Spotlight: Anthony James

Ron’s Amazing Stories had the pleasure of having Actor, Author and Artist Anthony James on the show. (RAS #155 – Acting My Face).  I have to say that I had a wonderful time talking with Anthony and enjoyed his book.  He was easy going, a thoughtful man with amazing stories to tell.  I would have him back on the program in heart beat.  My thanks to Anthony for coming on to the show.

My Amazon Review of his book:

I first heard of Anthony’s book when he agreed to come on to my podcast. I am excited to have the retired actor on my show and am looking forward to discussing his career. I hope to post an update to this review after the show has aired.
I of course knew who he was: A villain, slime ball and murderer. After all, his face says it all. I grew up watching television shows like Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Police Story, Hawaii 5-0 and many others. He was also in my all-time favorite western Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman. He sent me a copy of his book to read and I decided to get right to it. That turned out to be a great choice and it has me even more excited about the pending visit to my show. I knew when I read the opening paragraph that I was in for something different than your standard fare memoir. Several hours later I was finally able to stop reading and get food and water.
This book covers the life of a mother and a shy Greek boy who are tossed away by his father’s family. You will view the life of the amazing woman that molded Anthony, his mother. Their two stories intertwine throughout the book sharing their growth, both the highs and lows and their need for each other. You will experience his evolution as not just an actor, but artist, caregiver and friend. Anthony presents the famous as real people doing real things. This is not a tell all book, but at times you feel you are being let into the private sanctuary of Anthony’s thoughts. In one of my favorite scenes from the book Anthony is deposited at a small train depot in the south. His description of the area and encounter with a large St. Bernard is a wonderful testament to his artistic abilities.
Warning this book contains humor. Throughout the story Anthony stops and takes a moment to let you breathe and enjoy some of the outtakes of the life of an actor. The humorous side or misfortunes are told with complete access. Some of which still make me laugh while I write this. I will leave you to discover these gems on your own, but I will say the some of the best Directors never say, “Cut”. What would you do?
Who would I recommend this book to? Everyone! It has passion, it has excitement, it has humor and best of all it gives you a view into the heart of a true artist.

Anthony’s IMDB bio:

Character actor Anthony James was born on July 22nd, 1942 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Tall and lanky, with a rough, pockmarked face, a lean, stringy build, greasy dark hair and an extremely edgy’n’intense screen presence, James was often cast in Westerns as really scary, sleazy and disgusting villains. James was especially memorable as the hateful racist diner counterman in the outstanding In the Heat of the Night (1967). Other noteworthy parts include a slimy gay hitchhiker in the cult classic Vanishing Point (1971), a wimpy priest in The Culpepper Cattle Co. (1972), a scuzzy outlaw in High Plains Drifter (1973), a deranged psycho in The Teacher (1974), a creepy chauffeur in the spooky haunted house horror chiller Burnt Offerings (1976), and the vicious leader of a gang of ferocious barbarians in the strictly so-so science fiction outing Ravagers (1979). James was hilarious in a rare change-of-pace good guy role as a heroic cannibal (!) in the amusing tongue-in-cheek post-nuke sci-fi romp World Gone Wild (1987). He was likewise funny parodying his evil persona in The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear (1991). Among the many TV shows James did guest spots on are Married with Children (1987), Beauty and the Beast (1987), Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987), Simon & Simon (1981), The A-Team (1983), Riptide (1984), The Fall Guy (1981), Hunter (1984), Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979), Quincy M.E. (1976), Charlie’s Angels (1976), Vega$ (1978), Starsky and Hutch (1975), S.W.A.T. (1975), Ironside (1967), Hawaii Five-O (1968), Bonanza (1959), Gunsmoke (1955) and The Big Valley (1965). His last film appearance to date was as the mean owner of a seedy bordello in Clint Eastwood’s acclaimed Western Unforgiven (1992). After voluntarily quitting acting in the early 90s, Anthony James has since pursued a successful career as an artist. His paintings have been exhibited in galleries in such major cities as New York, Boston and Miami.

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