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James Cromwell (born 27 January 1940; age 84) is a veteran actor who has made several appearances in the Star Trek franchise, and is best known to Trek fans for his portrayal of Zefram Cochrane in Star Trek: First Contact. He would go on to make an uncredited cameo as Cochrane in the Star Trek: Enterprise first season episode "Broken Bow".

He was interviewed on 25 June 2002 for the TNG Season 6 DVD special feature "Departmental Briefing Year Six" – "Make Up".

Personal life[]

Born in Los Angeles, California and raised in New York, Cromwell studied engineering at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). Appropriately, he has played the part of a warp drive inventor (Star Trek) and a visionary cyberneticist (I, Robot, a film adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Robot Series). He began his acting career on television in 1974, but had some difficulty breaking into feature films because of his height. At a staggering 6'6½" (199 cm) [1], many filmmakers were afraid to give him any roles as he would tower over their stars. This soon changed, however.

Cromwell was married to actress Julie Cobb, who played Yeoman Leslie Thompson in the Star Trek: The Original Series second season episode "By Any Other Name". Cromwell's former stepdaughter, Rosemary Morgan, is also a Trek alumna, having played Piri in the Star Trek: Voyager third season episode "The Chute".

Acclaimed roles[]

Cromwell has become a highly recognizable figure outside of Star Trek. He earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Farmer Hoggett in Babe (1995), a role which he reprised in Babe: Pig in the City (1998). He also acquired praise for playing a crooked police captain in L.A. Confidential (1997). Another cast member was Star Trek: The Next Generation guest actor Matt McCoy, whom Cromwell had worked with twice before in two television projects and would work with again on the short-lived TV series Citizen Baines in 2001. Other cast members in L.A. Confidential were Robert Clendenin, Steve Rankin, Paul Guilfoyle, Symba Smith, Brenda Bakke, John Mahon, Jim Metzler and Colin Mitchell as well as stuntmen Steven Lambert, Don Pulford and Allan Graf. Cromwell would star as future disgraced United States Senator Charles Keating in The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996, co-starring fellow Next Generation guest star Vincent Schiavelli.

Other works[]


1970s – 1992[]

One of his earliest films was The Cheap Detective (1978, co-starring Louise Fletcher, David Ogden Stiers and Jonathan Banks. Cromwell followed this with roles in such films as The Man with Two Brains (1983, with David Warner, Jeffrey Combs, and Earl Boen), and Oh, God! You Devil (1983, with Star Trek: Voyager regular Robert Picardo. The following year, Cromwell appeared in the film Explorers, which also featured Picardo as well as Dick Miller. In 1988, Cromwell would make an appearance in the pilot episode of TV's China Beach, starring not only Robert Picardo but Trek alumni Megan Gallagher, Jeff Kober, and Concetta Tomei as well.

Cromwell has become widely recognized for playing Mr. Skolnick, the father of the main character, in the 1984 comedy Revenge of the Nerds. This film starred fellow Star Trek actors Bernie Casey and Brian Tochi. Cromwell would reprise the role of Skolnick in three sequels: 1987's Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise (with Ed Lauter, Tom Hodges, and Raymond Forchion); 1992's Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation (with Casey, Tochi, Clancy Brown, and Viola Stimpson); and Revenge of the Nerds IV: Nerds in Love (with Casey, Tochi, and Robert Picardo).

1995 – current[]

James Cromwell

James Cromwell during the filming of Star Trek: First Contact

Cromwell has been particularly busy following his Oscar-nominated role for Babe, starring in such major Hollywood films as Deep Impact (1998, with Denise Crosby, Tucker Smallwood, Kurtwood Smith, and Concetta Tomei), The General's Daughter (1999, with Clarence Williams III), The Green Mile (1999, with William Sadler and Paula Malcomson), The Sum of All Fears (2002, with Bruce McGill) and I, Robot (2004, co-starring Bruce Greenwood). However, Cromwell has also found time to participate in smaller films as well, such as Owd Bob (1998, co-starring Colm Meaney). He has worked on the occasional "art house" film as well: in 2006, he played Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in the acclaimed biographical drama The Queen.

In addition, Cromwell appeared as Captain George Stacy in Spider-Man 3 (2007, co-starring Kirsten Dunst). Another film he can be seen in is Becoming Jane, a biography of novelist Jane Austen, which was released in the UK in March 2007 and in the US in August 2007. Also in 2007 Cromwell voiced the character of Virgil in an animated adaptation of Dante's Inferno. John Fleck, another frequent Trek guest actor, voices a role in this film.

In 2008, Cromwell appeared as George Herbert Walker Bush in Oliver Stone's W, a biographical drama about former President George W. Bush. He currently has another project in the works in which he will play another former President of the United States: he is attached to portray Lyndon B. Johnson in the film Flying Into Love. In 2012 he was again nominated for Best Supporting Actor in The Artist (also featuring Malcolm McDowell).


As extensive as his film credits are, his television credits are even more so. In 1976, Cromwell co-starred with fellow Star Trek actors George Murdock, Andrew Robinson, William Windom, and Anthony Zerbe on the mini-series Once an Eagle. Ten years later, Cromwell was among the cast of the mini-series Dream West. Among the actors in this project were Cromwell's Star Trek: First Contact co-stars Jonathan Frakes and Alice Krige, as well as F. Murray Abraham, Michael Ensign, the aforementioned Matt McCoy, Noble Willingham, and Anthony Zerbe.

In 1990, Cromwell once again starred with Matt McCoy in Miracle Landing, which featured Deep Space Nine regular Armin Shimerman and Herta Ware. Later TV projects include the 2000 TV movie Fail Safe (with Bill Smitrovich) and 2002's RKO 281, a TV movie written by Star Trek Nemesis scribe John Logan which garnered Cromwell an Emmy nomination.

In 2003, Cromwell had a role in Angels in America. That same year, he had guest-starring roles on Six Feet Under, which led to his earning another Emmy nomination and becoming a regular cast member on the series from 2004 until it ended in 2005. Cromwell also received an Emmy nomination for a guest appearance on the TV series ER.

In 2004, he played Father Donald Callaghan in the miniseries Salem's Lot based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. His ex-wife Julie Cobb played Bonnie Sawyer in the 1979 version.

Cromwell guest-starred in the sixth season of the FOX series 24. He played Phillip Bauer, the father of main character Jack Bauer. DS9 regular Alexander Siddig was also a member of the show's guest cast that season; other actors to appear in Cromwell's episodes include Michael Reilly Burke, Gregory Itzin, Natalia Nogulich and Maury Sterling. Cromwell also starred in the Masters of Science Fiction episode "Watchbird", with Sally Kellerman voicing the title role.

In 2018, he began guest-starring on the third season of the drama series Berlin Station, joining regulars Michelle Forbes, Leland Orser, and Ashley Judd. Also in 2018, he starred as Benjamin Lockwood in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.


Cromwell is known for his work with animal rights causes and for fighting climate change. In 2017, Cromwell was sentenced to spend a week in the Orange County jail for blocking access to a nuclear power plant in Wawayanda, New York. [2]

Other Trek connections[]

Additional projects in which Cromwell appeared with other Star Trek performers include:

Star Trek appearances[]

External links[]