The prep school, recalled Cromwell, was very organized and bound in tradition, with all of the students being white boys.
Most of them would bring records of Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett to school, but this sound never resonated with young Cromwell.
“To me, they seemed like stylized crooners singing about some fake emotion and I found them quite boring,” he wrote. “I later grew very fond of Tony Bennett, but at that time he didn’t seem to project that wonderful persona through his music.”
After graduating from high school, he went to Middlebury College before realizing he wanted to act.
So despite the discouragement of his father, John Cromwell, a famous film and stage director, he joined the performing arts college HB Studio in New York.
Now decades on and with dozens of hits on his resume, he knows he made the right choice for his future.
Read more about James Cromwell at The Guardian by clicking here.