While Beloit College may have been a mere punch line to a joke for the editors of the old National Lampoon, it was Dear Old Alma Mater to actor Jameson Parker. The son of a U.S. diplomat, Parker had wanted to get into Harvard like most of the rest of the men in his family, but his track record of getting kicked out of exclusive schools all over the world hardly worked in his favor. Inaugurating his theatrical career in a touring Passion Play, Parker began showing up on TV in the mid-1970s in miniseries like 79 Park Avenue and Once an Eagle, and in films like The Bell Jar (1979). On the soap-opera circuit, he enjoyed substantial runs as Brad Vernon in One Life to Live and Dale Robinson in Somerset. Jameson Parker's chief claim to fame was the role of clean-cut private eye Andrew Jackson (A.J.) Simon on the long running (1981-88) TV series Simon and Simon. Three years afetr Simon and Simon went off the air Parker made headlines when he was shot by a neighbor during a heated dispute -- an event the actor would later recount in his memoir An Accidental Cowboy.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Was educated at a variety of prep schools in America, Germany, Belgium and Switzerland.
- Kicked off career by appearing in a breath-mint commercial.
- Appeared in the soap operas Somerset and One Life to Live.
- Rose to prominence playing fastidious gumshoe A.J. Simon in the 1981-88 CBS series Simon & Simon.
- In 1992, was shot by a neighbor during a dispute.
- Authored the book Accidental Cowboy, which recalls his experience living on a cattle-and-horse ranch in the hills of California, where he moved after the shooting.
- Won an animal-shelter award for "Eulogy," about the death of his dog, Max; it appeared in a book he compiled, To Absent Friends: A Collection of Stories of the Dogs We Miss.
- Hobbies have included karate, boxing and swimming.