James Pickens Jr. (born October 26, 1954) played the part of Chuckie Mitchell, a buddy of Dan Conner and the husband of Anne-Marie Mitchell. a childhood friend of Roseanne's, on Roseanne. He is best known for his starring role as Dr. Richard Webber on the ABC-TV medical drama television series Grey's Anatomy, and for his supporting role as Deputy Director Alvin Kersh on later seasons of th Fox Network science fiction series The X-Files.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio, James began acting while a student at Bowling Green State University. His first acting role was in a campus production of Matters of Choice by Chuck Gordone. Pickens earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from BGSU in 1976.
Pickens started his professional acting career at the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City playing Walter Lee in A Raisin in the Sun. In 1981, Pickens performed in the Negro Ensemble Company's production of A Soldier's Play, co-starring alongside future Hollywood stars Denzel Washington and Samuel L. Jackson.
In 1990, Pickens moved to the West Coast and began his Hollywood career playing Zack Edwards on the soap opera Another World from 1986 to 1990. He went on to have recurring roles on "X-Files" as Deputy Director Kersh, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The West Wing, Roseanne, Beverly Hills, 90210, JAG, and Six Feet Under. In 2002, Pickens had a cameo appearance as the male zoo doctor in the film Red Dragon.
In the February 28, 2007, all-star benefit concert reading of "The Gift of Peace" at UCLA's Freud Playhouse, he portrays a man whose life experiences lead him to volunteer in the peace movement, and plays alongside actors Ed Asner, Barbara Bain, Amy Brenneman, George Coe, and Wendie Malick. The play is an open appeal and fundraiser for passage of U.S. House Resolution, which seeks to establish a Cabinet-level "Department of Peace" in the U.S. government, to be funded by a two percent diversion of the Pentagon's annual budget.
In 2005, Pickens was chosen to play Dr. Richard Webber on the ABC-TV medical drama Grey's Anatomy.
Pickens is married to Gina Taylor, a former member of Musique, and has two children. In his spare time Pickens can be found riding horseback and roping cattle. He is a member of the United States Team Roping Championship and competes in team roping events across the country. He owns an American Quarter Horse named Smokey.
James's two children, Carl Tharps and Gavyn Picken, are both pursuing careers in show business. His son Carl is working on a Hip-Hop career and can be seen in various television appearances, including Hangin' with Mr. Cooper where he appeared alongside his long-time friend Omar Gooding. His father James Pickens Sr. worked for the City of Cleveland.
- Anatomy of an Actor, BGSU Magazine , 8(Summer 2007):12-13.
- http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.00808: 808
- The Peace Alliance.org, rticle by Stacey Martino, 2007-02-28, accessed October 29, 2013.
- James Pickens, Jr. at the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)