The gig: James Duff is the creator and an executive producer of the long-running
Meeting a mentor: After graduating from high school in Lubbock, Duff enrolled at Texas Tech University, where he met his mentor, actor
From the stage to the page: Duff began his career as a stage actor, appearing in Dallas and later moving to New York. He took up writing, initially as a way to fill time between acting auditions in New York. "I noticed that there were about a billion actors for every part and there were not very many plays," he said. "I thought maybe writing plays would be the way in." One of his plays became the Broadway drama "Home Front," which was later turned into a 1996 feature film called "The War at Home" with Kathy Bates, Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen.
Early struggles: In the late 1980s, Duff hit a low point. His
A lesson in perseverance: Duff worked his way through 18 pilot scripts before he hit pay dirt almost 10 years ago with "The Closer," about a dogged police detective who heads a unit of the LAPD that handles high-profile murder cases. Duff created and produced the show with Greer Shephard and Michael Robin, who also worked with him on an earlier TV series, "The D.A.," which was canceled after four shows. "There's no better teacher than failure," Duff said. "The lesson I've learned in my journey has been persistence and to continue working no matter what happens, because things are not always going to go your way. You're not always going to produce great work. Not everything you do is going to be brushed with gold."
Write about what you know: "No matter what any writer tells you, you're always writing about yourself," Duff said. He said