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James Woods (1947)

James Howard Woods

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James Howard Woods is an American film, stage and television actor. Woods is known for starring in critically acclaimed films such as Once Upon a Time in America, Salvador, Nixon, Ghosts of Mississippi, Casino, and in the television legal drama Shark. He has won three Emmy Awards, and has gained two Academy Award nominations. He is also well known for appearing several times in the comedy animated series Family Guy, as well as the voice of Hades in Disney's Hercules.


 early life
Woods was born in Vernal, Utah. His father, Gail Peyton Woods, was an army intelligence officer who died in 1960 following routine surgery. His mother, Martha A. (née Smith), operated a pre-school after her husband's death and later married Thomas E. Dixon. Woods grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island, where he attended Pilgrim High School.

Woods chose to pursue his undergraduate studies at MIT, where he majored in political science . While at MIT, Woods pledged to Theta Delta Chi Fraternity. He was also an active member of the student theatre group "Dramashop" where he both acted in and directed a number of plays. He dropped out of MIT 1969 before his graduation in order to pursue a career in acting. Woods has said that he became an actor because of the father of actor Ben Affleck, Tim Affleck, who was a stage manager at the Theatre Company of Boston while Woods was a student there.

Woods began his career in theatre, making his Broadway debut in 1970 at the Lyceum Theatre in the first US production of Frank McMahon's Borstal Boy. He returned to Broadway the following year portraying David Darst in Daniel Berrigan's The Trial of the Catonsville Nine. In 1971 he portrayed Bob Rettie in the American premiere of Michael Weller's Moonchildren at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. The production moved to Broadway the following year and Woods won a Theatre World Award for his performance. He returned to Broadway in 1973 to portray Steven Cooper in the original production of Jean Kerr's Finishing Touches. Since then he has worked regularly as an actor, producer, director, and writer for film and television.

Woods is a prominent Hollywood character actor. He is known for his dark, intense characters, an early example being his portrayal of a sadistic murderer in 1979's The Onion Field and of serial killer Carl Panzram in 1994's Killer: A Journal of Murder. He appeared in an episode of The Rockford Files, playing a son whose parents were murdered and wanted James "Jim" Rockford to find the murderer. He was nominated for an Academy Award twice: the first in 1987 for Best Actor in Salvador and again in 1996 for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Byron De La Beckwith in Ghosts of Mississippi. He garnered critical praise for his voice work as Hades in Disney's Hercules. His favorite role, however, is Max, the domineering gangster in Sergio Leone's epic film Once Upon a Time in America .

In 1995, Woods took the role of pimp Lester Diamond in Martin Scorsese's Casino. That same year, he portrayed H.R. Haldeman in Nixon, the biopic of Richard M. Nixon directed by Oliver Stone.

He was briefly considered for the role of The Joker by Tim Burton and Sam Hamm for the 1989 film Batman. Hamm recalls that he and Burton thought, "James Woods would be good and wouldn't need any makeup, which would save a couple of hours' work every morning." The role ended up going to Jack Nicholson. Quentin Tarantino wrote a part in Reservoir Dogs with Woods in mind, but Woods' agent rejected the script without showing it to the actor. When Woods learned of this some time later, he fired the agent. Woods was also considered for the part of Donald Kimball in American Psycho, but he turned it down. The part was given to Willem Dafoe.

Woods lent his voice again in Disney's 2001 animated comedy Recess: School's Out as antagonist Phillium Benedict, the twisted former headmaster who attempts to abolish summer vacation. He also appears as a fictional version of himself in the episode of The Simpsons entitled "Homer and Apu" and in four episodes of Family Guy entitled "Peter's Got Woods", "Back to the Woods", "Brian Griffin's House of Payne, and "And Then There Were Fewer". Woods also appeared in the Family Guy episode "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side" , but not as himself. Other references in Family Guy include the local high school, James Woods High School, and a forest briefly mentioned in "The Fat Guy Strangler" named James Woods. In 2004, Woods played the character Jallak in the animated film Ark. In the movie Surf's Up, he voices the animated otter who recruits surfers and pits them against each other, and he voices the falcon in Stuart Little 2.

In 2006, Woods starred opposite Cuba Gooding, Jr. in the political thriller End Game. Also in 2006, Woods played himself in the premiere episode of Entourage's third season. He stars in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas as Mike Toreno.

Woods also starred in the CBS legal drama TV series Shark, which ran for two seasons between 2006 and 2008. He played an infamous defense lawyer who, after growing disillusioned when his client commits a murder, becomes a successful prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.

In 2011, Woods appeared as Richard S. Fuld, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers, in HBO's Too Big to Fail, for which he gained an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Mini-series or Movie.

 personal life
During a press interview for Kingdom Hearts II, Woods noted that he is an avid video game player.

Woods is an active dealer of antiques in Rhode Island.

Woods plays on the World Poker Tour in the Hollywood Home games for the American Stroke Association charity. In 2006, he finished in 24th place out of 692 at the L.A. Poker Classic for $40,000. Woods has shared an endorsement for the online poker website Hollywood Poker which is run in conjunction with Ongame Network, and "co hosted" with poker enthusiast Vince Van Patten. He plays poker at Hollywood Poker and contributes content to the website.

In 1988, Woods sued Sean Young for $2 million, accusing her of stalking him after they appeared together in the movie The Boost. Young later countered that he had overreacted after she had spurned his advances on set. The suit was settled out of court in 1989 when Woods paid Sean Young $250,000.

On July 26, 2006, Woods' younger brother, Michael Jeffrey Woods, died from cardiac arrest at the age of 49. James Woods sued Kent Hospital in Warwick, Rhode Island, alleging negligence. The suit was settled in 2009.

Woods was a vocal supporter of former U.S. President George W. Bush and the Iraq War, though he is still a registered Democrat. He is a particularly ardent supporter of former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani. Woods lobbied hard to play Giuliani in the biopic Rudy: The Rudy Giuliani Story, and considers the role one of the favorites of his career. In 2008, Woods appeared in David Zucker's right-leaning comedy film An American Carol, along with Republican-leaning actors Kelsey Grammer, Dennis Hopper, and Jon Voight.

Woods's name was in an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times that condemned Hamas and Hezbollah and supported Israel in the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "James Woods", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.