Oscar-nominated actor James Cromwell, best known for his movie roles in Babe, L.A. Confidential, and The Queen, will speak at Mount Holyoke on April 15 at 4:30 pm in the Art Building’s Gamble Auditorium.
In his lecture The Purpose of Playing: Dare to Be An Artist, Cromwell will explore how young actors and directors can maintain their integrity and identities as creative artists as they also try to succeed in fast-paced and, at times, unforgiving work environments.
After acting and directing on stage for ten years, Cromwell made his first television appearance in an episode of The Rockford Files in 1971 and soon after had a recurring role on All in the Family. He appeared in many television shows and mini-series through the 1970s and 1980s.
Cromwell made his film debut in the 1976 comedy Murder by Death, but didn’t act regularly in movies until the 1990s. He became widely known for his role as Farmer Hoggett, the owner of a piglet who wants to be a sheepdog, in the box office hit Babe (1995), for which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
Noted by the New York Times as being “adept at playing nice guys and bottom-dwelling scum alike,” Cromwell has had starring roles in the critically acclaimed films The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996), The Green Mile (1999), The Sum of All Fears (2002), W. (2008), and The Artist (2011). He has appeared in many television shows, including ER, Six Feet Under, The West Wing, and 24.
Cromwell, the son of noted film director John Cromwell and actress Kate Johnson, was born in Los Angeles and raised in Manhattan. He trained in mechanical engineering at Middlebury College and Carnegie Tech before studying acting at Carnegie-Mellon. Cromwell has directed at resident theatres across the country and was the founder and artistic director of his own company, Stage West, in Springfield, Massachusetts.
In addition to his Oscar nomination, Cromwell has been nominated for three Emmy awards and four Screen Actors Guild awards during his 40-year career.
The event, which is sponsored by the MHC Film Studies Program, is free and open to the public.