General purpose actor James Wainwright was born in Illinois in 1938 and discovered he had artistic talent at a young age, landing a scholarship at Carnegie University. This active pursuit was all but dissipated when he decided to join the Marines. Following his honorable discharge, he made do with a number of unskilled jobs until he found an interest in another area of the fine arts -- acting. He auditioned and earned a seat as a student at the Actors' Studio, then proceeded to migrate West in the late 60s to pursue film and TV stardom.Initially cast as a ruthless heavy, his image was redeemed somewhat after landing a recurring role in 1969 on the already-established TV program "Daniel Boone" (1964). In 1972, he fronted in his own weekly series "Jigsaw" (1972) as dogged Lt. Frank Dain of the California State Police Department's Bureau of Missing Persons--a man who didn't always play by the rules. What could have been his ticket to TV stardom barely lasted a season. In years to come he was seen in secondary support to a number of Oscar-winning cinema stars, notably Clint Eastwood in Joe Kidd (1972), George Kennedy in the prison drama Mean Dog Blues (1978) and Walter Matthau and Robin Williams in The Survivors (1983). He also appeared in a number of mini-movies, particularly that of a younger J. Edgar Hoover who grows up to be bulldog Broderick Crawford in The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover (1977), and guested on the more popular shows including "Cannon," "The Fall Guy," "Dynasty," "Magnum P.I.," "Hardcastle & McCormick" and "Hunter."In his second TV series he reverted back to playing the heavy as an unstable scientist who invents and unleashes humanistic robots to take over the world in "Beyond Westworld" (1980). Based on the popular 1973 Yul Brynner movie, the program was very short-lived. Following additional episodic work on TV, as well as the lowbudget action film Mission Manila (1987), Wainwright left the screen. Little was heard from or about the actor until his reported death from lung cancer on December 20, 1999 at age 61.
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