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Peter Francis James (born September 16, 1956) is an American actor and voice-over artist, distinguished by his strong baritone.

Peter Francis James
Born (1956-09-16) September 16, 1956 (age 62)
OccupationActor, voice-over artist
Years active1979–present
Jillian Nelson (m. 1995–2003)


Early lifeEdit

James was born September 16, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois, to David James and Mary Galloway James. He has five siblings.



James's acting career began in 1979, when he appeared in a version of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, starring Earle Hyman and Morgan Freeman.

He received his first Obie award for his portrayal of Claire in Jean Genet's The Maids. He received his second Obie award, a Drama Desk award, and the Lortel award for his portrayal of Colin Powell in Stuff Happens. He appeared as Oscar opposite Dame Maggie Smith in Edward Albee's The Lady from Dubuque at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, and reprised the role in New York, opposite Jane Alexander.

He was a featured player in Regina Taylor's play Drowning Crow, at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Film and televisionEdit

James played Raymond Parks, husband of Rosa Parks, in the television film The Rosa Parks Story in 2002. He had a recurring role as Judge Kevin Beck on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; and for playing Jahfree Neema in the HBO television series Oz. James has appeared in television series such as Gossip Girl, Law & Order: Criminal Intent (as Mr. Richmond), Law & Order, and Third Watch. In 2003, he took on the role of Clayton Boudreau on the daytime soap opera Guiding Light, a role he played until early 2004. In 2006, he returned for a single episode. In 2009, James returned to Guiding Light on a recurring basis.

His film roles include Double Platinum, Long Day's Journey into Night (1982). In 1990, he was in a television film of Hamlet, directed by Kevin Kline. He portrayed Thurgood Marshall in American Experience episode of "Simple Justice" (1993), and he played Isaac Coles in the miniseries The Wedding (1998).

Voice rolesEdit

He played the voice of Dr. J.S. Steinman in the video game BioShock, a game by Ken Levine. He has played in many minor role in films, such as appearing in movies like Joe Gould's Secret (2000) and Montana (1998).

He was the reader for the Recorded Books edition of Richard Wright's Native Son. The following biographical material appears on the 2000 audiobook of Mr. James's recording of Walter Mosley's Walking the Dog.

Personal lifeEdit

Peter teaches drama at Yale University.

He married Jillian Nelson in 1995.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
1991 The Cabinet of Dr. Ramirez Janitor
1998 Montana Lawrence
2000 Joe Gould's Secret Man at Party
2009 The Messenger Dr. Grosso
2009 The Rebound Doctor
2010 The Losers Fadhil
2011 Smoking/Non-Smoking Marc Forrest
2014 Song One Neurosurgeon
2017 Rough Night Uncle Jack


Year Title Role Notes
1982 Long Day's Journey Into Night Edmund Tyrone TV Film
1989–1991 As the World Turns Blake Stevens Unknown episodes
1993 American Experience Thurgood Marshall Episode: "Simple Justice"
1998 The Wedding Isaac Coles TV Film
1998 Ruby Bridges Dr. Broyard TV Film
1998 New York Undercover Mr. Connel
1999 Double Platinum Martin Holly TV Film
2000 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Judge Kevin Beck 5 episodes
2000 Love Song Alfred Livingston TV Film
2000 Third Watch Dr. Piskell
2002 The Rosa Parks Story Raymond Parks TV Film
2003 Oz Jahfree Neema 4 episodes
2003–2009 Guiding Light Clayton Boudreau  8 episodes
2008–2010 Law & Order Judge John Laramie 4 episodes
2012 Svetlana Barack Obama
2012 Royal Pains Mackintosh
2013 Boardwalk Empire Oliver Crawford
2014 The Mysteries of Laura Titus Bosch
2015 Arrow Dr. Aldus Boardman Episode: "Heroes Join Forces"
2016 Legends of Tomorrow
2018 Madam Secretary Cyril Quist


Year Title Role
2007 Bioshock Dr. J.S. Steinman
2018 Red Dead Redemption 2 Shaman


  1. ^ Brady, Lois Smith (1 October 1995). "VOWS;Jillian Nelson, Peter F. James" – via

External linksEdit