James S. Tolkan (born June 20, 1931) is an American actor, often cast as a strict, overbearing, bald-headed authority figure. He was born in Calumet, Michigan, the son of Ralph M. Tolkan, a cattle dealer, and attended the University of Iowa, Coe College, the Actors Studio and Eastern Arizona College. Tolkan currently lives in Lake Placid, New York and is an active participant in the Saranac Lake Pool League. Tolkan is known for his role in the 1985 film Back to the Future as the strict, disciplinarian Hill Valley High School principal Gerald Strickland. He referred to Marty McFly, his father, and Biff Tannen derisively as 'slackers.' He reprised the role in the 1989 sequel Back to the Future Part II, where unnamed gang members made a drive-by assault on him in a bleak alternate present (then 1985)-he also referred to these criminals as 'slackers' as he shot back(The character of Principal Strickland is sometimes credited with coining the 1990s' slang term 'Slacker').
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