American Dreams

Jonathan Adams

Jonathan Adams Jonathan Adams

Henry Walker

Jonathan Adams is too young to remember anything about the chaotic 1960s from first-hand experience but as he prepares to play an African-American electronics store salesman and father who witnesses the social upheaval in NBC's nostalgic "American Dreams," he can relate to the resulting changes wrought from those years.

"By the time I got to grade school in the early 1970s, I noticed that the newer history books had larger and larger pictures than before of the patriot Crispus Attucks, who died in the Boston Massacre," says Adams. "I benefited from the history of the 1960s because I saw the historical accounts and learned of contributions of African-Americans during that time. I know we will try to do them justice in our series."

Adams was born and raised in Pittsburgh as the youngest of five children. Their father was a warehouse foreman for General Electric and their late mother worked for the county health department. He discovered at 16 that "acting was the only thing that gave me joy," so after performing in high school productions, Adams enrolled in his hometown's Carnegie-Mellon University to study theater. When he ran out of cash for his education after 18 months, Adams sought work in Pittsburgh's live theater and eventually was cast in playwright Arthur Miller's "Danger: Memory." After appearing in additional stage work, he co-starred in the locally filmed and low-budget feature "Two Evil Eyes."

In 1989, Adams moved to Seattle and starred in several classical theater productions -- as well as in many vehicles penned by August Wilson - as staged across the country. He married his wife, actress Monica Farrell, in 1994 and the couple set up household in Ashland, Oregon three years later while Adams appeared in various plays for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His varied credits over four seasons there include "The Taming of the Shrew," "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Cymbelline."

Adams' big career break occurred in 2000 during his performance as Petruchio in "Taming" when the casting director of NBC's "Frasier" saw his work and urged him to come to Los Angeles to test for other roles. He acquiesced and came south where he soon found a manager and secured guest-starring roles in "Frasier," "City of Angels," "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Felicity." As a result, Adams parlayed the noteworthy guest shots into a regular series role on "The American Embassy" in 2002 as the U.S. consul general in London.

Adams relishes his chance to play Henry as a family man - and plans to invest him with his father's character traits. "The thing to remember is that Henry has to live in two totally different worlds," he says. When not working, Adams enjoys spending time with his 4-year-old daughter, Sydney, and his wife. He also enjoys playing chess and reading historical fiction and science fiction. His birthday is July 16.

Photos: Paul Drinkwater

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Last modified on Sunday, 12-Sep-2010 23:22:24 CDT.