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Also Known As: Chester Gann Died:
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Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A sturdy character actor prolific on stage, screen and television in both small and prominent supporting roles, James Gammon excelled most typically as weathered, rustic types ranging from lawmen to bartenders; from cowhands to military men. Gammon began in the entertainment field at age 19 when he landed a job operating a camera at a TV station in Orlando, FL. Community theater work led him to relocate to Los Angeles in the early 1960s to try his hand professionally, and soon thereafter he made his TV debut in a small guest role on the long-running Western drama series, "Gunsmoke" (CBS, 1955-1975).Gammon made his feature film debut in a bit part in the classic prison drama, "Cool Hand Luke" (1967). From his role as a killer in "Macon County Line" (1973) to a detective in "The McCullochs" (1975) and a bartender in "Any Which Way You Can" (1980), the esteemed actor carved a modest niche for himself in a good variety of salty character roles. Along with partner Timothy Scott, Gammon also founded the Met Theater in the early 1970s and ran it for more than a decade, winning LA Drama Critics awards for his direction of "Bus Stop" (1973) and for his performance in "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs"...

A sturdy character actor prolific on stage, screen and television in both small and prominent supporting roles, James Gammon excelled most typically as weathered, rustic types ranging from lawmen to bartenders; from cowhands to military men. Gammon began in the entertainment field at age 19 when he landed a job operating a camera at a TV station in Orlando, FL. Community theater work led him to relocate to Los Angeles in the early 1960s to try his hand professionally, and soon thereafter he made his TV debut in a small guest role on the long-running Western drama series, "Gunsmoke" (CBS, 1955-1975).

Gammon made his feature film debut in a bit part in the classic prison drama, "Cool Hand Luke" (1967). From his role as a killer in "Macon County Line" (1973) to a detective in "The McCullochs" (1975) and a bartender in "Any Which Way You Can" (1980), the esteemed actor carved a modest niche for himself in a good variety of salty character roles. Along with partner Timothy Scott, Gammon also founded the Met Theater in the early 1970s and ran it for more than a decade, winning LA Drama Critics awards for his direction of "Bus Stop" (1973) and for his performance in "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1974). Acting stints on "Bonanza" (NBC, 1959-1973) and "The Wild Wild West" (CBS, 1965-69) helped create an impressive resume of TV work and, through the '70s and early '80s, both the roles and the prominence of his projects steadily grew.

While Gammon continued to do fine theater work - as in the New York and L.A. productions of Sam Shepard's "A Lie of the Mind" - in the late 1980s, he also began to get more of a "familiar face" foothold on the big screen. One of his best film roles came as the sheriff pursuing an elusive and increasingly legendary "little man" wanted for murder in the fine "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez" (1983). Gammon has subsequently played supporting roles in such films as "Ironweed" (1987); "Major League" (1989), in which he famously portrayed team manager Lou Brown; "Crisscross" (1992) and "Wyatt Earp" (1994), and was especially fine as Horsethief Shorty in "The Milagro Beanfield War" (1988).

Gammon also took the plunge into series television with two interesting if short-lived comedies, "Bagdad Cafe" (CBS, 1990-91), as the scruffy resident artist Rudy, and "Middle Ages" (CBS, 1992), as part of the motley crowd of Chicago professionals reassessing their lives at the midway point. He had somewhat better luck when he joined the cast of the CBS cop drama "Nash Bridges" (CBS, 1996-2001), portraying the title character's (Don Johnson) father, despite being only nine years older than Johnson. On July 16, 2010, the 70-year-old actor passed away from cancer of the adrenal glands and the liver.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 The Amazing Mrs. Holliday (1943) Young farmer
2.
 China (1943) Japanese general
3.
 Crash Dive (1943) Waiter
4.
 China Girl (1943) Japanese officer
5.
 Salute to the Marines (1943) Japanese officer
6.
 Moontide (1942) ["Henry"] Hirota
7.
 Busses Roar (1942) Yamanito
8.
 The Tuttles of Tahiti (1942) Emily's servant
9.
 To the Shores of Tripoli (1942) Chinese man
10.
 Escape from Hong Kong (1942) Yamota
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