James Donald


Actor
James Donald

About

Birth Place
United Kingdom
Born
May 18, 1917
Died
August 03, 1993
Cause of Death
Stomach Cancer

Biography

The film career of Scotsman James Donald began in earnest with the role of Theo Van Gogh, opposite Kirk Douglas as Vincent, in the 1956 biopic "Lust for Life." Two years later, he had another one of his more famous film opportunities alongside Douglas once again, this time as a manly rather than a sensitive sibling in the 1958 adventure "The Vikings." But it was the movie that Donald mad...

Biography

The film career of Scotsman James Donald began in earnest with the role of Theo Van Gogh, opposite Kirk Douglas as Vincent, in the 1956 biopic "Lust for Life." Two years later, he had another one of his more famous film opportunities alongside Douglas once again, this time as a manly rather than a sensitive sibling in the 1958 adventure "The Vikings." But it was the movie that Donald made in between, David Lean's timeless wartime drama "Bridge on the River Kwai," that forever stamped the Scot in the cinematic consciousness. At the end of epic battle between the characters played by Alec Guinness and William Holden, it was Donald as Major Clipton who got to utter the famous final line of dialogue, "Madness. Madness!" In 1963, Donald was part of another one of the great World War II movies of all-time, "The Great Escape," starring as Group Captain Ramsey, the senior British officer interned in the German POW camp at the center of the fact-inspired Steve McQueen classic. Some of the actor's other performances of note include yet another World War II POW film, 1965's "King Rat," set in Singapore, and the co-starring role of Nathaniel Winkle in a 1952 version of Charles Dickens' "The Pickwick Papers."

Life Events

1935

Stage acting debut

1941

Film acting debut

1946

Tv acting debut

Videos

Movie Clip

Lust For Life (1956) - What Do You Know About Pain? Amsterdam, 1881, failed painter Vincent Van Gogh (Kirk Douglas) visits his aunt and uncle (Isobel Elsom, Wilton Graff) demanding to see their daughter, his cousin, whom he loves, prompting an incident verified by the uncle, though forgotten by the artist, in Vincente Minnelli’s bio-pic Lust For Life, 1956.
Great Escape, The (1963) - All The Rotten Eggs Already established as “Big X,” the recently-apprehended chief of numerous major escapes, Brit officer Bartlett (Richard Attenborough) is received by Ramsey (James Donald), ranking officer at the new Nazi camp designed to hold known escape experts, in The Great Escape, 1963.
Great Escape, The (1963) - Open, The Way It Really Happened Director John Sturges’ opening, Elmer Bernstein’s famous theme, Steve McQueen, James Garner and Richard Attenborough, billed above many future leading-men, from the 1963 hit The Great Escape, based on the best-selling book by Paul Brickhill, himself a participant in the historic World War II events.
Great Escape, The (1963) - Open Up Harry Fragile Ives (Angus Lennie) with MacDonald (Gordon Jackson) enjoying a 4th of July party when the Germans discover the tunnel named “Tom,” causing Hilts (Steve McQueen) to tell Bartlett (Richard Attenborough) he’ll undertake a daring recon mission, in The Great Escape, 1963.
Lust For Life (1956) - Two Kinds Of Idleness Dutch art dealer Theo Van Gogh (James Donald) finds his brother the failed missionary Vincent (Kirk Douglas) in Belgium and urges him to come home, early in Vincente Minnelli's Lust For Life, 1956.
Lust For Life (1956) - You Call That A Life? Director Vincente Minnelli offers vignettes from the novel by Irving Stone, based on the life of the artist Vincent Van Gogh (Kirk Douglas), and his relations with the single-mother ex-prostitute Sien Hoornik (Pamela Brown, in the movie called “Christine”), The Hague, ca. 1882, in Lust For Life, 1956.
Vikings, The - This Beautiful Child The English confirm their Christianity and distrustful nature, as King Aella (Frank Thring) takes Morgana (Janet Leigh) in wedlock and busts sneaky Egbert (James Donald) in Richard Fleischer's The Vikings, 1958.
Vikings, The - Don't Kill Him! Kirk Douglas (as Einar), showing off his hawk for English spy Egbert (James Donald), loses an eye (this time) in an encounter with virile slave Eric (Tony Curtis) in an early scene from Richard Fleischer's The Vikings, 1958.
Vikings, The - Brains, Not Brawn! Jack Cardiff's cinematography leading the way as big-shot Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine) sails in with spy Egbert (James Donald) and meets strapping son Einar (Kirk Douglas) in The Vikings, 1958.

Trailer

Bibliography