Who is James Tolkan?

James Stewart Tolkan was born on 20 June 1931 under the birth sign of Gemini, in Calumet, Michigan USA, so is currently aged 88. He is an actor, probably best recognized for starring in the role of Lt. Steiger in the neo-noir biographical crime film “Serpico”, playing Commander Tom ‘Stinger’ Jardian in the action drama film “Top Gun”, and featuring as Gerald Strickland in the “Back To The Future” film series.

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Would you like to know more about James Tolkan’s professional career and personal life? How rich is he, as of now? If you are interested, stay tuned and find out all the details about him.

How rich is he, as of now? James Tolkan Net Worth

His professional acting career started in 1960, and he has been an active member in the entertainment industry ever since.

James "Dallas Cassel" Tolkan(29. Sept. 2012, Bottrop/Germany)

Posted by COBRA – Fanpage – Michael Dudikoff on Tuesday, January 7, 2014

So, if anyone of you ever wondered how rich James Tolkan is, it has been estimated by authoritative sources that the total size of his net worth is over $5 million, accumulated through his successful career. Should he decide to continue with his career, his net worth could well increase.

Early Life, Education, Nationality, Ethnicity

Concerning his early life, James Tolkan spent his childhood in his hometown of Calumet, raised the only child of his father, Ralph M. Tolkan, who worked as a cattle dealer, and his mother, Dale Nichols. He holds American nationality and is of white ethnicity. Regarding his educational background, James graduated from all of these colleges – Coe College, Eastern Arizona College, and the University of Iowa. Thereafter, he spent a year serving in the US Navy and then moved to New York to study at the Actors Studio.

The 1960s: Career Beginnings

So, James Tolkan’s professional acting career started in 1960, when he made his guest-starring appearance as Evan Humbolt in an episode of the ABC police drama series “Naked City”, after which he guest-starred as Stefan Malwitz in two episodes of the CBS anthology drama series “Armstrong Circle Theatre” in 1962. Four years later, James filmed the drama film “The Three Sisters”, directed by Paul Bogart, which was followed by his guest-starring in an episode of the ABC crime drama series “N.Y.P.D.” in 1969. During the same year, he also landed the role of Edwards in Bernard L. Kowalski’s crime film “Stiletto”, which marked the establishment of his net worth.

James Tolkan

The 1970s: Big Break, “Serpico”

At the beginning of the 1970s, James’ career was moved to the next level as he started getting more serious roles, since he played Mr. Brown in the comedy mystery film “They Might Be Giants” (1971), starred as Dark Glasses in the 1973 horror comedy film “The Werewolf Of Washington”, and then portrayed Lt. Steiger in the neo-noir biographical crime film “Serpico” (1973), next to Al Pacino and John Randolph. Although the role of Lt. Steiger was small, it was quite notable and led him to prominence, potentially increasing his net worth. Thereafter, James was chosen to play Napoleon Bonaparte in Woody Allen’s 1975 comedy film “Love And Death”, which represents a satire on Russian literature.

It was followed by his portrayals of famous political activist and philosopher Tom Paine in the short docudrama “Independence” (1976), and Coroner in the 1979 supernatural horror “The Amityville Horror”.

The early 1980s

With the beginning of the next decade, James continued to line up successes, since he made some significant appearances in such roles as Assistant US Attorney George Polito in Sidney Lumet’s 1981 crime drama “Prince Of The City”, Lt. Glass in Arthur Hiller’s comedy drama “Author! Author!” (1982), and Howard Simpson in the 1984 drama “The River”.

The mid-1980s: Worldwide Fame

In the following year, James starred as Stanford S. Strickland in the highest-grossing film of 1985, entitled “Back To The Future”, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.

He reprised the role in its sequel “Back To The Future Part II” (1989), and then portrayed Mr. Strickland’s grandfather in “Back To The Future Part III” (1990), adding a considerable amount to his net worth. Another role that brought him worldwide fame came in 1986, when he portrayed Commander Tom ‘Stinger’ Jardian in the action drama film “Top Gun”, next to Tom Cruise.

The late 1980s

Thereafter which he was cast as Lester Mintz in the CBS sitcom “Mary” (1985-86) and Norman Keyes in the NBC series “Remington Steele” (1985-87). Some other major roles he had during the late 1980s include Detective Lubic in the fantasy action “Masters Of The Universe” (1987), and Numbers in the 1990 film “Dick Tracy”, starring Warren Beatty, Al Pacino and Madonna.

The 1990s: Continued Success

In 1991, James was quite busy since he made an appearance as Patch in the action thriller “Hangfire”, which was followed by his portrayals of Vince in the comedy “Driving Me Crazy” and Mr. Thorn in the family comedy “Problem Child 2”. He then joined the cast of the Syndicated series “Cobra”, portraying Dallas Cassel between 1993 and 1994. James’ next major roles came in 1996, when he played Dan ‘Iceberg’ Eagan in the comedy thriller “Underworld” and Quon in the sci-fi “Robo Warriors”, directed by Ian Barry. Besides that, he also guest-starred in such television series as “Tales From The Crypt”, “The Hat Squad”, “Nowhere Man”, “The Pretender”, among many others.

The 2000s, 2010s and Recent Projects

James joined the cast of the period drama series “A Nero Wolfe Mystery”, an adaptation of Rex Stout’s series of detective stories, broadcast on the A&E network from 2001 to 2002. He portrayed various roles in the series and even served as the director of two episodes – “Die Like A Dog” and “The Next Witness”. In 2004, he filmed the romantic comedy “Seven Times Lucky”, along with Kevin Pollak and Liane Balaban, and then played Thomas Knight, Sr. in the 2006 crime drama film “Heavens Fall”, based on the incident when two young women accused the Scottsboro Boys of rape in 1931. Afterwards, James became pretty inactive in searching for new projects since he decided to withdraw from the film industry for a while.

Fortunately for his fans, he returned in 2011, when made a guest-starring appearance in the series “Leverage”, and then featured as Larry Fidler in the 2013 made-for-television film “Phil Spector”. Most recently, James played a pianist in the western horror “Bone Tomahawk”, starring Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox, and Patrick Wilson, in 2015.

Theater Career

Side by side with pursuing his acting career on the big screen and television, James Tolkan was also active on the stage. He made his debut stage appearance in 1960, as Frank in the play “The Shoemaker And The Peddler” at East 74th Street Theatre. He then starred in Sheridan Square Playhouse’s production “A View From The Bridge”, Theater in St. Clement’s Church’s production of “The Cannibals” and Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater’s play “Macbeth”. Besides that, James also appeared in various Broadway productions, including “Mary Stuart”, “Narrow Road To The Deep North”, and “Glengarry Glen Ross”.

What is James Tolkan doing now?

There is almost no information regarding his professional career at the present time, and one of the main reasons why we cannot find any information about it is his absence from the social media scene, since he has no Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook account. According to the lack of information, it can be assumed that he is retired and spends his time with his family and friends.

Personal Life: His Wife Parmelee Welles

If to talk about his personal life, James Tolkan is apparently happily married man. He met his future wife, Parmelee Welles, while she was working as a staffer at the American Palace Theatre in New York. The couple soon fell in love and eventually exchanged their wedding vows at a private ceremony held at St. Eustace Episcopal Church in Lake Placid, New York State on 28 August of 1971. They still enjoy in their blissful marriage though they have no children, and still  live in Lake Placid.

Author

Benjy is currently a reporter for BiographyPedia based in Adelaide, Australia. Prior to joining BiographyPedia in July 2019, he was a Bizarre TV reporter and theatre critic at TheSun. Benjy has also written for DailyMail and TMZ. Benjy studied journalism at Goldsmiths University of London, graduating in 2009. You can contact him at [email protected]

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