Jenkins began his acting career performing in high school stage productions in his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. "As a teenager, I discovered a love for acting and theater arts that defined me for the rest of my life," he said. Jenkins went on to study drama at Antioch College, and performed on Broadway and in regional theater throughout his college years. In 1969, Jenkins co-founded and served for three years as associate artistic director of the prestigious Actors Theatre of Louisville, which became a breeding ground for some of America's best new playwrights, including Beth Henley and Marsha Norman. Jenkins continued to work with the theater as an actor, director and writer through 1983.
During more than 30 years in the theater, Jenkins has been associated with an average of 10 plays a year as an actor, director or playwright. Jenkins has portrayed both Hamlet and Cyrano de Bergerac, and performed in other classics by Shakespeare, as well as those by Shaw and Ibsen. One of his favorite moments as an actor, however, was performing opposite his son, actor Danny Jenkins, in the 1985 Broadway musical "Big River."
In 1987, Jenkins appeared in John Sayles' critically acclaimed feature film "Matewan," which opened his mind to the joy of working in film. His recent film credits include "I Am Sam," "The Sum of All Fears" and "Clockstoppers." Jenkins has also appeared in such films as "The Abyss," "Air America," "Last Man Standing" and "Courage Under Fire" and is featured in the upcoming Christopher Guest/Eugene Levy comedy feature "For Your Consideration."
Jenkins' television credits include a co-starring role for two seasons on the drama "Homefront," in addition to guest-starring roles on "The X-Files," "Family Law" and "Chicago Hope." Jenkins also starred in the television movies "Thirst," "And the Band Played On" and "Hiroshima."
Jenkins is an avid woodworker and a skilled dog trainer. Jenkins has three sons, Matthew, Daniel and Joshua, and currently resides in Los Angeles.