catholic Saint, "Joan of Arc" (1999; starring Leelee Sobieski).
The new millennium saw Boothe co-star in George Tillman, Jr.'s biographical drama about Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, the first African-American Master Diver in the United States Navy, "Men of Honor" (2000; alongside Robert De Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr.) and portray Roman General Flavius Aetius in USA Network's historical miniseries "Attila" (2001; opposite Gerard Butler).
From 2004 to 2006, Boothe played Cy Tolliver in the critically acclaimed HBO series "Deadwood." Along with the show's cast members that included Timothy Olyphant, Ian McShane, Molly Parker, John Hawkes, Jim Beaver, and Brad Dourif, Boothe was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Boothe also starred in Miller and Robert Rodriguez's film adaptation of comic book icon Frank Miller's "Sin City" (2005). The following year, Boothe was presented with a Golden Boot Award by the Motion Picture and Television Fund for his contributions to the Western genre.
In 2007, Boothe joined the cast of FOX’s critically acclaimed series starring Kiefer Sutherland, "24," in the recurring role of Noah Daniels, the Vice President to U.S. President Wayne Palmer (played by D.B. Woodside). Describing his “24” character, Boothe said, “I don't think he's misguided at all. You had a nuke go off in California and people are sitting around wringing their hands. He feels like he has to do something. Rather than having an agenda, I think he feels a tremendous burden to save the country, no matter what it takes.”
During this time, he continued working in films and appeared in David M. Evans' baseball drama "The Final Season" (2007; with Sean Astin and Jesse Henecke), Tanner Beard's 34-minute short Western film "Mouth of Caddo" (2008), and Neil Burns' animated movie "Edison and Leo." He also provided the voice of Roland Kane in the latest installment of the video game based on the Acclaim Entertainment's comic series, "Turok" (2008).
Boothe is set to appear in an upcoming sequel to "Sin City," "Sin City 2."
“I've been fortunate in my career to have the opportunity to pick and choose the parts I play. I've also been lucky to always be involved with quality actors, quality directors, quality writers.” Powers Boothe
Motion Picture and Television Fund: Golden Boot, 2006
Emmy: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Special, "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones," 1980