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James Naughton
Naughton in 1974
Born (1945-12-06) December 6, 1945 (age 78)
EducationBrown University (BA)
Yale University (MFA)
  • Actor
  • director
Years active1971–present
Pam Parsons
(m. 1967; died 2013)
RelativesDavid Naughton (brother)

James Naughton (born December 6, 1945) is an American actor and director. He is best known as Michael Bower on Who's the Boss? (1984-1992) and was also notable for his earlier role as the astronaut Pete Burke in the 1974 single-season television adaptation of Planet of the Apes.

Early life

Naughton was born in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of Rosemary (née Walsh) and Joseph Naughton, both of whom were teachers.[1] He is the elder brother of actor David Naughton. He graduated from Conard High School.[2] Jim began singing during his years at Conard High School "with the high school band and at parties."[3]


Naughton graduated from Brown University and Yale School of Drama. His acting career began when he appeared in a series of Broadway dramas and musicals. He has since become an accomplished actor in both starring and supporting film and television roles.[4]

His largest fame and first love has been the legitimate theater. He won the Theatre World Award for his performance in Long Day's Journey into Night in 1971. He starred with Geneviève Bujold in Antigone, later made into a film in 1974. He starred in I Love My Wife in 1977 and in Whose Life is it Anyway? in 1980. He won his first Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical in 1990 for City of Angels. In 1997, he won a second Tony Award with his portrayal of lawyer Billy Flynn in the musical Chicago. He played the role of Willy Brandt in Democracy on its U.S. première in 2004. His films include The Paper Chase and The First Wives Club. In 2006, he appeared in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. In 2006, he played Fuzzy Sedgwick in Factory Girl.

Television and commercials

On television, he starred in Faraday & Company with Dan Dailey and Sharon Gless (1973–1974). He also starred with Ron Harper in the 1974 television series Planet of the Apes, a spin-off of the original film. He starred in Making the Grade and Trauma Center in the early 1980s. He starred in the short-lived series Raising Miranda in 1988. From 1991 to 1993 he played Lt. Patrick Monahan on the series Brooklyn Bridge. He co-starred with Bill Cosby in The Cosby Mysteries in 1995. He appeared with Gless 20 years later, this time as her husband in Cagney and Lacey: The Return (1993) and Cagney and Lacey: Together Again (1995). He appeared on Damages with Glenn Close. Naughton had a recurring role on Gossip Girl as William van der Bilt, grandfather of main character Nate Archibald. In 1998 he hosted and narrated the CourtTV series The Greatest Trials of All Time.

He has appeared in television commercials promoting the drugs Cialis, Nexium and Nasalcrom. Naughton has also been the official voice of Audi in the U.S. since 2007, heard in its national TV and radio spots. He is also a frequent narrator on television's Nature series.[5]


He has directed several plays in New York City, including the 2002 revival of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, starring his friend Paul Newman, filmed for cable TV in 2003. He appears in cabarets in New York City, including Manhattan Theatre Club and Caroline's Comedy Club.[6]

Personal life

His family is Irish American.[7] He and his first wife, Pam Parsons, have two children: Keira and Greg, both actors. Greg is married to actress Kelli O'Hara.[8] Pam Parsons died from pancreatic cancer in 2013.[9]

Stage productions



  1. ^ "James Naughton Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  2. ^ Gerber, Joseph (March 25, 2011). "Notable people from West Hartford". West Hartford News.
  3. ^ Klein, Alvin (June 14, 1998). "Theater; Solo Act; Jeep Voice as Well". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
  4. ^ "Legendary James Naughton at Edison". The Record. Washington University in St. Louis. September 23, 1999. Archived from the original on September 1, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
  5. ^ "Living Volcanos". Nature. February 20, 2019. PBS. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  6. ^ Simonson, Robert; Jones, Kenneth (December 14, 1998). "James Naughton At OB's Promenade to Be Limited Run & Different From MTC Gig". Playbill. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  7. ^ Kelly, Mary Pat (October–November 2008). "Broadway's Irish Colleen: Kelli O'Hara". Irish America. ISSN 0884-4240.
  8. ^ Quealy, Gerit (26 August 2007). "Kelli O'Hara and Greg Naughton". The New York Times.
  9. ^ "Obituaries: Pamela Parsons Naughton". Hartford Courant. April 21, 2013.