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Who is that Actor: James Pickens Jr.

December 21, 2010

It probably seems odd to feature an actor whose face and name are probably known to anyone who has been near a television set on Thursday nights over the last six or seven years. As Chief Webber on the long running soapy medical drama Grey’s Anatomy actor James Pickens Jr. finally snagged a role that didn’t have him either playing a dour taskmaster or a brutal patriarch. And good for him.

I first noticed Pickens Jr. as doomed Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers in Ghosts of Mississippi! A film that spent more time concerning itself camouflaging Baldwin’s expanding waistline rather than the story at hand; and that’s cool. His other credits include: Sphere, Gridlock’d, Dead Presidents, Traffic and Liberty Heights. I have absolutely no idea why Pickens Jr. is able to render himself unrecognizable with the addition of glasses or the subtraction of facial hair. Particularly when his voice is pretty freaking distinct. That’s usually how I recognize him. His deep, resonate, measured speech is pretty distinct.

The other day I was having a conversation with friend about The X-Files and mentioned Pickens Jr. in the role of Deputy Director AD Kirsch and she was floored. She never connected Chief Webber to Kirsch or Pickens Jr.’s crispy bigoted. abusive turn as Mr. Charles – father of David Fisher’s partner Keith.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. thepants permalink
    December 21, 2010 11:52 pm

    He also played one of Dan’s poker buddies on Roseanne. I love “The Chief” and I think it’s mostly because of Pickens’ performance because I often get annoyed at his character motivations.

  2. hsofia permalink
    December 22, 2010 12:24 am

    Oh my gosh, he is so handsome. And in EVERYTHING.

  3. December 22, 2010 5:48 am

    I guess I first saw him in “Gridlock’d”. It was a small part, but he owned it. He went and stole the scene from Tim Roth, and that’s not easy to do.

  4. December 22, 2010 9:00 am

    @the pants – Ha! I remember him on Rosanne. Damn, he’s like Visa; everywhere you wanna be. It’s interesting that Pickens is a fave despite the paucity of characters whose actions I can root for.

    @hsofia – He’s a real charmer! And rides horses too.

    @HeatherEff – Gridlock’d was a small role, but pivotal. Pickens really nailed it. I agree; it’s real hard to go toe to toe with Tim Roth.

  5. December 22, 2010 11:24 am

    omg, I didn’t know he was Kirsch either! I knew he was everywhere, but damn, his reach is even farther than I thought. good call on putting him in this series.

  6. Nana permalink
    December 23, 2010 5:20 pm

    I think he also played Brandon’s boss at the BH Beach Club on 90210. Off to IMDB to double check!

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