Office of University Communications & Marketing

Tolkan Donates Scripts, Memorabilia To UNA Archives
Apr. 26, 2012



FLORENCE, Ala. – Notable actor James Tolkan has donated multiple theatre and movie scripts as well as other memorabilia to the University of North Alabama for inclusion in the school’s archive collection, housed in the Collier Library. 

A special guest of the George Lindsey UNA Film Festival in 2010, Tolkan is known for his diverse roles on stage and screen, including the strict, intimidating Principal Strickland in the “Back to the Future” films, Commander Hondo in “Top Gun” and memorable roles in “War Games,” “Masters of the Universe,” “Dick Tracy” and Woody Allen’s “Love and Death,” in which he took on the roles of both Napoleon and a Napoleon lookalike.

Tolkan has made multiple television appearances, including more than a dozen episodes of “A Nero Wolfe Mystery,” two of which he directed. Tolkan, who studied acting with Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler at the Actors Studio, has performed in many stage productions, including “Wait Until Dark,” “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Macbeth.” Most recently, he appeared in the television show “Leverage,” which stars his longtime friend Timothy Hutton. Tolkan will also be seen in the still untitled HBO biopic about music business legend Phil Spector.

Tolkan’s generous donation to the UNA archive collection includes scripts from many of his roles as well as director’s notes from “A Nero Wolfe Mystery” and newspaper clippings. Tolkan also donated personal correspondence, including congratulatory notes from actor Robert Redford and director Mike Nichols. Completing the collection is an audio CD recorded by Tolkan in which he shares memories about his career as well as advice for students studying his materials.

Tolkan and his wife, Parmelee, live in Lake Placid, N.Y., where they are active supporters of the arts and where James plays with the Saranac Lake Pool League and is an avid golfer.

The UNA archive collection contains many valuable pieces, including the personal collection of scripts from Ernest Borgnine, the George S. Lindsey Collection and rare photos, DVDs, scripts and other memorabilia from such iconic entertainment personalities as Claude rains, Norman Lloyd, James Best, George Clayton Johnson and others.