Born on October 11, 1965 in London, England to Trinidad natives, Lennie James' mother passed away when he was only 12 years old. He was later raised by a foster parent who had two older children, with whom he became really close with. He grew up discovering his passion for acting, thus entering the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1988. He first worked in a government social security company before committing himself to acting full time. James originally aspired to become a professional rugby player, but felt that he liked acting more.
"I'm pretty much a London boy, and it was a big enough city to try and conquer," Lennie James said of his aspirations of becoming an actor. "I wanted to make movies obviously, but to come over here where there's so many people trying to do the same thing slightly frightened me."
In 2006, James moved to Los Angeles and gave himself three months to get an acting gig. He landed two projects in three weeks. His film credits include Elephant Juice, Lost in Space, Les Miserables, Among Giants, Snatch, The Martins, Lucky Break, 24 Hour People and Sahara. He also worked on television shows such as Born with Two Mothers, Frances Tuesday, Family Business, Without You and Buried. He has also landed the role of Robert Hawkins on the CBS series Jericho, and afterwards got parts in 2008’s Fallout, as well as on Tic. He has also confirmed his appearance on a TV remake of The Prisoner, in which he will play a character code-named No. 147.
James encountered a milestone in his life when the show Storm Damage was nominated for a BAFTA TV Award. He had written for the show and worked on it as an actor, playing the role of Bonaface.
In talking about his work as an actor, Lennie James said, "I enjoy inviting audiences into the mind of my characters as much as into their stories. Even now, having this conversation, we know there's a million things that I'm not saying and it's the 'not saying' that is part of the journey."
Lennie James' long time partner, Giselle Glasman is the mother of his children, Romy, and twins Celine and Georgia.
(Photos courtesy of CBS)
-I enjoy inviting audiences into the mind of my characters as much as into their stories. Even now, having this conversation, we know there's a million things that I'm not saying and it's the 'not saying' that is part of the journey.
(On his character in Jericho)
-It's like doing a Rubik's Cube where you have to put all your squares in the right position before they will all fit, and sometimes you have to move them out of order to be able to work them back in. That's how you do the cube. That's kind of how Hawkins' mind works.