Nashville native James Denton, who originally attended college on a basketball scholarship, wasn't bitten by the acting bug until he was 28. He landed the role of George Gibbs in a Nashville production of Our Town and got fine reviews, but thought there was a more solid career in selling advertising. He started his ad career in Tennessee and then moved to North Carolina before taking off for Chicago to risk everything to become a professional actor.
He soon was accepted as one of Chicago’s brightest stars. After earning a key role when the “Untouchables” series came to town to film, Denton was drawn to Los Angeles, where his strong theatre reputation had preceded him and he was locked in with choice turns in film, on TV and on the stage.
As one of the stars of the Golden Globe® and SAG Award-winning “Desperate Housewives,” Denton started building his Hollywood career with performances in such films as Primary Colors, Face/Off and That Old Feeling but soon, off-beat roles in adventurous TV series were claiming his time. In 1997 Denton landed the role of the eerily sociopathic Mr. Lyle on NBC’s hit drama, “The Pretender.” Two television movies followed the series’ multi-year run – “Pretender 2001” and “Pretender: The Island of the Haunted.” In 2001, Denton was cast by ABC to star opposite Kim Delaney in Steven Bochco’s “Philly,” which was critically acclaimed but short-lived. But Denton’s growing reputation quickly led to being cast in the new series “Threat Matrix” as Special Agent Jon Kilmer, a top player in this nation’s homeland security community. In addition to starring roles on TV, he has guest starred in shows such as “JAG,” “Slider,” “Dark Skies,” “Two Guys and a Girl,” “Ally McBeal,” “The West Wing” and “NCIS: New Orleans,” and had a recurring role on “Devious Maids.” His latest run of feature films includes Grace Unplugged, which was released in the fall of 2013. He was previously seen on Hallmark Channel in the original movie “Stranded in Paradise,” which premiered in summer of 2014. In July of 2016, Denton executive produced and starred in the Hallmark Channel original movie “For Love and Honor,” which also featured his son Sheppard in his television debut.
Acting obviously is serious work for the handsome and athletic star. He got his start on the stage in Chicago, his first role there was as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire and his last was the terrorist in the French farce, Lapin, Lapin. He was a company member of the Griffin Theatre and at the Strawdog Theatre Ensemble. Denton added a steady string of roles and accolades to his quickly growing list, including one of the leads in the world premiere of Flesh and Blood, performing in and composing the music for The Night Hank Williams Died and his portrayal of Kentucky preacher C.C. Showers in The Diviners, which gained him a coveted Joseph Jefferson Best Actor nomination. For these performances, he was listed as one of Chicago’s hottest actors by Screen Magazine. In Los Angeles, Denton appeared in the premieres of Asylum at the Court Theatre, Locked Up Down Shorty’s at the Powerhouse Theatre and In Walked Monk at the Hudson Theatre.
Denton devotes a large portion of his time to Band from TV, which was formed when Greg Grunberg (“Heroes”), Hugh Laurie (“House”) and Bob Guiney (“The Bachelor”) decided to band their musical interests together to raise money for charity. The Band, which now includes Jesse Spencer (“House”), Scott Grimes (“ER,” “Band of Brothers”) and Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes”) plays several shows around the country every year to raise money for charity and since their inception BFTV has raised almost two million dollars for various causes supported by the band.