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Character player often in menacing or hard-bitten roles, J.E. Freeman worked on daytime soaps in New York and on stage in San Francisco -- winning praise for his performances in "American Buffalo" and "Getting Out" -- before moving to Los Angeles in the mid 80s and settling into continuous work in TV and films. Freeman started working in films around 1981, playing a small role in the Chuck Norris actioner, "An Eye for an Eye," and as the "Tow Truck Dude" in "Martial Arts." Although he won praise for his lead role as Ed Sloan, the uneducated man who commits murder to support his wife in "Hard Traveling" (1986), and was the serial killer in "Ruthless People" that same year, Freeman's feature career really took off in 1990. That year he co-starred for David Lynch in "Wild at Heart," was cast by the Coen Brothers as Dane, the homosexual hit man, in "Miller's Crossing." Solid co-starring roles in "Patriot Games" (1992) and "It Could Happen to You" (1994) followed. Freeman's TV career paralleled his feature film work. He had a bit part in the 1981 TV movie "Bitter Harvest," which starred Ron Howard as a farmer who realizes his cattle have been poisoned. Freeman also had a small role as a henchman in the 1986 miniseries "Fresno." In 1992, he had his first series role as Boone, the scruffy chauffeur in "The Fifth Corner," a short-lived NBC effort. He was the detective sure of Amy Fisher's guilt in "Casualties of Love: The Long Island Lolita Story," the CBS version of the scandal (1993).
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