(written from a Production point of view)
|Date of birth:||23 December 1911|
|Place of birth:||The Bronx, New York|
|Date of death:||16 September 2002|
|Place of death:||Sedona, Arizona|
James Gregory (23 December 1911 – 16 September 2002; age 90) was born in The Bronx, New York. He is best known for a long career as a character actor in theater, film and television which lasted from the 1930s into the 1980s. He was equally adept at comedy and drama, and his stock-in-trade was playing authority figures – often authority figures with some sort of serious flaw.
Originally a stockbroker's assistant on Wall Street, by 1935, Gregory had turned an acting hobby into a career, With 1939's Key Largo, he moved to Broadway, where he acted in numerous productions for the next sixteen years.
In 1942, Gregory enlisted in the Navy during World War II and served from 1942 to 1945. He was advanced to Petty Officer First Class and held the rate of Yeoman. After the war's end, Gregory was discharged and returned to acting.
Around 1955, he moved from stage to film and television. He appeared in about fifty movies. He played the buffoonish Joseph-McCarthy-like witch-hunting senator in the 1962 political psycho-drama The Manchurian Candidate, which also had work for future fellow TOS guest actors Reggie Nalder, Leslie Parrish, and Whit Bissell. He was Paul Wilkins in Call to Danger (1968), with William Smithers and Laurel Goodwin, and General Ursus in Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), again with Smithers. The film also featured Jeff Corey and Lou Wagner is the cast, and featured a musical score by Leonard Rosenman. Gregory took over a role originally written for Orson Welles.
He made well over a hundred television guest appearances and had four regular series roles. One of these – the irascible Inspector Luger on the 1975-82 ABC TV comedy Barney Miller – was to become his defining role. Ironically, the role of Luger was loosely based on Barney Ruditsky, a former New York City policeman (and an acquaintance of Barney Miller co-creator Danny Arnold) – and Gregory had actually starred as Ruditsky in the 1961 series The Lawless Years.
Gregory made over 100 TV guest appearances (including the pilot for The Wild Wild West, in which he appeared with Nehemiah Persoff); one of his more memorable was on Star Trek: The Original Series in "Dagger of the Mind", as Doctor Tristan Adams.
Gregory retired from acting around 1987 and died of natural causes in Sedona, Arizona, a few months shy of his ninety-first birthday. His widow, Anne, died at the end of 2005.