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James Mason

James Mason

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Also Known As: James Neville Mason Died: July 27, 1984
Born: May 15, 1909 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Yorkshire, England, GB Profession: actor, producer, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Gifted with one of the most mellifluous and distinctive voices of his era, James Mason managed to convey volumes of emotion while often remaining surprisingly understated. Following some stage experience and roles in British B-pictures, Mason became a star in his homeland via films like "The Man in Grey" (1943), "The Wicked Lady" (1945), and "Odd Man Out" (1947) and was eventually lured to Hollywood. His performances in "The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel" (1951), "A Star is Born" (1954), "North by Northwest" (1959), and "Lolita" (1962) ranked amongst his very finest, though like a number of distinguished British ex-pats from that era, financial necessity and a staunch work ethic sometimes landed Mason in truly awful tripe like "Mandingo" (1975). Fortunately, such embarrassments were almost always followed in close succession by worthy projects like "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), "Murder by Decree" (1979), and "The Verdict" (1982) that made excellent use of attributes that had long endeared Mason to audiences worldwide. Mason's gruff, yet also uniquely velvety voice and cultured demeanor made him perfect to play aristocratic characters of both good and evil intent and his ability to add power or biting...

Gifted with one of the most mellifluous and distinctive voices of his era, James Mason managed to convey volumes of emotion while often remaining surprisingly understated. Following some stage experience and roles in British B-pictures, Mason became a star in his homeland via films like "The Man in Grey" (1943), "The Wicked Lady" (1945), and "Odd Man Out" (1947) and was eventually lured to Hollywood. His performances in "The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel" (1951), "A Star is Born" (1954), "North by Northwest" (1959), and "Lolita" (1962) ranked amongst his very finest, though like a number of distinguished British ex-pats from that era, financial necessity and a staunch work ethic sometimes landed Mason in truly awful tripe like "Mandingo" (1975). Fortunately, such embarrassments were almost always followed in close succession by worthy projects like "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), "Murder by Decree" (1979), and "The Verdict" (1982) that made excellent use of attributes that had long endeared Mason to audiences worldwide. Mason's gruff, yet also uniquely velvety voice and cultured demeanor made him perfect to play aristocratic characters of both good and evil intent and his ability to add power or biting humor to even the most inane dialogue helped raise mediocre projects to the level of watchable. Although he sometimes proved more difficult to cast than other leading men, Mason's uniqueness and versatility were his greatest assets and served him well throughout his career, particularly when he aged into being one of the finest character players in cinema.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Dangerous Summer, A (1987) Ingles
2.
 Unknown Chaplin (1986) Narration
3.
 Assisi Underground, The (1985) Bishop Nicolini
4.
 Shooting Party, The (1984) Sir Randolph Nettleby
5.
 Yellowbeard (1983) Captain Hughes
6.
 Alexandre (1983)
7.
 Ivanhoe (1982) Isaac Of York
8.
 The Verdict (1982) Ed Concannon
9.
 Evil Under The Sun (1982) Odell Gardener
10.
 Ffolkes (1980) Admiral Sir Francis Brinsden
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Upon graduation briefly worked as architect before trying hand at acting
1931:
Stage debut in touring production of "Rasputin the Rascal Monk" at Aldershot Hippodrome
1933:
West End debut in "Gallows Glorious"
1933:
Performed with Old Vic for season
:
Performed with Dublin's Gate Theater for season
1935:
Under contract to agent-director Albert Parker; film debut in Parker's "Late Extra"
1936:
Under contract to Fox-British
1938:
Formed Gamma Productions with Roy and Pamela Kellino
1939:
First film as co-screenwriter and producer (also actor and first Gamma production), "I Met a Murderer" (dir. Roy Kellino)
:
Was conscientious objector during WWII
1946:
Moved to USA; unsuccessful attempt to form production company with David Rose
1947:
Broadway debut in "Bathsheba"
1948:
First American film, "Caught", directed by Max Ophuls
1951:
Formed Portland Pictures production company
1951:
First Portland film, "Lady Possessed" (also co-writer; producer); based on novel by Pamela Kellino and co-directed by William Spier and Roy Kellino)
1953:
US TV debut on series, "Omnibus"
:
Hosted TV anthology series, "Lux Video Theater"
1962:
Moved to Vevey, Switzerland
1984:
Made last film, "The Assisi Underground" (released in 1985)
1993:
Career celebrated in a retrospective held at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater in New York City
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

The Old College: -
Marlborough College: -
Peterhouse College, University of Cambridge: - 1931

Notes

Mason is not to be confused with American actor James Mason (1890-1959), who was busy in American silent film but whose career declined with the advent of talking pictures.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Pamela Kellino. Actor, columnist, writer, TV host. Born 1916; married 1941, divorced 1964; daughter of producer Maurice Ostrer; formerly married to director Roy Kellino, with whom Pamela and Mason had formed Gamma Productions in 1938; died on June 29, 1996 at the age of 80.
wife:
Clarissa Kaye. Actor. Married August 8, 1971.

Family close complete family listing

father:
John Mason.
mother:
Mabel Mason.
daughter:
Portland Mason. Author, actor. Born 1948.
son:
Morgan Mason. Producer, executive, agent. Born 1949; was an executive producer of "sex, lies and videotape" (1989); married to pop singer Belinda Carlisle (formerly of the all-female band The Go-Gos).
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Cats in Our Lives"
"Before I Forget"
"James Mason: An Authorised Biography" World Film Publications
"The Films of James Mason" L.S.P. Books
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

Contributions

Gudrun Klauss ( 2007-04-02 )

Source: I own the 2 books listed. Other info from several websites and newspaper articles.

Mr. Mason's second wife, Clarissa Kaye, died on July 21,1994 of cancer.

His daughter Portland died on May 10, 2004.

Additional books about James Mason:
1) Odd Man Out by Morley Sheridan, Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1989.
2) James Mason, A Personal Biography, by Diana De Rosso, Lennard Publishing, Oxford, 1989. (Diana De Rosso is James Mason's sister-in-law, half-sister of Pamela Mason)

thedarkerside ( 2009-02-24 )

Source: not available

Books about James Mason:
James Mason: A Bio-Bibliography by Kevin Sweeney (Extremely detailed compilation of movies, TV and Stage appearances, audio recordings; books and articles about James Mason)

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