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JAMES PICKENS, JR. (Lloyd Wright), born in Cleveland, Ohio, started acting at the Karamu House, distinguished as the oldest African-American theater in the United States. After moving to New York, he performed in the historic 1981 production of Charles Fullers' A Soldiers Play at the Negro Ensemble Company with fellow cast members Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. He was a member of the famed Circle Rep/Steppenwolf Theatre Company co-production of Lanford Wilson's Balm in Gilead, and he starred as Water Lee in the 25th anniversary revival of A Raisin in the Sun at the Roundabout Theater. 

In 1990 Pickens moved to the West Coast and began an impressive run of film and television performances. On the big screen, he has been directed by some of the film industry's finest, including Steven Soderbergh in TRAFFIC, Oliver Stone in NIXON and Warren Beatty in BULWORTH, and he appeared in four Barry Levinson films -- SLEEPERS, SPHERE, JIMMY HOLLYWOOD and LIBERTY HEIGHTS. He portrayed slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers in GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI directed by Rob Reiner, and he played Angela Bassett's ex-husband in HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK. Other films include MENACE II SOCIETY, HOME ROOM, and GRIDLOCK'D.

He is well known to television audiences for his recurring roles on hit series including "NYPD Blue,” "The X-Files,” "The Practice,” "Philly,” "Curb Your Enthusiasm,” "Six Feet Under,” "The West Wing,” "Rosanne” and "Beverly Hills 90210.” He starred opposite Rob Lowe in "The Lyons Den” (NBC) and also starred with William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman in "A Slight Case of Murder” (TNT). He received a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Drama Ensemble and four NAACP Image Awards nominations for his role on "Grey's Anatomy.” 

A man of wide ranging interests and passions, Pickens came full circle with his beloved Karamu House when he served as executive producer of Otis Sallid's hit musical revue, Gospel, Gospel, Gospel, which opened to rave reviews in Los Angeles. He is a member of the United States Team Roping Championship, roping cattle on horseback at events across the country. 

He recently delivered the keynote address to graduates at his alma mater, Bowling Green State University and was honored by the Cleveland Cavaliers during their annual Black Heritage Celebration.


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