Remember Big Red from 'Five Heartbeats?' He had a prestigious job before he started acting

Cynthia Rita
Aug 15, 2018
05:54 P.M.

Hawthorne James, better known as Big Red in the now classic movie "Five Heart Beats," lived a scholarly life before his professional acting career. There is no doubt that James is proud of his decision and doesn’t regret leaving that life behind.


Hawthorne James, also known as the bus driver Sam in the film "Speed," isn’t just an actor but also a director. He’s been around the movie industry for almost four decades and has starred in series like "NYPD Blue," "Charmed" and "Criminal Minds."

It was quite surprising to find out that this amazing actor had another career before acting - and a prestigious one at that. Well, James was a professor at Illinois University where he taught for two years in the theater department.


Apparently, James is a very intelligent man and he graduated from the Notre Dame University and went on to bag his Master’s degree from the University of Michigan. His scholarly pursuit didn’t end there, as he studied at the London Shakespeare Academy, and after his years at Illinois University, he moved to LA to pursue his acting career.

However, Hawthorne had good reasons to leave that life behind. In an interview from 2014, he said:


“I knew I didn't wanna teach. That was way too political for me in the theatre department.”

He also said that although he had started stage performances at the age of 5, the turning point for him was when he toured in high school as part of the cast for the "Hamlet" play.

He explained that it was quite an eye-opener to see a whole different world from the south side Chicago life he knew, including a different variety of meals- from the white beans and cooked corn he was used to to the chicken strips of the "white people" during the tour.


Another event also played a huge part in his decision, and it was a breathtaking good luck kiss right before he went on stage for "Hamlet."

Describing the moment, he said:

“... I was hooked big! I get kisses for going out on stage? I’m done! This is it, buddy!”

Big Red also revealed that he didn’t accept such kisses anymore because he had a new superstition concerning kisses and his performance, as that kiss had left him speechless on stage.


He's still very active in the industry, with acting credits in recent series like "Dirty Dead Con Men," "5th Ward," and according to his IMDB he has upcoming roles in "A Day of Trouble" and "EGB the Real Godson of Go-Go Music the Movie."

Listen to the entire interview below:

Please fill in your e-mail so we can share with you our top stories!
By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy
Related posts

Meryl Streep’s Ex Stayed with 4 Kids While She Worked Before They Moved to Massive Penthouse – Pics Inside

October 28, 2023

This Actor Won 2 Oscars – At 93, He's Retired & Living Away from the Spotlight in New Mexico

October 29, 2023

Patrick Duffy Is a Proud Father of Two Sons, Padraic & Conor, from His Late Wife of 43 Years

January 10, 2024

Michael J. Fox Gets up from Wheelchair at BAFTAs, Receiving a Standing Ovation & Making People Cry

February 20, 2024

Michael J. Fox Gets up from Wheelchair at BAFTAs, Receiving a Standing Ovation & Making People Cry

February 19, 2024

Peter White of 'All My Children' Has Passed Away amid Health Battle with No Wife & Kids

November 05, 2023

Sophia Loren & Carlo Ponti's 57-Year Love Story Began at 1st Sight Yet He Had Another Family

November 22, 2023

'Home Alone' Star Macaulay Culkin's Lookalike Brother Experienced Fame 'Secondhand' as a Child — Details

January 17, 2024

Angelina Jolie Once Hired Own Brother As Full-Time Nanny for Her 6 Kids — Inside Their Relationship

January 09, 2024

Neal McDonough Was Fired and Then Lost House Because He Refused to Appear Unfaithful to Wife on Screen

December 27, 2023

This Woman Slept on the Floor of Intense Care to Be near Her Hollywood Star Husband - They Wed in 15 Minutes & Made It to 61 Years Together

November 03, 2023

Melanie Griffith & Don Johnson’s Baby Was ‘God’s Plan’ — Now They’re Proud Parents of an ‘Extraordinary’ Daughter

November 24, 2023

20 Pics That Prove Kurt Russell Is the Most ‘Brilliant’ & ‘Perfectly Maddening’ Partner for Goldie Hawn

November 19, 2023

‘Law & Order’ Chris Noth Raises 2 Biracial Sons with a Wife He Did Not Marry for 10 Years

February 02, 2024