Rugged-looking James Gammon first broke into the entertainment industry not as an actor but as a TV cameraman. From there, his weatherbeaten features, somewhat menacing attitude and a tough-as-nails voice--the kind that used to be described in detective novels as "whiskey-soaked"--reminiscent of '40s noir icon Charles McGraw got him work in front of the cameras in TV westerns (though he sounds as if he's from Texas or Oklahoma, he was actually born and raised in Illinois) and he made his film debut in 1967. Not the kind of guy you'd see in a tuxedo in a Noel Coward drawing-room comedy--unless he was one of a gang holding them up--Gammon could play lighter parts also, as evidenced by his work as the coach in the baseball comedy Major League (1989) and in his regular role as Don Johnson's rambunctious father in Johnson's "Nash Bridges" (1996) series.
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