American actor James Saito was born in Los Angeles, California on March 6, 1955. He started his acting career in theater, with most of his early works done in productions of East West Players, an Asian American theater company based in Los Angeles. He then played small roles in television, the first being in the 1976 television movie Farewell to Manzanar, and including The Incredible Hulk, M*A*S*H, The Greatest American Hero, MacGyver, The A-Team and Miami Vice. He also appeared in films, the first being The Idolmaker in 1980.
Saito is perhaps best known as The Shredder in the 1990 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The main antagonist of the film, he is the head of the Foot Clan, and has fought the turtles and Splinter in one form or another. Saito, however, only portrayed him physically; the character’s voice was supplied by David McCharen. He continued appearing in other television programs like New York Undercover, Star Trek: Voyager, Gargoyles, Sex and the City and Law & Order, as well as in films like Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Silent Cries, The Hunted, The Devil’s Advocate, The Thomas Crown Affair and Home Alone 3.
Saito’s acting credits in the new millennium include television shows like 100 Centre Street, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and As the World Turns, and films like Pearl Harbor, Robot Stories and Brother’s Shadow. He has also continued his stage career, having performed in different Broadway productions, and winning an Obie Award in 2007 for his role in the off-Broadway play Durango. His most recent work is in the television series Eli Stone, where he plays a supporting role, Dr. Chen, who suggests to the lead character (Jonny Lee Miller) that his hallucinations, which are caused by an inoperable brain aneurysm, are divinely inspired visions of the future.