James McCaffrey, the actor who was the voice of Max Payne in the eponymous video game franchise, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 65 years old.
McCaffrey’s death was confirmed on Monday by TMZ, who reported that a representative of McCaffrey informed them that the actor had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and passed on Sunday surrounded by his friends and family.
McCaffrey is perhaps best known for portraying detective-turned-vigilante Max Payne, but had a decades-long career that began in the late ‘80s with a direct-to-video film titled New York’s Finest. By the mid-1990s, he had appeared in several films and television shows, played the role of Captain Arthur O’Breun in the Fox series New York Undercover, and landed a starring part in a short-lived NBC series called Viper.
Going into the 2000s, McCaffrey made appearances on Sex in the City, Law & Order, and other titles. Then, in 2001, he took on the role of Max Payne for the game series’ first installment, which debuted in July of that year. With unique gameplay and ongoing internal dialogue from McCaffrey’s character, the game stood apart from competitors, and ultimately grew into a massive franchise spanning multiple games and mediums.
McCaffrey reprised the role of Payne for the series’ second game, 2003’s Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, and third game, 2012’s Max Payne 3, for which he also provided motion-capturing for the role. He also made a cameo as FBI Special Agent Jack Taliente in the 2008 film adaptation, Max Payne, which starred Mark Wahlberg in the titular role.
Beyond Max Payne, McCaffrey is also known for his work on another Sam Lake-written game series: Alan Wake. In 2010, he portrayed the characters Thomas Zane and Alex Casey in the series’ first installment. Then, just this past October, he reprised the role of Alex Casey for the series’ second title, Alan Wake 2, which has already been named as the best video game of 2023 by Time magazine.
Even with his success as a voice actor, though, McCaffrey continued to act in film and television. From 2004 through 2011, he had a recurring role as fallen firefighter Jimmy Keefe on the FX series, Rescue Me. Additionally, he appeared on shows like Blue Bloods, Revenge, Suits, White Collar, She’s Gotta Have It, and more.
Many have shared their love and appreciation for McCaffrey in the wake of his death, including the Alan Wake 2 Twitter account, which posted a statement on Monday morning. “We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of our beloved friend and collaborator James McCaffrey, the iconic voice of Max Payne and Alex Casey,” it reads. “His remarkable talent not only gave life to our characters but also left an enduring impact on our community. Our hearts go out to his family in this time of loss.”
In his own statement, Sam Lake wrote: “I’m heartbroken to hear the sad news of James McCaffrey’s passing. We worked together for more than 25 years. He was a lovely man and a dear friend. He was a key part of the Remedy family. He was a brilliant actor. No one could do what he did better than him… I will cherish his memory and I miss him. My deepest condolences to his family.”
We are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of our beloved friend and collaborator James McCaffrey, the iconic voice of Max Payne and Alex Casey. His remarkable talent not only gave life to our characters but also left an enduring impact on our community. Our hearts go out… pic.twitter.com/RDs5m6FhzD
— Alan Wake 2 (@alanwake) December 18, 2023
James was Max Payne, Thomas Zane, Zachariah Trench and finally Alex Casey. I had the honor of sharing Max Payne’s role and Casey’s role with him. He was a joy to work with. I will cherish his memory and I
miss him. My deepest condolences to his family. Rest in peace, Jim (2/2) pic.twitter.com/XwzGoRfJdv
— Sam Lake (@SamLakeRMD) December 18, 2023