J. E. Freeman is an American actor, often cast in tough guy roles.
His first movie appearance was in the early 1980s actioner An Eye for an Eye in which he plays a tow truck driver who minces words with Chuck Norris.
Freeman is especially known for his menacing characters roles: the evil gangster Marcello Santos in David Lynch's Wild at Heart, the terrifying Eddie Dane, ferocious gay hitman from Miller's Crossing, and the infamous scientist Wren in Alien Resurrection. Other notable appearances in : Ruthless People, Patriot Games, Copycat and Go.
Freeman is openly gay. At age 22, he admitted his sexuality to the United States Marine Corps to avoid being drafted to the Vietnam War, leading to his discharge. He is HIV-positive since circa 1984. In 2009, he published a letter to the editor on sfgate.com, detailing his reminiscences of the 1969 Stonewall riots. He writes poetry and has a tumblr blog dedicated to his poetry.
Freeman trained as an actor with Jean Shelton at Shelton Studios in the San Francisco area in the 1970s. He was nominated for best actor for playing Teach in the west coast premiere of David Mamet's American Buffalo, which also featured George Eckel and Charles Bouvier. After directing Look Back in Anger in 1979, Freeman moved to Los Angeles to pursue his film career.