James was born in Chicago, Illinois and came to Tucson with his family in 1969. As a student at Sahuaro High School, James participated in the vocal music and drama departments. He performed in many theatrical productions and in his senior year was elected President of Sahuaro’s chapter of the International Thespian Society. James went on to study acting and directing as a scholarship student at the University of Arizona working closely with the late Peter R. Moroney. After college, he acted briefly with the Saguaro Dinner Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company. He then spent many years as an actor and director at the popular Gaslight Theatre. In 1989 James journeyed to Salt Lake City to found the Desert Star Playhouse. Upon returning to Tucson, James directed productions for the Shakespeare in the Park Program before founding Live Theatre Workshop in 1994 where he currently serves as Artistic Director. James has performed in motion pictures and on television.
He is a member of Screen Actors Guild, Saint Albans Episcopal Church and serves on the Board of Directors of the Educational Enrichment Foundation. James is one of the finest teachers of acting in the City of Tucson. He works well with all ages from children to senior citizens. As a director he is imaginative and is able to get the finest performances from his actors. He continually receives accolades for his performances as an actor and as a director.
James is married to Elizabeth Seddon-Gooden, an actress, playwright, director, and teacher. The production they are most proud of is their son, Andrew James Mitchell Gooden, born July 30, 1999. James is a fine, upstanding young man who is continuously contributing to the cultural enrichment of the City of Tucson.