James Brolin: Hollywood Icon
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James Brolin, born Craig Kenneth Bruderlin on July 18, 1940, in Los Angeles, California, is an acclaimed American actor, producer, and director. Renowned for his versatile roles in television and film, Brolin has won two Golden Globes and an Emmy, and he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998.

 

Brolin's Early Life and Background

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James Brolin, originally named Craig Kenneth Bruderlin, was born on July 18, 1940, in Los Angeles, California. He is the eldest of two brothers and two sisters, born to Helen Sue, a housewife, and Henry Hurst Bruderlin, a building contractor. During his childhood, Brolin developed a keen interest in animals and model airplanes, which he began building and flying at the age of 10. His fascination with aviation continued into his teenage years. Brolin attended University High School in West Los Angeles, where he met fellow actor Ryan O'Neal, who would become a significant influence on his early career. Despite his initial shyness, Brolin's confidence grew through his interactions with O'Neal and his exposure to the acting world. This early encouragement from his family and friends set the stage for his future success in Hollywood.
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Brolin's Early Career Milestones

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At the age of 20, James Brolin changed his surname from "Bruderlin" to "Brolin" to avoid confusion with another actor and to create a more memorable stage name. Brolin began his career with small roles in television series, making his debut in an episode of Bus Stop in 1961. This initial role led to appearances in other TV productions such as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Margie, Love, American Style, Twelve O'Clock High, and The Long, Hot Summer. He also made three guest appearances on the popular 1960s series Batman, alongside Adam West and Burt Ward, and had roles in The Virginian and Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law. Brolin's first significant film role came in The Cape Town Affair (1967), although it did not achieve box office success. Despite this setback, he continued to secure roles in various films, including Take Her, She's Mine (1963), Dear Brigitte (1965), Von Ryan's Express (1965), and Fantastic Voyage (1966). His persistence paid off when he co-starred in the TV series Marcus Welby, M.D. in 1969, portraying Dr. Steven Kiley, a role that would become one of his most iconic.
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James Brolin's Iconic Roles in Television

James Brolin has had a distinguished career in television, marked by several iconic roles that have left a lasting impact on audiences. Below is a list of some of his most memorable television roles:
  • Dr. Steven Kiley in Marcus Welby, M.D. (1969-1976): Brolin's portrayal of the young and compassionate Dr. Steven Kiley earned him widespread recognition and two Golden Globe Awards.
  • Peter McDermott in Hotel (1983-1988): As the suave and capable general manager of the St. Gregory Hotel, Brolin captivated viewers and solidified his status as a television star.
  • John Short in Life in Pieces (2015-2019): Brolin's role as the patriarch of the Short family showcased his comedic talents and endeared him to a new generation of fans.
  • Narrator in Sweet Tooth (2021-2024): Brolin lent his distinctive voice to this popular series, adding depth and gravitas to the storytelling.
These roles highlight Brolin's versatility and enduring appeal in the television industry.
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James Brolin Overview

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James Brolin's Screen Test for James Bond

In 1983, James Brolin was on the verge of becoming the first American actor to portray James Bond. With Roger Moore contemplating retirement from the iconic role, producer Cubby Broccoli conducted screen tests with Brolin, including scenes where he engaged in a fight and seduced a woman, the latter being a staple from Sean Connery's "From Russia with Love" used in Bond auditions. Brolin was ultimately cast, and preparations were underway for him to move to England for filming. However, Moore decided to return for "Octopussy," leading to Brolin's departure from the role. Despite the disappointment, Brolin reflected positively on the experience, noting the excitement and opportunities it brought him, even if briefly.
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The Influence of James Dean on Brolin's Career

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As a teenaged filmgoer in the mid-1950s, James Brolin was particularly fascinated with actor James Dean, and he began shooting 8 mm films. Dean's short but impactful career, starring in only three major films before his tragic death in a car accident in 1955, had a profound influence on the young Brolin. This early admiration for Dean's work likely inspired Brolin to pursue acting as a career, despite his natural shyness.
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Hollywood Icon James Brolin

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Brolin's Filmography

James Brolin's extensive filmography showcases his versatility and talent across various genres in both television and film. Below is a concise overview of some of his notable works:
YearTitleRoleNotes
1969-1976Marcus Welby, M.D.Dr. Steven KileyTV Series, Golden Globe-winning role
1972SkyjackedSgt. Jerome K. WeberFilm
1973WestworldJohn BlaneFilm
1983-1988HotelPeter McDermottTV Series
2000TrafficGeneral Ralph LandryFilm
2002Catch Me If You CanJack BarnesFilm
2015-2019Life in PiecesJohn ShortTV Series
2022LightyearEmperor ZurgFilm
Brolin's career spans decades, with significant roles in both television series and major films, earning him critical acclaim and numerous awards.
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Brolin's Awards and Honors

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James Brolin's career has been marked by numerous awards and honors, reflecting his talent and contributions to the entertainment industry. Below is a list of some of his most notable accolades:
  • Golden Globe Awards
    • Won Best Supporting Actor - Television for "Marcus Welby, M.D." (1971, 1973).
    • Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series - Drama for "Hotel" (1984, 1985).
    • Nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television (2004).
  • Primetime Emmy Awards
    • Won Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama for "Marcus Welby, M.D." (1970).
    • Nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Drama for "Marcus Welby, M.D." (1971, 1972, 1973).
    • Nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie (2004).
  • Screen Actors Guild Awards
    • Won Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture for "Traffic" (2001).
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame
    • Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on August 27, 1998.
  • Hollywood Film Festival
    • Won Hollywood Discovery Award for Best Feature Film (Over $1 million) (1997).
These awards highlight Brolin's versatility and enduring impact in both television and film.
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Brolin's Marriages and Children

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James Brolin has been married three times and has three children, including actor Josh Brolin. His first marriage was to Jane Cameron Agee from 1966 to 1984, during which they had two children, Josh and Jess. He then married Jan Smithers in 1986, and they had one daughter, Molly, before divorcing in 1995. In 1998, Brolin married singer and actress Barbra Streisand, and they have been together since. Beyond his acting career, Brolin had a brief stint in sports car racing in the late 1970s, participating in events such as the 24 Hours Nürburgring.
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Brolin's Recent News and Projects

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James Brolin continues to remain active in the entertainment industry, with recent news highlighting his ongoing projects and personal milestones. Below is a summary of the latest updates:
  • Television and Film Projects: Brolin has been involved in various television and film projects, including his role as the Narrator in the series "Sweet Tooth" and his voice role as Emperor Zurg in the 2022 film "Lightyear".
  • Interviews and Appearances: He has given exclusive interviews and made appearances on platforms like Entertainment Tonight, discussing his career and personal life.
  • Personal Life: Brolin and his wife, Barbra Streisand, continue to be a prominent couple in Hollywood, often making headlines for their enduring relationship and public appearances.
  • Awards and Recognition: Brolin's contributions to the industry are frequently acknowledged, with recent retrospectives and honors celebrating his extensive career.
These updates reflect Brolin's sustained influence and presence in the entertainment world.
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Closing Thoughts

James Brolin's career exemplifies the journey of a seasoned actor who has successfully navigated the evolving landscape of the film and television industry. As a 21st-century American male actor, Brolin has demonstrated remarkable versatility, transitioning seamlessly between major roles in films and television series, as well as taking on minor roles that showcase his range and dedication to the craft. His ability to adapt to various genres and formats has solidified his status as a respected figure in Hollywood, inspiring both his contemporaries and the next generation of actors.
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