Family & Companions
An American-born actor long in Canada, Jim Byrnes is best known for playing 'Lifeguard', the communications expert and link to the "organization" on the CBS series "Wiseguy" (1987-1990), and as Joe Dawson, one of The Mortals tracking The Immortals on "Highlander" (syndicated, from 1993-98). A handsome man, often bearded, Byrnes lost both his legs when, while helping push a stalled truck on a highway, he was hit from behind by a car. After recuperating, he pursued work as a musician, which also led to the acting career for which he had once trained.
Born in St Louis, Byrnes went to Canada during the Vietnam era. Following his accident, he formed the blues group, The Jim Byrnes Band, began playing dates throughout Canada. He broke into the US TV market in 1987 acting in and singing a song he had written for the NBC miniseries "Hands of a Stranger." "Wiseguy," filmed in Vancouver, Canada, premiered later that year. In addition to acting, Byrnes has also done voices for the animated series "Dragon Warrior" (syndicated, 1990) and "Megaman" (syndicated, 1996), appeared in the short-lived syndicated series "Neon Rider" (1990) and performed blues songs on an episode of the HBO series "The Hitchhiker." Byrnes has co-starred in numerous TV movies, beginning with "The Red Spider" (CBS, 1988). He had strong moment playing a war veteran in the award-winning "Serving in Silence: The Margarethe Cammermeyer Story" (NBC, 1995) and reprised the role of Lifeguard for a "Wiseguy" reunion movie on ABC in 1996.
Byrnes' feature film work has been limited, although he earned good notices as a musician in "Harmony Cats" (1994) and is also recalled as a police lieutenant in "Under the Gun" (1995).
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Music (TV Mini-Series)
Began acting at age 15 in Shakespeare in the Park productions in St Louis, MO (date approximate)
Moved to Toronto, Canada
Relocated to Vancouver, Canada
Lost both legs in highway accident (February 26)
Moved back to Canada
Formed blues band, The Jim Byrnes Band, which played in Canada
Co-starred in the NBC miniseries "Hands of a Stranger" miniseries
Played 'Lifeguard' on "Wiseguy" (CBS)
TV-movie debut in "The Red Spider" (CBS)
Did voice for the syndicated "Dragon Warriors"
Was regular on the short-lived syndicated series "Neon Rider"
Had featured role as a musician in the Canadian film "Harmony Cats"
Released album, "That River"
Reprised role of 'Lifeguard' in the ABC TV-movie "Wiseguy"