James Patterson (actor)

James Patterson (June 29, 1932 August 19, 1972) was an American actor who won a Tony Award for his role in the 1968 Harold Pinter play, The Birthday Party.

James Patterson
Born(1932-06-29)June 29, 1932
DiedAugust 19, 1972(1972-08-19) (aged 40)
Resting placeColes Cemetery, Derry, PA
Years active1959-1972
Spouse(s)Rochelle Oliver (1959-1972) (his death) (1 child)

His best-known film role was in Lilith (1964), and he had numerous guest appearances on television through the early 1970s. He was also well known for his appearance as Jeffrey Butler in the cult classic horror film Silent Night, Bloody Night.


Born in Derry, Pennsylvania, Patterson was both a stage and screen actor. For his stage work, he won both Tony and Obie awards. His career started on a Pittsburgh radio show with "Starlets on Parade", as a boy soprano. For a time he was a painter and later studied acting at the Carnegie Institute of Technology with Hebert Berghof.[1] He would meet his future wife, actress, Rochelle Oliver on the set of the off-Broadway production of The Brothers Karamazov. He was also a cast member. In 1960, they were living together in their small apartment on the upper East Side.[2][3]


In 1968, Patterson played the part of Dave Barca in Hawaii Five-O, episode "The Ways of Love". His character Barca is a crook who was being pursued by McGarrett.[4]

In 1972, Patterson was in the horror slasher film, Silent Night, Bloody Night that starred Patrick O’Neal, playing Jeffrey Butler, a man trying to sell a house with a terrible history that belonged to his grandfather Wilford Butler.[5][6]


Patterson died of cancer at age 40 in 1972 in New York City.[7] He was survived by his wife Rochelle and son John.[8]


Title Year Role Director Notes
Lilith1964Dr. LavrierRobert Rossen
In the Heat of the Night1967Lloyd PurdyNorman Jewison
Castle Keep1969ElkSydney Pollack
A Fable1971The HusbandAl Freeman Jr.
Silent Night, Bloody Night1972Jeffrey ButlerTheodore Gershuny(final film role)
Television shows
Title Episode Role Director Air date Notes
Deadline"The Case of the Stranger"Stagg5 November 1959
Buick-Electra Playhouse"The Fifth Column"John Frankenheimer29 January 1960
The Witness"Bugsy Siegel "Ralph Nelson27 October 1960
The DuPont Show of the Month"I, Don Quixote"AnselmoKarl Genus9 November 1959
The DuPont Show of the Month"The Lincoln Murder Case"Alex Segal18 February 1961
Play of the Week"The Master Builder "Ragnar BrovikJohn Stix21 March 1960
Play of the Week"A Cool Wind Over the Living"LexyJoseph LeSueur27 March 1961
Way Out"Dissolve to Black"Nightime HarryWilliam Corrigan2 June 1961
Look Up and Live "The Flies"OresteJoseph K. Chomyn27 August 1961
Route 66"A Bridge Across Five Days"Paul GuinRichard Donner17 November 1961
Naked City"Strike a Statue "CarverJohn Newland16 May 1962
The Defenders"The Unwanted "Barney LeMayAlex March13 October 1962
Alcoa Premiere"The Contenders"Barnaby EvansDavid Lowell Rich6 December 1962
Stoney Burke"Joby"Mark WheelerJohn Erman18 March 1963
Naked City"Stop the Parade! A Baby Is Crying! "Phil NorthWilliam A. Graham20 April 1963
The Defenders"Loophole "Don FranksCharles S. Dubin16 November 1963
East Side/West Side"Don't Grow Old "Fred CameronHerschel Daugherty17 February 1964
The Defenders"Survival"MinisterTom Gries14 March 1964
Brenner"Point of Law"BertHerman Hoffman14 June 1964
Slattery's People "Question: Did He Who Made the Lamb Make Thee?"Adam MarstenRichard C. Sarafian5 March 1965
The Big Valley"The Young Marauders "Jamie DrummPaul Wendkos6 October 1965
The Felony Squad"The Immaculate Killer"Peter HollandSeymour Robbie24 October 1966
Flipper"A Dolphin in Time "Scott EmsonEdward Haldeman25 February 1967
Hawaii Five-O"The Ways of Love "Dave BarcaCharles Dubin21 November 1968
Bonanza"A World Full of Cannibals"Charles BallGunnar Hellström 22 December 1968
Mission: Impossible"The System"Johnny CostaRobert Gist26 January 1969
Mission: Impossible"The Double Circle"Barry CraneVictor Laszlo7 December 1969


  1. The New York Times, AUG. 21, 1972 - JAMES PATTERSON OF STAGE, 40, DIES
  2. Daily News, Friday, May 27, 1960 - Page 588 East Side Girl Jumps From Lower to Upper By CHARLES McHARRY
  3. The New York Times, AUG. 21, 1972 - JAMES PATTERSON OF STAGE, 40, DIES
  4. Booking Hawaii Five-O: An Episode Guide and Critical History of the 1968-1980 Television Detective Series, By Karen Rhodes - Page 47 The Ways of Love (#7)
  5. The Verge, Oct 20, 2018 - Silent Night, Bloody Night is the perfect streaming slasher for Halloween fans, Before Michael Myers, this film was an inspiration By Noel Murray
  7. Notice of death of actor James Patterson, news.google.com; accessed April 19, 2016.
  8. The New York Times, AUG. 21, 1972 - JAMES PATTERSON OF STAGE, 40, DIES

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