Sharp-featured character actor James Griffith set out in life to be a professional musician. He eased into acting instead, working the little-theatre route in his hometown of Los Angeles. In 1939, Griffith appeared in his first professional production, They Can't Get You Down. Following World War II service, he made his first film, Black Ice (1946). Steadily employed in westerns, James Griffith was generally cast as an outlaw, save for a few comparative good-guy assignments such as Sheriff Pat Garrett in The Law vs. Billy the Kid (1954).