J.T. Walsh

Actor, Social worker, Teacher
A prolific and versatile character performer who excelled at playing the heavy, actor J. T. Walsh was once dubbed "everybody's favorite scumbag" by Playboy magazine and enjoyed a fruitful career until his life ... Read more »
Born: 09/27/1943 in San Francisco, California, USA


Actor (69)

C-16 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)


Hidden Agenda 1998 (Movie)


Pleasantville 1998 (Movie)

Big Bob (Actor)

The Negotiator 1998 (Movie)

Terence Niebaum (Actor)

Breakdown 1997 (Movie)

Red Barr (Actor)

Dark Skies 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)


Discovery Channel Eco-Challenge 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)


Executive Decision 1996 (Movie)

Senator Mavros (Actor)

Sling Blade 1996 (Movie)

Charles Bushman (Actor)

The Low Life 1996 (Movie)

Mike Sr (Actor)

The X-Files 1988 - 1989, 1993 - 1996 (Tv Show)


Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman 1988 - 1989, 1993 - 1995 (Tv Show)


Nixon 1995 (Movie)

John Ehrlichman (Actor)

Partners 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)


Sacred Cargo 1995 (Movie)


Star Struck 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)


The Babysitter 1995 (Movie)

Harry Tucker (Actor)

Birdland 1993 - 1994 (Tv Show)


Black Day Blue Night 1994 (Movie)

Lt John Quinn (Actor)

Blue Chips 1994 (Movie)

Happy (Actor)

L.A. Law 1988 - 1989, 1993 - 1994 (Tv Show)


Miracle on 34th Street 1994 (Movie)

Ed Collins (Actor)

Red Rock West 1994 (Movie)

Wayne (Actor)

Silent Fall 1994 (Movie)

Sheriff Mitch Rivers (Actor)

Some Folks Call It a Sling Blade 1994 (Movie)

Charles (Actor)

The Client 1994 (Movie)

McThune (Actor)

The Last Seduction 1994 (Movie)

Frank Griffith (Actor)

The Little Death 1994 (Movie)

Ted Hannon (Actor)

Charlie's Ghost Story 1993 (Movie)


Contact 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)


Morning Glory 1993 (Movie)

Sheriff Reese Goodloe (Actor)

National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 1993 (Movie)

Desk Clerk (Actor)

Needful Things 1993 (Movie)

Danforth Keeton III (Actor)

Sniper 1993 (Movie)

Chester Van Damme (Actor)

A Few Good Men 1992 (Movie)

Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Markinson (Actor)

Hoffa 1992 (Movie)

Fitzsimmons (Actor)

Backdraft 1991 (Movie)

Martin Swayzak (Actor)

Defenseless 1991 (Movie)

Steven Seldes (Actor)

Iron Maze 1991 (Movie)

Jack Ruhle (Actor)

The Prom 1991 (Movie)

Grover Dean (Actor)

True Identity 1991 (Movie)

Craig Houston (Actor)

Crazy People 1990 (Movie)

Charles F Drucker (Actor)

Narrow Margin 1990 (Movie)

Michael Tarlow (Actor)

The Grifters 1990 (Movie)

Cole (Actor)

The Russia House 1990 (Movie)

Quinn (Actor)

Why Me? 1990 (Movie)

Francis Mahoney (Actor)

Dad 1989 (Movie)

Dr Santana (Actor)

The Big Picture 1989 (Movie)

Allen Habel (Actor)

Wired 1989 (Movie)

Bob Woodward (Actor)

Sidney Sheldon's "Windmills of the Gods" 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)


Tequila Sunrise 1988 (Movie)

Maguire (Actor)

Things Change 1988 (Movie)

Hotel Manager (Actor)

Good Morning, Vietnam 1987 (Movie)

Sergeant Major Dickerson (Actor)

House of Games 1987 (Movie)

The Businessman (Actor)

On the Edge 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)


Tin Men 1987 (Movie)

Wing (Actor)

Hannah and Her Sisters 1986 (Movie)

Ed Smythe (Actor)

Hard Choices 1986 (Movie)

Deputy Anderson (Actor)

Power 1986 (Movie)

Jerome Cade (Actor)

Tough Cookies 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)


Crime of the Century (TV Show)


Gang in Blue (TV Show)


Hope (TV Show)


In the Shadow of a Killer (TV Show)


Persons Unknown (TV Show)


Right to Kill? (TV Show)

Writer (1)

California Myth 1999 (Movie)



A prolific and versatile character performer who excelled at playing the heavy, actor J. T. Walsh was once dubbed "everybody's favorite scumbag" by Playboy magazine and enjoyed a fruitful career until his life was cut short in 1998. Walsh came up in the theater world and had successful turns in several of David Mamet's plays before making the jump to the screen with antagonist roles in "Tin Men" (1987) and "Good Morning, Vietnam" (1987). He played con men in "House of Games" (1987) and "The Grifters" (1990), and stepped up to blockbusters with Ron Howard's "Backdraft" (1991). After delivering a fine turn in "A Few Good Men" (1992), he had one of his best performances as a salesman who makes a pact with the devil in "Needful Things" (1993). Walsh followed up by playing an attorney prosecuting Santa Claus in "Miracle on 34th Street" (1994) and Watergate co-conspirator John Erlichman in Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995). Poised for greater recognition, Walsh triumphed as an evil trucker in the taut thriller, "Breakdown" (1997), but was unable to enjoy the fruits of his success when he died of a heart attack early the next year. His last films, "The Negotiator" (1998) and "Pleasantville" (1998), were dedicated to his memory, all of which left friends and fans wondering what could have been.


Christopher Walsh

survived him

Mary Walsh

survived him

Patricia Walsh

survived him

John West

born c. 1974 survived him


University of Rhode Island

Kingston , Rhode Island

attended a Jesuit boarding school in Ireland



Final film appearances in "Pleasantville" and "The Negotiator"


TV series debut as regular on NBC's sci-fi-themed "Dark Skies"


Played John Erlichman in Oliver Stone's "Nixon"


Featured in Dahl's "The Last Seduction"


First collaboration with John Dahl, "Red Rock West"


Appeared in the feature "A Few Good Men"


Appeared in Mamet's feature directorial debut, "House of Games"


Co-starred in "Good Morning, Vietnam"


First screen role, a deputy in "Hard Choices"


Breakthough stage role in Mamet's "Glengarry Glen Ross"


First film apearance, bit part in "Eddie Macon's Run"


TV-movie debut, "Little Gloria . . . Happy at Last" (NBC)


First collaboration with David Mamet, an Off-Broadway production of "American Buffalo"


Quit job as salesman and began acting at age 30

Changed name to J.T. after a theater misprinted his initials

Raised in Germany, Ireland and Newport, RI

Worked at various jobs, including teacher, social worker and journalist

Bonus Trivia


"There's no government work in acting--everyone's out there, their ass in the breeze, they're trying their best. And that atmosphere is the best in which to work." --Walsh quoted in DAILY NEWS, August 31, 1993


"Every part is a character part. Some of them allow me to live inside someone else's skin for a while; others are what I call surface parts or finger parts, someone who's there only to tell you something about the story." --Walsh qutoed in USA TODAY, April 5, 1995


"My motto has always been, Do whatever comes next." --Walsh in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, August 23-30, 1996