James Denton was born on January 20, 1963 in Nashville, Tennessee. As a student at the University of Tennessee, Denton first majored in television/ journalism, but ultimately graduated with a degree in advertising.
At the age of 20, Denton appeared as George Gibbs in a production of Our Town, but thereafter sought to earn a living by selling advertisements around Tennessee and North Carolina. After four years, he reshuffled his priorities again and relocated to Chicago, where his professional acting began with the Chicago Theater. After being cast in the television adaptation of the Untouchables, Denton headed to Los Angeles where his acting prowess and experience quickly won him roles in various television, film and stage productions.
Denton launched his film career with appearances on Primary Colors, Face/ Off and That Old Feeling, and eventually, he began taking more challenging roles on the small screen. In 1997, he played sociopath Mr. Lyle on the NBC drama series, The Pretender, and in 2001, appeared on the short-lived ABC series, Philly. His additional television credits include JAG, Slider, Dark Skies, Two Guys and a Girl, Ally McBeal
and The West Wing
As for Denton's work in the theater, his numerous stage appearances have not only been with the Chicago Theater, but also with the Griffin Theater, the Strawdog Theater Ensemble, the Court Theater, Powerhouse Theater and the Hudson Theater. Among Denton's most notable stage projects are A Streetcar Named Desire, Lapin, Lapin, Flesh and Blood, The Night Hank Williams Died, The Diviners (for which his portrayal of C.C. Showers earned him a Joseph Jefferson Best Actor nomination), Asylum, Locked Up Down Shorty's and In Walked Monk.
In 2004, he started appearing as plumber Mike Denton in the hit television series, Desperate Housewives. He and the rest of the cast received 2005 and 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for Best Ensemble in a Comedy.
Currently, Denton is married to Erin O'Brien, and they have two children, son Sheppard and daughter Malin. O'Brien is Denton's second wife, having been previously married to actress Jenna Lyn Ward.