Family & Companions
A well-bred supporting player of stage, film and TV, James Karen is the kind of actor whose face is immediately recognizable to the audience, but whose name is often elusive. He is also one of those actors who always seems to work. Karen is also known to millions in the New York area as the spokesperson for the Pathmark chain of supermarkets for more than two decades.
The Pennsylvania native made his Broadway debut in a small role in the original Broadway production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" and went on to remain active on stage well into the 1970s. On the small screen, Karen debuted as Bob Cratchett in the 1948 live NBC production of "A Christmas Carol." Daytime fans may remember him for his stint as Linc Tyler in ABC's "All My Children" during the show's first year in 1970 while primetime fans may recall him as either Dick Van Patten's editor/boss on "Eight Is Enough" or as Major Wymore, Lou Gossett's boss, in "The Powers of Matthew Star" (NBC, 1983).
A prolific actor, he has appeared in a number of TV-movies and miniseries as well as feature films, beginning with several low-budget horror pictures in the mid-1960s, including "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster" and the quickie action adventure, "Hercules in New York" (both 1965). Classy pictures came in the 70s, including a turn as Hugh Sloan's lawyer in "All the President's Men" (1976). In 1982, Karen was Teague, the real estate agent who gets his comeuppance in the last scenes of "Poltergeist." Still active in the 90s, he was Bill Rogers, former law partner and secretary of state, in "Nixon" (1995), Tom Orr, watching Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer in "Up Close & Personal" (1996) and appeared in the supporting ensemble of "Apt Pupil" (1998).
Cast (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Served in the US Air Force during WWII
Broadway debut, "A Streetcar Named Desire"
TV debut as Bob Cratchett in NBC production of "A Christmas Carol"
Film debut, "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster"
Began association with Pathmark supermarkets as commercial spokesperson, a role which would continue for more than two decades (date approximate)
TV series debut as regular, portrayed Linc Tyler on the ABC daytime drama "All My Children"
TV-movie debut, "The Gathering"
Miniseries debut, "Blind Ambition"
Played key role as Teague, the real estate agent, in "Poltergeist"
Had regular role of Major Wymore in the NBC series "The Powers of Matthew Star"
Appeared in "Wall Street"
Was featured in "Vital Signs"
Portrayed Bill Rogers in "Nixon"
Had supporting role in "Apt Pupil"
Cast in "Thirteen Days," a film directed by Roger Donaldson about the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962
Cast in "Mulholland Drive," the psychological thriller written and directed by David Lynch
Appeared in Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns," based on the fictional DC Comics character Superman
Cast opposite Will Smith in the drama, "The Pursuit of Happyness"