Childhood & Early Years
James Roday was born as James David Rodriguez on April 4, 1976 in San Antonio Texas. His father Jaime Rodriguez, a retired Air Force Master Sergeant, is of Mexican descent. His mother Irene Rodriguez, is of British descent. From his father’s second marriage, he has a half-sister named Lisette Rodriguez.
One day, when James Roday was in the fifth grade, he saw Michael Jackson’s music video, ‘Thriller’. It inspired him so much that he told his father that he would one day become an actor. Realizing that he was serious, his parents enrolled him into piano and voice lessons.
James Roday also wanted to become a footballer and was a quarterback in high school. He had to give up his sporting ambition, when he realized that he would never grow very tall because of his predominantly Mexican heritage, and it might have hindered his career.
In 1994, he graduated from William Howard Taft High School, San Antonio. Thereafter, he joined the Experimental Theatre Wing at the Tisch School of the Arts, ‘New York University’, earning his bachelor's degree in fine arts from there in 1997.
During his college years, he was the lead vocalist and keyboard player for the band ‘Dogberry’ and recorded a single called ‘24 Hours’. He also appeared in numerous talent contests, never losing any.
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James Roday began his career on stage, appearing in plays like ‘Three Sisters’, ‘A Respectable Wedding’ and ‘Severity’s Mistress’, etc. Although he later became a screen actor, he retained his connection with theater throughout his life. Most notably, he starred in the production of ‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit’ in 2016.
He registered with the ‘Screen Actors’ Guild’ in 1998. Since there was already a James Rodriguez registered with them, he chose James Roday as his profession name after a character in the play ‘Three Sisters’.
Roday made his film debut in 1999 with a side role in the romantic comedy film, ‘Coming Soon’. Later that year, he also debuted on television, appearing as Vic in the crime drama ‘Ryan Caulfield: Year One’.
He received his first lead role in 2000, when he appeared as Bruce Arm / Agent Johnny in the short film ‘Believe’. It was followed by more character roles in television productions like ‘Get Real’ (2000), ‘First Years’ (2001) and ‘Providence’ (2002). He also worked in films like ‘Thank Heaven’ (2001) and ‘Showtime’ (2002).
In 2002, Roday appeared in his second lead role, starring as Max in the adult-comedy film ‘Repli-Kate’. It was followed by ‘Rolling Kansas’ (2003), in which he starred as Dick Murphy. In 2003, he appeared as Nick Paine, one of the leading roles in the extremely popular television series ‘Miss Match’.
He got another major role in 2005, appearing as racing star Billy Prickett in the buddy-comedy film ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’. However, his biggest break came a year later when he was chosen to star as Shawn Spencer in the detective comedy-drama television series, 'Psych'.
‘Psych’ ran for eight seasons, making him very popular among the viewers. Concurrently, he continued to appear in other productions like ‘Fear Itself’ (2008) ‘Garner’ (2009), ‘Love Bites’ (2011) and ‘Mr. Payback’ (2013). Apart from these, he also appeared on ‘WWE Tough Enough’ in 2011 and ‘WWE Raw Super Show’ in 2012).
Roday started directing, producing and occasionally writing scripts for ‘Psyche’. Thereafter, he continued to write and direct a number of productions, such as ‘Shoot the Moon’ (2014), ‘Quest for Truth’ (2015), ‘Gravy’ (2015), ‘Rosewood’ (2015 - 2016), ‘Rush Hour’ (2016), etc.
In 2017, he once again reprised the role of Shawn Spencer in ‘Psyche: The Movie’, for which he was served as the writer and executive producer. He again wrote, produced and acted ‘Psyche, The Movie 2’ in 2019.
Currently, he is playing the role of Gary Mendez in ‘A Million Little Things'. Some other films and television productions, in which he appeared in the late 2010s were ‘Fortune Rookie' (2018), 'The Buddy Games' (2019) and ‘Berserk’ (2019). Among his directorial ventures of this period were ‘Blood Drive’, ‘The Resident’ and ‘Into the Dark’.