James Brolin is a famous American actor, producer, and director who works in films and television series. He is the father of actor Josh Brolin. Over the course of his long and productive career, he has appeared in many significant films, such as ‘Traffic,’ ‘The Hunting Party,’ and ‘Lost City Raiders.’ For his marvelous performance, Brolin has won several awards, including two ‘Golden Globe Awards’ and an ‘Emmy Award.’ He has also received a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame’ and can be regarded as one of Hollywood’s finest and most successful actors. Born in Los Angeles, California, United States, Brolin developed an interest in acting as a teenager. Initially, he appeared in supporting roles in several television shows. His first significant role on television was in the American medical drama series ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’ in which he played a main role. His performance as ‘Dr. Steven Kiley’ received great appreciation and won him his first award. His successful television career helped him land film roles, and it was not long before he established himself as a much sought after film actor.
Childhood & Early Life
James Brolin was born Craig Kenneth Bruderlin on 18 July 1940, in Westwood Village, Los Angeles, California, USA. His father Henry Hurst Bruderlin worked as a building contractor. His mother Helen Sue was a housewife. He had a brother and two sisters.
As a child, he was interested in animals and airplanes. He developed an interest in acting during his teenage years, after being inspired by popular actor James Dean. He also developed a friendship with future actor Ryan O’Neal, with whom he attended ‘University High School.’ In 1958, he graduated from high school.
As his interest in acting grew, his parents and Ryan encouraged him to pursue his passion. Thus, he enrolled to study drama at the ‘University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA). During this time, he played various minor and supporting roles in several TV shows, including ‘Bus Stop,’ ‘Margie,’ ‘Valentine’s Day,’ ‘The Party Duke Show,’ and ‘Batman.’
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At the beginning of his acting career, Craig Kenneth Bruderlin adopted the screen name ‘James Brolin.’ His first significant film was ‘Von Ryan’s Express,’ a World War II adventure film, which released in 1965. The film, which was directed by Mark Robson, was about a group of Allied Soldiers and their daring attempt to hijack a train. Brolin appeared as ‘Soldier Private Ames.’
In 1967, he appeared in ‘The Cape Town Affair,’ a spy film about South African secret agents trying to save a confidential microfilm before the communists could get hold of it. Brolin played a main role, appearing as ‘Skip McCoy.’ The film received mostly negative reviews.
In 1969, he was cast in a popular television medical drama titled ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’ in which he played the lead role. He appeared as a young, talented assistant physician named ‘Dr. Steven Kiley,’ for which he received much appreciation. The series became one of the top-rated TV shows at the time. He won an ‘Emmy Award’ and a ‘Golden Globe Award’ for his performance.
Over the next few years, he appeared in several movies, such as ‘Skyjacked’ (1972), ‘Trapped’ (1973), ‘The Car’ (1977), ‘The Amityville Horror’ (1979), ‘Night of the Juggler’ (1980), and ‘High Risk’ (1981).
In the year 1983, he returned to television, appearing in the popular series ‘Hotel.’ His role as ‘Peter McDermott,’ a hotel manager who tries to help people solve their problems, was appreciated. The role earned him two ‘Golden Globe Award’ nominations.
Over the following years, he appeared in movies, such as ‘Deep Dark Secrets’ (1987), ‘Ted & Venus’ (1991), and ‘Parallel Lives’ (1994).
In the year 2000, he appeared in the hit crime drama ‘Traffic’ in which he portrayed a character named ‘General Ralph Landry.’ The film was a huge commercial success, grossing more than $200 million worldwide. It also won a few ‘Oscars.’
In 2003, James Brolin portrayed former American President Ronald Reagan in a popular three-hour television film titled ‘The Reagans.’ Directed by Robert Allen Ackerman, the film kindled controversy for its negative portrayal of Reagan. For his acting, Brolin was nominated for a ‘Golden Globe’ and a ‘Primetime Emmy Award.’
Over the following years, he played main roles as well as supporting roles in several popular movies, such as ‘The Alibi’ (2006), ‘The Hunting Party’ (2007), ‘Lost City Raiders’ (2008), ‘Standing Ovation’ (2010), ‘A Fonder Heart’ (2011), and ‘Accidental Love’ (2015).
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He was seen in the film ‘Sisters,’ a 2015 American comedy directed by Jason Moore. The same year, he also started appearing in the television series ‘Life in Pieces,’ playing a retired pilot named ‘John Bertram Short.’ The show ran till 2019. In 2019, he was also seen playing ‘Max’ in Rod McCall's drama film ‘Being Rose.’
His role in ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.,’ an American medical drama series where James Brolin played ‘Dr. Steven Kiley,’ was his first significant role for which he received much appreciation. The series, in which Brolin played a young doctor, was created by David Victor. The show, which ran for 172 episodes, won Brolin a ‘Golden Globe Award’ and an ‘Emmy Award.’
‘The Amityville Horror,’ a 1979 American horror film in which Brolin played the lead role, is among his most significant works. Directed by Stuart Rosenberg, the film also starred Margot Kidder, Rod Steiger, and Murray Hamilton. The story is based on the supernatural experiences of the Lutz family. The family had purchased a new house in Amityville, New York, where several murders were committed the previous year. The film received negative reviews from critics. However, it was a commercial success, grossing $86.4 million worldwide.
In the year 2000, Brolin appeared in the popular crime drama film ‘Traffic’ where he played the supporting role of ‘General Ralph Landry.’ Directed by Steven Soderbergh, the film explored the illegal drug trade. The film, which was inspired by real events, starred actors like Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle, Dennis Quaid, Jacob Vargas, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It received mostly positive reviews and won four ‘Oscars.’ The film was also a commercial success, grossing more than $200 million worldwide.
Awards & Achievements
James Brolin won the ‘Golden Globe Award’ for ‘Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film’ twice (1971 and 1973) for his role as ‘Dr. Steven Kiley’ in the TV series ‘Marcus Welby, M.D.’ He also won the ‘Primetime Emmy Award’ for ‘Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series’ for the same role.
In August 2016, this popular actor received a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame.’
Marriage & Love Life
James Brolin married Jane Cameron Agee in 1966. They had two children. The couple divorced in the year 1984. After nine years, Cameron passed away in a car accident.
Brolin’s second wife was Jan Smithers, whom he had married in 1986. The couple had a daughter. In 1995, Smithers filed for divorce.
Brolin fell in love with Barbra Streisand, a popular American singer, actress, and director, whom he married in 1998. Brolin currently resides with his wife in Malibu, California.