Birth Date: October 26, 1954 / Age: 59
Birth Place: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Also Credited as: James Pickens
Biography: James Pickens Jr., is well known to viewers for his recurring roles on numerous television series, including "The X-Files," "NYPD Blue," "Philly," "The Practice" and "Six Feet Under." Most recently he starred opposite Rob Lowe in the ensemble drama "The Lyon's Den."
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, Pickens got his start in the New York theatre community. He starred as Walter Lee in the 25th anniversary production of "A Raisin in the Sun" at the Roundabout Theatre. He was a member of the famed Circle Rep/Steppenwolf Theatre Company co-production of "Balm and Gilead." In 1981 he performed with the historic Negro Ensemble Company in a production of "A Soldier's Play" with Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson.
In 1990 Pickens moved to the West Coast. His first big break was a guest spot on "Roseanne," which lead to a recurring role. Next was a recurring role on "Beverly Hills, 90210." Dozens of television roles soon followed, including a co-starring role in the TNT film, "A Slight Case of Murder," which starred Adam Arkin and James Cromwell and was written by William. H. Macy.
On the big screen, Pickens has been directed by some of the film industry's finest. His feature film credits include Steven Soderbergh's "Traffic," Oliver Stone's "Nixon" and Warren Beatty's "Bulworth." He's had roles in four Barry Levinson films -- "Liberty Heights," "Sphere," "Sleepers" and "Jimmy Hollywood."
He portrayed slain civil rights leader Medgar Evans in the acclaimed Rob Reiner-directed film, "Ghosts of Mississippi." He also played Angela Bassett's ex-husband, Walter, in "How Stella Got Her Groove Back." Other credits include the Hughes Brothers-directed film, "Dead Presidents," and "Gridlock'd," which was directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall and starred Tupac Shakur.
In his spare time Pickens can be found riding horseback and roping cattle. He is a member of the United States Team Roping Championship and competes in roping events across the country. He owns an American Quarterhorse named Smokey. Pickens and his wife, Gina, live in the San Fernando Valley. They have a son and a daughter.