Bequeathed to him by his father and inscribed under his picture in his senior high school yearbook, these words have informed Jim Chamberlain in all that he has accomplished in life. Their uncanny relevance to Jim’s pursuit of a career in acting is manifest.
Actor, singer, guitarist, husband, father, churchwarden, community leader, lawyer, investment banker, ivy-leaguer, horse farmer, Mr. Fix-It — Jim has played a great many roles in life, many of them simultaneously. But his favorite is “the laughter of the family,” a title bestowed on him by his then ten-year old daughter, Elizabeth.
His law and banking gigs brought success and unimaginable rewards. They also required a lot of acting to get what he or, more correctly, his clients wanted: sometimes he played the domineering know-it-all, sometimes the clueless clown by way of eliciting more from the other side than they realized or intended. Fast-forward to the sympathetic counselor or the outraged adversary who calmly but purposefully backs away from the bargaining table and heads to the airport before being called back to consider one last chance at a compromise.
Through all the differing roles he played to suit the occasion, his fundamental aura of kindness and honesty still had to shine through to gain trust and to persuade and convince.
Jim developed his acting chops in the theater, where he demonstrated an affinity for classical repertory and a knack for period style and language. Roles included Henry Higgins, Pygmalion; Capt. Von Trapp, The Sound of Music; Ernest, The Importance of Being Earnest; Benedick, Much Ado about Nothing), Feste, Twelfth Night; Touchstone, As You Like It; Shaw’s Julius Caesar; Bellomy, The Fantasticks; Mr. Smith, Meet Me in St. Louis; and his favorite lovable sidekick — The Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz.
“In Chekhov's The Three Sisters, Jim Chamberlain gives a deft and nuanced performance as the cuckold Kulygin; just as he breaks your heart, he lifts it with his subtle and charming sense of humor.”
Professor of Acting & Drama, Hofstra University
For film and TV (and especially commercials), Jim has spent the past several years mastering the art of playing everyday, common, and even vulgar types. But whatever the role, Jim always projects the innate charm, humor and believability that have served him well his entire professional life, whether onstage or on the film set, or on a podium or in a board room.
“You can’t hammer a nail with a sponge no matter how hard you soak it.”