What can you tell me about the actor who played Bobby Singer on “Supernatural”?
—J. Dickinson, Midland, Texas
Jim Beaver, 62, is the son of a Church of Christ preacher, and was born in Laramie, Wyo., but raised in Irving, Texas. He is best known for his roles as Singer on “Supernatural” and Whitney Ellsworth on “Deadwood.”
Like a lot of boys, Beaver grew up with the dream of becoming a baseball player. But lack of necessary sports skills turned his interest to movies. While in high school, he would interview actors passing through town for his school paper.
After graduation, Beaver enlisted in the Marine Corps, doing a tour of duty in Vietnam. After he was discharged in 1971, he enrolled in college, though he remained active in the Marine Reserve until 1976.
Beaver attended Oklahoma Christian University, following which he transferred to the University of Central Oklahoma. During this time, he appeared in several college plays, and wrote his first book, “John Garfield: His Life and Films.” He graduated with a degree in oral communications in 1975.
He made his professional debut in an adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s “Rain” at the Oklahoma Theatre Center in 1972 and spent five seasons with the Dallas Shakespeare Festival, writing plays as well as performing in them.
He relocated to New York in 1979, working as both an actor and as a critic for “Films in Review” magazine. During this period, he ghost-wrote the book “Movie Blockbusters.”
In 1983, he moved to Los Angeles, where he joined the Theatre West company, again as both an actor and a playwright. His play “Verdigris” was produced there in 1985. He soon landed an agent, who got him work as a TV writer for “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Tour of Duty” and HBO’s “Vietnam War Story.”
But it wasn’t long before his acting career, which was launched by the film “In Country,” overshadowed his writing career. Other acting film roles include “Sister Act,” “Sliver,” “Bad Girls,” “Adaptation,” “Magnolia” and “The Life of David Gale.” His TV work includes “Reasonable Doubts,” “Thunder Alley,” “John From Cincinnati,” “Day Break,” “Harper’s Island,” “Big Love” and “Justified.”
A widower, Beaver lives in Los Angeles with his 11-year-old daughter.
For a more in-depth memoir about Beaver, read his most recent book “Life’s That Way.”