Known for playing distant yet sensitive characters, James Olson began his acting career in the theater, eventually making his first on-screen impression with a stage adaptation, the bizarre military drama "The Strange One," which starred Ben Gazzara. Olson played Tuzenbach in a film version of the Lee Strasberg-directed Chekhov play "The Three Sisters," starring Geraldine Page and Kim Stanley. He also appeared in a television film version of Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People" before winning his best part, Nick Kazlik, the blunt childhood friend of Joanne Woodward's spinster schoolteacher, in Paul Newman's "Rachel, Rachel." In 1971, Olson played a banker in the Blake Edwards western "Wild Rovers," and following this role, he spent most of his career guest-starring on various television shows, mostly crime dramas like "The Streets of San Francisco" and "Police Woman." Olson also made several appearances on the police drama "Hawaii Five-O" in 1972 and "Murder, She Wrote" in 1990. Olson also made notable film performance as a priest in the horror sequel "Amityville II: The Possession" and as Major General Kirby in the Arnold Schwarzenegger action film "Commando."