James Naughton

James Naughton (born December 6, 1945) is an American director, and theater, film and television actor.

James Naughton
James Naughton in 1974
Born (1945-12-06) December 6, 1945
EducationBrown University (BA)
Yale University (MFA)
OccupationActor, director
Years active1971–present
Spouse(s)Pam Parsons (1967-2013; her death)
RelativesDavid Naughton (brother)
Kelli O'Hara (daughter-in-law)

Early life

Naughton was born in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of Rosemary (née Walsh) and Joseph Naughton, both of whom were teachers.[1] He is the elder brother of actor David Naughton. He graduated from Conard High School.[2] Jim began singing during his years at Conard High School "with the high school band and at parties."[3]


Naughton graduated from Brown University and Yale School of Drama. His acting career began when he appeared in a series of Broadway dramas and musicals. He has since become an accomplished actor in both starring and supporting film and television roles.[4]

His largest fame and first love has been the legitimate theater. He won the Theatre World Award for his performance in Long Day's Journey Into Night in 1971. He went on to star with Geneviève Bujold in Antigone, which was later made into a film in 1974. He starred in I Love My Wife in 1977, and in Whose Life is it Anyway? opposite Mary Tyler Moore in 1980. He won his first Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 1990 for City of Angels. In 1997, he won a second Tony Award with his portrayal of lawyer Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago. He played the role of Willy Brandt in Democracy on its U.S. première in 2004. His films include The Paper Chase and The First Wives Club. In 2006, he appeared in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. In 2006, he played Fuzzy Sedgwick in Factory Girl.

Television and commercials

On television, he starred in Faraday & Company with Dan Dailey and Sharon Gless (1973–1974). He also starred with Ron Harper in the 1974 television series Planet of the Apes, a spin-off of the original film. He starred in Making the Grade and Trauma Center in the early 1980s. He starred in the short lived series Raising Miranda in 1988. He co-starred with Bill Cosby in The Cosby Mysteries in 1995. He appeared with Gless twenty years later, this time as her husband in Cagney and Lacey: The Return (1993) and Cagney and Lacey: Together Again (1995). He appeared on Damages with Glenn Close. Naughton also had a recurring role on Gossip Girl as the powerful William van der Bilt, grandfather of main character Nate Archibald.

He has appeared in television commercials promoting the drugs Cialis, Nexium and Nasalcrom. Mr. Naughton has also been the official voice of Audi in the U.S. since 2007. His voice can be heard in their national TV and Radio spots. He is also a frequent narrator on PBS television's Nature series.[5]


He has directed several plays in New York, including the 2002 revival of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, starring his close personal friend Paul Newman, which was filmed for cable TV in 2003. He appears in cabarets in New York City, including Manhattan Theatre Club and Caroline's Comedy Club.[6]

Personal life

His family is Irish American.[7] He and his late wife, Pam Parsons, have two actor children: Keira and Greg. Greg is now married to actress Kelli O'Hara. Pam died on April 9, 2013, as a result of pancreatic cancer.[8]

Stage productions



  1. "James Naughton Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  2. Gerber, Joseph (March 25, 2011). "Notable people from West Hartford". West Hartford News.
  3. Klein, Alvin (June 14, 1998). "Theater; Solo Act; Jeep Voice as Well". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  4. "Legendary James Naughton at Edison". The Record. Washington University in St. Louis. September 23, 1999. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  5. "Living Volcanos". Nature. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  6. Simonson, Robert; Jones, Kenneth (December 14, 1998). "James Naughton At OB's Promenade to Be Limited Run & Different From MTC Gig". Playbill. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  7. Kelly, Mary Pat (October–November 2008). "Broadway's Irish Colleen: Kelli O'Hara". Irish America. ISSN 0884-4240.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  8. "Obituaries: Pamela Parsons Naughton". Hartford Courant. April 21, 2013.
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