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, got fine reviews, but thought there was a more solid career in selling advertising. He started an ad career in Tennessee and then in North Carolina before taking off for Chicago to risk everything to become a professional actor.
Denton 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 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.” The series’ multi-year run was followed by “The Pretender” television movies, “Pretender 2001” and “Pretender: The Island of The Haunted.” In 2001, he 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 a new series as a top player in this nation’s homeland security community, Special Agent Jon Kilmer on “Threat Matrix.” In addition to his series starring roles on TV, Denton’s guest appearances include roles on “JAG,” “Sliders,” “Dark Skies,” “Two Guys and a Girl,” “Ally McBeal” and “The West Wing.” Feature film credits include Grace Unplugged, Henry Jaglom’s Ovation, Wake. and Selfie Dad. Denton spent seven seasons starring as Dr. Sam Radford on Hallmark Channel’s original primetime series “Good Witch” opposite Catherine Bell. He also starred in the Hallmark Channel original movies “Stranded in Paradise” and “For Love & Honor,” on which he also served as executive producer and starred opposite his son, Sheppard.
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. He 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, Denton was listed as one of Chicago’s hottest actors by Screen Magazine. In Los Angeles, he 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 has devoted 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. Other members of The Band have included Jesse Spencer (“House”), Scott Grimes (“ER,” “Band of Brothers”) and Adrian Pasdar (“Heroes”). Since The Band’s inception, proceeds from shows they’ve played around the country have raised almost two million dollars for various causes.