Born in Portland, Oregon, he began his career at Time/Life in 1983 as a Special Correspondent for People Magazine reporting numerous cover stories including two best-selling Sexiest Man Alive covers. In 1986, he left People joining The Fox Network as a segment producer for The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers. When Rivers was fired, Grant was promoted to co-producer of the show working with several different guest hosts including Arsenio Hall, Mel Brooks and Suzanne Somers.
In 1987, he was named West Coast Bureau Chief of Life Magazine based in Los Angeles re-establishing all editorial operations for the magazine in Hollywood. At age 27, he was the youngest Life Hollywood Bureau Chief in the history of Time/Life. While at Life, Grant landed several major exclusives for the magazine including the first interview with Donna Rice following the breaking news of her alleged involvement with then Presidential front-runner Senator Gary Hart. That same year, Grant conducted exclusive interviews with newsmakers Diane Sawyer, Jim & Tammy Faye Bakker, Jessica Hahn and former Governor Jerry Brown discussing his work with Mother Teresa in Calcutta.
In 1990, Grant moved over to Entertainment Weekly, another Time Warner publication, under contract writing cover stories and helping to establish the magazine in Hollywood. In 1993, Grant interviewed River Phoenix for the cover of Detour. The interview turned out to be the actor's last cover story before his overdose a few weeks later. That same year, Grant became a regular contributor to the Los Angeles Times doing over a dozen profiles on filmmakers including Will Smith, Forest Whitaker, John Waters, Elizabeth Taylor and Gregory Peck.
As an entertainment commentator, Grant has appeared on Larry King Live, Entertainment Tonight, CNN's Showbiz Today, CBS News, The McLaughlin Group, E! Network, A.M. Los Angeles, Mid-Morning L.A., A.M. San Francisco, People Are Talking, A.M. Seattle, and A.M. Northwest. He has also been a frequent guest on radio shows including The Rick Dees Show and The Tom Snyder Show.
Also an established photographer, Grant has photographed over fifty celebrities including Matthew Broderick, Sir Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Rebecca De Mornay, Dylan McDermott, Gloria Reuben, Dennis Haysbert, Pedro Almodóvar, Randy Travis and Antonio Sabato Jr. His photography has been published in People, Entertainment Weekly, T.V. Guide, Max (Italy) and syndicated worldwide.
He has also served as West Coast Publicity Director of Orion Pictures and as a Media Consultant to heiress Aileen Getty in helping to bring awareness to Women With AIDS.
In January 2009, Variety reported that Grant had been hired by MRG - The Michael Russell Group as Vice President and would oversee all aspects of the company's public relations operations for the newly established New York office. On January 18, 2011, PR Week reported that Grant was leaving MRG to launch his own PR company—JGPR, James Grant Public Relations based in New York. It was reported that Grant took with him all his clients along with his entire PR team to the new company. Those clients included two of New York's most prestigious non-profit organizations—The Loreen Arbus Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy of New York City. In addition to those accounts, JGPR subsequently signed The White House Project, The Epic Awards, Women Who Care, Best-Selling author Mary Buffett, actress Robin Givens, noted Photographer Javier Gomez, The Elly Awards with Barbara Walters and other accounts.