When actor James Sloyan was a young boy, his parents took him from his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, to Europe, where he spent his youth living in several different countries. He returned to the United States at the age of 17 and began to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City on a scholarship. After studying for two years, he took a job with theater director and producer Joseph Papp and his New York Shakespeare Festival. In 1962, he was drafted into the army to fight in Vietnam. He returned after four years and went to work for Papp again, performing in 28 productions and choreographing all the stage fights. His first on-screen appearance came in 1970 with a role in the black comedy "The Traveling Executioner", which starred Stacy Keach. He made his first television appearance in 1972 on the crime drama "Madigan". From there, he took on many television roles, appearing on shows like the popular police dramas "Kojak" and "Hawaii Five-O", the sci-fi spinoff series "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", the action series "The Fall Guy", and family drama "Party of Five", where he played the recurring role of Avery Baltus, a family friend. In 1989, he became the voice of the the Lexus car company for its United States launch, a job he held until 2009.