Courtney, born James Jude Herbkersman in Portland, Ohio, was raised in Columbia, South Carolina as the eldest of seven brothers. From an early age, Courtney was determined to become an actor and made short films from fifth grade through college. He majored in journalism at the University of South Carolina in 1981 and subsequently moved to California to pursue acting. There, he started working at Universal Studios Hollywood as a tour guide before he was cast as Conan in the park\'s Conan the Barbarian live show. Courtney applied his martial arts skills to the role, which demanded high falls and sword fights; he sustained multiple injuries during performances. At Universal Studios, Courtney met actor Brian Thompson and stunt coordinator Alex Daniels, who helped him to branch out as a stunt performer. He also pursued acting studies at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and was coached by Stella Adler.\n', 'Courtney made his film acting debut in The Freeway Maniac (1989) and continued acting through 2002. In 1997, he gained wider recognition in the role Der Kindestod in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Killed by Death".\n', 'Courtney played Michael Myers in David Gordon Green\'s horror film Halloween, the 2018 sequel to John Carpenter\'s 1978 film of the same name. Green explained to Courtney his vision for Myers\' mannerisms, an amalgamation of the performance of Nick Castle, 1978 Myers actor, and the addition of a feline style of movement. Courtney tailored his portrayal to those specifications by observing the movement of his cat: "I think cats are the most perfect hunting machines on the planet. And the beauty of it is we don\'t judge a cat for what a cat does. So I sort of carried that movement and the non-judgmental approach to the way I moved as The Shape, which I learned from my cat Parcival." Courtney used Carpenter and Castle\'s work on the original film to inform how the forty years that transpired between the events of the films would affect the character. The December 2017 announcement of Castle\'s participation in the film was widely reported as his retaking the role of Myers, with Courtney only doing additional work as the character. However, in a 2018 interview, Courtney stated that Castle\'s screentime was minimal and that the great majority of the work under the mask was done by Courtney, which led to the question of whether Castle\'s return had been misrepresented by the production. Honoring his portrayal of Michael Myers, October 19, the film\'s United States opening day, was officially proclaimed James Jude Courtney Day in Warren County, Kentucky from Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon. In January 2019, Courtney was nominated for Best Actor at the 2019 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards alongside Castle for his work in Halloween.\n', '