James Morrison, filmmaker, playwright, poet, actor, singer/songwriter and yoga teacher, was born in Utah and is a product of Alaska. He began his acting career as a clown and wire walker for the Carson and Barnes Wild Animal Circus and served his theatrical apprenticeship with the Alaska Repertory Theatre. Since then, he has appeared at some of America's foremost theatres including the McCarter Theatre, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Mark Taper Forum, LA TheatreWorks and The Old Globe with such renowned directors as Robert Egan, Emily Mann, Des McAnuff, Jack O'Brien, Charles Nelson Reilly, Jose Quintero, Martin Jarvis, and Harry Mastrogeorge, his acting teacher since 1982.
He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Performance and three Drama-Logue Awards. In 1985 he appeared in the London premiere of Emily Mann's Still Life at the West End's Donmar Warehouse and the Riverside Studios after a stint in The Edinburgh Festival at the Traverse Theatre where the production received a Fringe First Award.
His radio credits include L.A.TheatreWorks productions of Pressure - as General Eisenhower, The Rainmaker as Starbuck with the cast of the Broadway revival, Ruby McCollum in which he stars as William Bradford Huie, Judgement at Nuremberg - starring as Chief Justice Dan Haywood, the U.S. tour of In the Heat of the Night and Julius Caesar.
Morrison's short film, Parking, which he wrote and directed, was produced by his wife, Riad Galayini. Parking screened at twenty film festivals world wide including New York's New Directors/New Films presented by Lincoln Center at the Museum of Modern Art, Slamdance (audience choice award for best short), Austin's South By Southwest Festival, the Central Florida Film Festival (third place narrative film award), the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival, the Montreal World Festival, The Festival of U.S. Shorts in Brisbane, Australia, Ireland's Cork International Film Festival, and the Northampton Film Festival where it received the Best Short of the Festival Award. Parking also ran on Sundance Channel for 18 months.
With Ms. Galayini, he co-wrote and co-produced her directorial debut, Nude Descending, which received The George Melies Award at the 1998 Taos Talking Picture Festival and has screened at the Nashville Independent Festival and Short Cuts in Paris. In 2000, Nude Descending was selected for special recognition by the Hitchcock International Director's Series presented by the American Cinematheque.
Their latest film, the documentary, Showing Up, is a feature-length conversation about the actor's audition.
Most recently, James developed and performed his one-man play, Leave Your Fears Here at the Ojai Playwrights Conference. Morrison's plays have also been produced and/or developed at the Sundance Institute, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Playwrights' Center of Minneapolis, L.A. TheatreWorks, The MET Theatre, Two Parts Theatre Company, The Classical Theatre Lab, City Theatre in Miami, The Road Theatre, The Mojo Ensemble, The Wooden O, The Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the Salt Lake Acting Company where he has directed several plays including those by Sam Shepard, John Robinson, Larry Shue and Beth Henley.
As a singer/songwriter his albums, Son to the Boy and I Broke Free are available on iTunes CD Baby, Amazon and all digital outlets.
James was a Lecture Fellow at Bournemouth University School of Media in England and received his certification to teach Hatha Yoga from Ganga White and Tracey Rich at the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara where he sits on the Board of Trustees. He taught regular classes at the YogaWorks Center for Yoga in Los Angeles for 10 years.
James and Riad live North of Los Angeles and their son, Seamus, who is attending UCSB.
quote-leftDon’t let anyone tell you that what we do as actors is only about "acting." It’s not. It’s about being a human being, first, foremost, and always. Acting, on the set, in the rehearsal room, audition room, or the stage, is only what we do as human beings and our ability to bring that to bear.
As actors it’s only about the work, of course, but as human beings it’s about how we conduct ourselves and how we interact with, collaborate with, and treat other human beings. If we treat others with respect, we will be treated with respect. If we’re not, it’s because someone else needs to learn this. At our best we are no more than workers among workers. No one worker is any more deserving than another or deserves more respect than another.
So we need to know the craft and rules that apply to our work as actors? Absolutely. Be a student and practice. But success or failure lies solely on how we treat others in the workplace and basic rules of conduct, including punctuality. The adage, “know your words and hit your marks” only covers a small part of our responsibilities in the workplace.
When I was first starting out, I was told, “Leave your problems at the door.” That hasn’t changed and never will. This advice is not an acting lesson, it’s not even as simple as “put the story first,” or “access your humanity,” which to anyone who knows up from down are the first and second rules of acting, it is more basic than that. We are human beings first; compassionate, considerate, and mindful – especially in the work – but always in the workplace.
Talent Agent Voice
The Robber (voice)
Air Force General (uncredited)
U.S. Senator John Phillips / Assistant Director Roper
Warden Dwight Murphy
James Rhomer (voice, as James P Morrison)
Deputy Commissioner Malone
Hamilton / Hank
Jonathan Hubner / Mr. Hubner
U.S. Attorney Peter Gwynn
Warner Vander Hoek
Dr. Paul Wolley
St. Anthony's Principal
Colonel Jessie Weiskopf
LAPD Officer Bobby Aldrich / 'A' World Inmate #1
Colonel Tim Devon / Colonel Devon
Simeon Nye / Troy Manheim
Dr. Gordon Wayne
William Corzine (segment: The Portrait) / William Corzine
Lt. Col. Tyrus Cassius 'T.C.' McQueen / Col. Tyrus Cassius 'T.C.' McQueen
Construction Sign Man by Bus Stop
Mr. Stevens, father of Will
Lt Colonel William Travis
* @2014 FOX TV
** Photo by Geoffrey Donne
*** Photo by David Zaugh