Say What?! Many SHOCKED By The REAL LIFE JOB ‘Big Red’ Had Before He Acting!
“Big Red” a.k.a. Hawthorne James played one of the most memorable characters ever! As a matter of fact, it’s hard to look at his photo without saying this: “My office hours are from 9 to 5.” Anyone who’s seen the movie, Five Heartbeats, knows exactly what we’re talking about. Anyways, James actually is totally different from his crooked low down character, “Big Red.” He had a prior career that most people probably would have never guessed he would have…
Hawthorne James’ Job BEFORE He Became “Big Red”
Hawthorne James was a PROFESSOR at Illinois State University! Can you imagine “Big Red” walking into your classroom and telling you to open up your textbooks to chapter 24? He’s a very intelligent man, but it would be hard for the brotha to shake that villain look in a classroom setting.
He’s A Notre Dame Graduate
Hawthorne graduated from Notre Dame University and has a masters degree from the University of Michigan. He also studied at London Shakesphere Academy. He taught at Illinois State University for two years, prior to going to L.A. to pursue acting professionally. He is also a producer, director, and writer. In a recent Youtube interview, Hawthorne stated:
“I knew I didn’t wanna teach. That was way too political for me in the theater department.”
Hawthorne Explains Why He Quit Career As Professor To Become An Actor
‘Big Red’ said that although he’s been performing on stage since he was five, it wasn’t until he toured with his high school as part of the cast for Hamlet, that he really caught the acting bug:
Hawthorne James: “It [the high school “Hamlet” tour] opened my eyes because you know, I’m a kid from the south side of Chicago, so I very rarely got to see White people. When we went on tour we stayed at White people’s houses and you know, being a kid, you’re thinking white beans and cornbread is normal. Maaan, I got to them folks’ houses- they were eating steaks and chicken and (laughs) it just totally opened my eyes and I was like ‘Well wait a minute! Woah! People live like this?!!”
“Then the straw that really broke the camel’s back…was when I was doing a play in high school in Michigan. Right before I went on stage, a girl kissed me…man I went out on stage and probably forgot all my lines, I was hooked then boy! I get kissed for going out on stage?!! I’m done! This is it buddy! (laughs) And you know what’s funny? I never let another girl kiss me before I went out on stage for a long time. That became a big superstition of mine.”
By the way, Hawthorne James informed us that he read this article. Apparently he has a good sense of humor, because he didn’t seem pissed off that we repeatedly called him “Big Red” throughout this article, instead of just his actual name. We’re glad he wasn’t heated over the name thing though, because we wouldn’t have wanted any of our staff members getting dangled over a balcony…I joke I joke, I kid, I kid, LOL.
Seriously though, we greatly respect this brotha for staying dedicated to his craft and gracing us all with a character that left such a lasting impression on our souls.
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