James Pickens Jr.
Throughout his long and steady career, James Pickens, Jr., known to most as Dr. Richard Webber on Grey’s Anatomy and FBI Deputy Director Alvin Kersh on The X-Files, has earned the respect and admiration of his peers and television audiences worldwide. A veteran and accomplished actor on stage, in film, and on television, Pickens has been recognized for the often distinguished and authoritative figures he has portrayed. Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, James got his acting feet wet when he starred in the school production of Matters of Choice in Bowling Green State University, where he finished his Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1976.
His professional acting career then began portraying Walter Lee in A Raisin in the Sun at the Roundabout Theatre in New York. Throughout the ’80s, Pickens has performed in a handful of stage productions such as Balm and Gilead with Circle Rep/Steppenwolf Theatre Company and A Soldier’s Play with Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson for the Negro Ensemble Company. When he moved to the West Coast in 1990, he began landing roles in film and on television, including recurring characters Henry Thomas, Beverly Hills Beach Club Manager, on Beverly Hills, 90210, Chuck Mitchell, the husband of one of Roseanne Barr’s co-workers, on Roseanne, Detective Mike McCrew on The Practice, and Clyde Coleman on Philly, apart from the dozens of television guest appearances he has made.
In film, James Pickens, Jr. has had the fortune of working with Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson in the following films: Jimmy Hollywood (1994), Sleepers (1996), Sphere (1998), and Liberty Heights (1999). He also got to work with Steven Soderbergh in the early 2001 drama Traffic, which won several Academy Awards that year. For four years since 1998, James became part of the successful run of FOX scifi drama, The X-Files, when he was hired to portray FBI Deputy Director Alvin Kersh and to supervise Agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson). From his humble beginnings as an Ambulance Driver in the 1986 crime thriller F/X, Pickens made it all the way to the top when ABC assigned him as Seattle Grace’s Chief of Surgery on the hit medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. In the Golden Globe winning series, James once again showcased the versatility and emotional range he has displayed over a durable and successful career.
In 2005, he appeared as a guest star on 2 episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm portraying a doctor.
Coincidentally, both episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Curb Your Enthusiasm aired simultaneously.