James Norman "Jim" Beaver, Jr. (born August 12, 1950) is an American stage, film, and television actor, playwright, screenwriter, director, and film historian. He is perhaps most familiar to worldwide audiences as the gruff but tenderhearted prospector Whitney Ellsworth on the HBO Western drama series Deadwood, a starring role which brought him acclaim and a Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination for Ensemble Acting after three decades of supporting work in films and TV. He portrays Bobby Singer in the CW television series Supernatural and Sheriff Shelby Parlow on the FX series Justified. His memoir Life's That Way was published in April 2009.
Early Life: Beaver was born in Laramie, Wyoming, the son of Dorothy Adell (née Crawford) and James Norman Beaver, Sr. (1924–2004), a minister. His father was of French and English heritage (the family name was originally de Beauvoir, and Beaver is a distant cousin of author and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir and Pennsylvania governor General James A. Beaver), and his mother is Scottish-German-Cherokee and a descendant of senator, governor, and three-time U.S. Attorney General John J. Crittenden. Although his parents' families had both been long in Texas, Beaver was born in Laramie while his father was doing graduate work in accounting at the University of Wyoming. Returning to Texas, Beaver Sr. worked as an accountant and as a minister for the Church of Christ in Fort Worth, Texas; Crowley, Texas; Dallas, Texas; and Grapevine, Texas. For most of Jim Beaver's youth, his family lived in Irving, Texas, even while his father preached in surrounding communities. He and his three younger sisters (Denise, Reneé, and Teddlie) all attended Irving High School (where he was a classmate of ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard), but he transferred in his senior year to Fort Worth Christian Academy, from which he graduated in 1968. He also took courses at Fort Worth Christian College. Despite having appeared in some elementary-school plays, he showed no particular interest in an acting career, but immersed himself in film history and expressed a desire for a career as a writer, publishing a few short stories in his high school anthology.