It took a couple of years after he made his debut onscreen before James Roday got his big break. His role as Shawn Spencer, a fake psychic and consultant detective in the USA Network show, Psych, brought him to the limelight and made him a star. Since then, he has topped up his impressive acting performances with roles in other TV shows and the big screen. The actor hasn’t just brought characters to life; he has also written them and facilitated their presence onscreen as a writer and a producer. It has been an impressive career for the New York University theatre graduate.
James Roday’s Journey to Hollywood
The sensational actor, producer, and scriptwriter was born on April 4, 1976, into a mixed ethnic family. His father Jaime Rodriguez is of Mexican descent and his mother, Irene Rodriguez, from an English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry. He was given the name James David Rodriguez at birth and raised by his Air Force Sergeant father and his mother.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, James Roday kicked off his academic pursuit by attending Taft High school in San Antonio. He acquired a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of New York after studying theatre at the prestigious school.
James Roday had no intention of merely having an academic relationship with theatre and acting. So, he set out after an acting career. To register in the Screen Actors Guild, he had to change his name from James Rodriguez to James Roday. The change was forced by the Guild’s policy of having one actor to one name. As for his choice, Roday, he picked it because producers at the time encouraged him to choose a name that reflects his Caucasian looks, even though he’s Latino.
With a name change completed, he started his professional career by featuring in theatrical works. Notably, he was a lead cast in Sexual Perversity. Onscreen, he made his debut in 1999 at the age of 23.
The Significant Works of His Acting Career
The actor’s big-screen debut happened in the 1999 movie, Coming Soon. Subsequently, he had credits in the 2003 film, Rolling Kansas and The Dukes of Hazzard in 2005. Besides films, he has a significant presence on TV. His debut appearance was in Ryan Caulfield: Year One (1999). He followed it with appearances in shows like First Years in 2001 and NBC’s Miss Match in 2003.
His big break happened in 2006 when he got cast as one of Psyche’s two male leads, as Shawn Spencer. The series aired for eight seasons and came to an end in 2014, with James appearing in all but one of the show’s 121 episodes.
In 2017, James Roday had a comeback hit as he starred in the television movie PSYCHE: The Movie. A sequel, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home, was officially announced on February 14, 2019. It filmed in Vancouver and was released in July 2020.
He began appearing as Gary Mendez in the ABC show, A Million Little Things, in 2018. He is one of the show’s leading cast members and has appeared in all 36 episodes of its first two seasons. Other notable projects in James Roday’s filmography include Good Session, Berserk, and The Buddy Games.
Awards and Recognition
James Roday has claimed many significant awards and nominations for his performances. In 2006, he received a nomination for Best Actor in Series, Comedy or Musical for Psych from the Satellite Awards. Other nominations for Psych include Image Awards, Imagen Award, OFTA Television Award, and ALMA Awards.
Other than his Psych role, he has also received award recognition for his performance in the 2016 comedy-drama, Pushing Dead. He received a nomination for Best Actor from the FilmOut Festival Award. In all, James has ten nominations to his name and two wins.
The Actor Is an Accomplished Producer and Director
James hasn’t just made his name in front of the camera as an actor; he has also become a notable name behind the camera. Roday is a credited producer and director, with footprints across several projects.
As a producer, he has worked primarily on Psych, in 89 episodes of the show and its 2017 and 2020 TV movies. His non-Psych producer credit includes Quest for Truth (2016). With the success of his productions, studio heads and TV companies have trusted James even more, to helm the camera as a director.
He has directed multiple shows with several episodes. James directed eight episodes of his hit show Psych between 2009 and 2014. Roday has also directed several episodes of Rosewood, Blood Drive, The Resident, Battle Creek, and Into the Dark. His only non-TV show projects as a director are Quest for Truth and Gravy.
He Is Also a Scriptwriter
Expanding his expertise beyond the limits of acting has guaranteed that James Roday will always be working, in one way or the other. Aside from being a director and producer, he is also a writer, with at least seven credits to his name.
The majority of his writing has been for Psych, but it started in 2006, with the film Skinwalkers. He has written other works like Gravy, Quest for Truth, and the Treehouse episode of Into the Dark. He also wrote the sequel to the Psych movie, Psych 2: Lassie Come Home.
Roday’s Career Has Been Financially Rewarding
Acting on its own can be very lucrative, especially if you are a TV actor who gets to play a lead role in a long-running show like Psych. If you work in other capacities as a director, writer, or producer, your sources of income increase, and you are likely to be worth more.
It explains James Roday’s estimated net worth of $10 million. He has not only made money playing the lovable Shawn Spencer but has accrued millions working behind the scenes.
Aside from his behind the scenes and acting work, he also makes money from Red Dog Squadron, an LA theater company he co-founded with Brad Raider in 2002. The company has produced a few stage shows, including Henry V and Cal in Camo. He also bought the El Centro Theatre in 2012, which he flipped after some renovations in 2018.
A net worth of $10 million gives James Roday a lot to buy and play around with, but the actor has been extremely private with his expenses thus far.
However, we do know some of it goes to charity. He was part of a group of guests who raised $600,000 for the mental health advocacy organization, Vibrant Emotional Health, in 2019. He is also a supporter of the Save Elephant Foundation and Road Dogs & Rescue.
He Is The Richest Cast Member of Psych
James Roday is the richest cast member of Psych, $2 million ahead of Dule Hill, his fellow lead star, who has a net worth of $8 million. Aside from Psych, Dule has made his money starring in other shows like Suits and The West Wing.
Maggie Lawson, who played James’ love interest in the show, has a net worth of $2 million. The show remains her most prominent work, although she has made other appearances in works like The Story of Us, Two and a Half Men, and The Ranch.
Other noteworthy cast members include Timothy Omundson ($3 million), Corbin Bensen ($6 million), and Kirsten Nelson ($6 million).
The Actor Might Be Single
His feature in Psyche did not just end in making James Roday famous. He also dated his co-star Maggie Lawson, who played Juliet O’Hara in the series. Their love story on-screen and in real life, or at least the beginning and end of it, was eerily similar.
They met for the first time on set, and so did their respective characters, who met each other at work. But while things were pretty straightforward in real life, there were a lot of uncertainties for their characters.
In fact, despite their characters’ mutual attraction, they did not go out on a date until at least the third season and didn’t become a thing until the fifth season. In real life, they began to date in 2006 and sustained the relationship for seven years. For reasons neither of them has shared, the couple broke up.
While Maggie went on to date and marry another actor named Ben Koldyle, James never got into any prominent relationship. The closest he has come to one publicly was a rumored affair with This is Us star, Mandy Moore, in 2014.
Is He Getting Back Together With Lawson?
Now, we wouldn’t bet on it, but internet sleuths and fans of Shules have uncovered evidence that suggests James Roday and Maggie Lawson might be getting back together.
Since her marriage ended in 2017, the actor and actress have been spending a lot more time together. To be fair, some of those times have also involved cast members of Psych, like Dule and Osmundson.
But we will say this, James has rarely been linked with anyone since the breakup. Neither has Maggie since her divorce. So, make of that what you will.