James Fox


Actor

About

Also Known As
James William Fox, William Fox, William [James] Fox
Birth Place
London, England, GB
Born
May 19, 1939

Biography

Lanky blond British lead of the 1960s who began as a child actor in the early 50s. Fox's career showed great promise with his role as a boy whose life gets complicated once he acquires "The Magnet" (1951), but he soon gave up acting to finish school. He did not return to acting until a decade later, but quickly enjoyed success in the role of a haughty but ultimately malleable aristocrat ...

Family & Companions

Mary Elizabeth Piper
Wife
Met in 1972; married in 1973.

Bibliography

"Comeback: An Actor's Direction"
James Fox (1983)

Biography

Lanky blond British lead of the 1960s who began as a child actor in the early 50s. Fox's career showed great promise with his role as a boy whose life gets complicated once he acquires "The Magnet" (1951), but he soon gave up acting to finish school. He did not return to acting until a decade later, but quickly enjoyed success in the role of a haughty but ultimately malleable aristocrat strangely corrupted by his butler (Dirk Bogarde) in Joseph Losey's striking drama, "The Servant" (1963). This part, one of Fox's finest, typified many of his subsequent roles: classy yet often duplicitous, prone to weakness, decadence, and bad judgment.

Successfully venturing to Hollywood, Fox essayed similar characterizations in "King Rat" (1965), as a POW under the influence of a schemer (George Segal), and in "The Chase" (1966), as Jane Fonda's wealthy but spineless Texas husband. More conventional leading man duties came with "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (1967) and as one of the lovers of "Isadora" (1968) in that biopic of the dancing Duncan. Perhaps Fox's finest work in this period came in the bizarre but galvanizing "Performance" (1970), as a vicious hit man on the lam who hides out at a reclusive rock star's (Mick Jagger) mansion and falls prey to a series of bisexual orgies and weird costume changes.

Fox left acting in 1973 when he joined a Christian missionary group, the Navigators, though he did act in the story of a suicidal woman saved by religion, "No Longer Alone" (1978). Since his return to acting in the early 80s, Fox has been more prolific than ever, alternating offbeat, small-scale efforts ("Pavlova" 1983, "As You Like It" 1992), with mainstream Hollywood fare ("The Russia House" 1990, "Patriot Games" 1992) and prestigious historical epics. With his distinguished middle-aged bearing, Fox has usually incarnated a series of old guard authority figures: David Lean specifically asked for him for "A Passage to India" (1984), and Fox was also effective as a British statesman who misguidedly gives in to his own prejudices and weaknesses while placating the Nazis in the name of peace in "The Remains of the Day" (1993). He is the son of influential talent agent Robin Fox, and brother of actor Edward and theatrical producer Robert.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Effie Gray (2015)
The Double (2014)
A Long Way from Home (2013)
Bunny and the Bull (2011)
Narrator
The Kid (2010)
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Mister Lonely (2007)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance (2004)
Himself
The Prince & Me (2004)
The King Of Denmark
The Mystic Masseur (2001)
The Knights of the Quest (2001)
The Golden Bowl (2001)
Lover's Prayer (2000)
Up At the Villa (2000)
Sexy Beast (2000)
Harry
Mickey Blue Eyes (1999)
Circle of Passion (1998)
Arthur Trevane
Jinnah (1998)
Lord Richard Mountbatten
Anna Karenina (1997)
Never Ever (1997)
Doomsday Gun (1995)
Heart Of Darkness (1994)
Boiler Room (1993)
The Remains Of The Day (1993)
Hostage (1992)
Patriot Games (1992)
As You Like It (1992)
Jaques
Afraid Of The Dark (1991)
The Russia House (1990)
She's Been Away (1990)
Hugh Ambrose
The Mighty Quinn (1989)
Boys in the Island (1989)
Farewell to the King (1989)
High Season (1988)
Patrick
The Whistle Blower (1987)
Lord
New World (1986)
William Bradford
Comrades (1986)
Norfolk
Absolute Beginners (1986)
Henley Od
The Old Curiosity Shop (1985)
A Passage to India (1984)
Richard Fielding
Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes (1984)
Lord Esker
Runners (1983)
Tom Lindsay
Pavlova (1983)
Country (1981)
Philip Carlion
No Longer Alone (1978)
The Arp Statue (1971)
Performance (1970)
Chas Devlin
Arabella (1970)
Giorgio
Isadora (1968)
Gordon Craig
Duffy (1968)
Stefane
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
Jimmy Smith
The Chase (1966)
Jason "Jake" Rogers
King Rat (1965)
Flight Lieutenant Marlowe
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines; or How I Flew From London to Paris in 25 Hours and 11 Minutes (1965)
Richard Mays
The Servant (1964)
Tony
Tamahine (1964)
Oliver
The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952)
The Lavender Hill Mob (1952)
The Miniver Story (1950)
Toby Miniver
The Magnet (1950)

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance (2004)
Other

Cast (Special)

The Choir (1995)
A Perfect Hero (1992)
A Question of Attribution (1992)
The 18th Annual American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Salute to Sir David Lean (1990)
Performer

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Death on the Nile (2004)
Colonel Race
Cambridge Spies (2003)
Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairy Tale (2002)
Jonas Collin
The Lost World (2001)
Professor Leo Summerlee
Gulliver's Travels (1996)
The Old Curiosity Shop (1995)
Fall from Grace (1994)
Shadow on the Sun (1988)
Mansfield Markham

Life Events

1950

Made film acting debut, billed as 'William Fox' in "The Miniver Story"

1951

Played most prominent feature role as a child in "The Magnet"

1962

Returned to feature films after a ten-year absence to act in a small role in "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

1963

First adult leading role in film, "The Servant"

1965

First American film since "The Miniver Story", "King Rat"

1973

Left acting for a time to join an international Christian missionary sect, the Navigators

1978

One-shot return to acting, the religious drama, "No Longer Alone"

1981

Returned to acting regularly; appeared in the film, "Country"

1984

Played Waldorf on the PBS biographical miniseries, "Nancy Astor"

1992

Played Angus Meikle on the "Masterpiece Theatre" miniseries, "A Perfect Hero"

2000

Starred in Jonathan Glazer's "Sexy Beast"

2000

Co-starred in "Up at the Villa"

2004

Cast as the King of Denmark in "The Prince and Me"

2005

Played Mr. Salt in Tim Burton's adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic tale "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka

Photo Collections

Performance - Movie Posters
Here are a few different size Movie Posters for Performance (1970), co-directed by Nicholas Roeg and starring Mick Jagger.

Videos

Movie Clip

Mighty Quinn, The (1989) - Are You Being Police Polite? Gently investigating the murder of the owner of the luxury resort (working on location in Jamaica), police chief and title character Denzel Washington introduces himself to the savvy Hadley Elgin (Mimi Rogers), young wife of probably-corrupt political fixer Thomas (James Fox), in The Mighty Quinn, 1989.
Remains Of The Day, The (1993) - One Doesn't Do That Lord Darlington (James Fox), with friends, observes the accident with Mr. Stevens senior (Peter Vaughan), then consults with his son, the butler Mr. Stevens the younger (Anthony Hopkins), in The Remains Of The Day, 1993.
Performance (1970) - Memo From Turner Mick Jagger with his band wrote and recorded this number for his character "Turner," who dresses down the gangsters (Anthony Morton, John Bindon et al) in a scene occurring in the mind of Chas (James Fox) from Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell's Performance, 1970.
Performance (1970) - Cog In An Organ Top London gangster Harry (Johnny Shannon) is explaining things to victim Joey (Anthony Valentine) and scolding thug Chas (James Fox) for over-enthusiasm, early in Performance, 1970, directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg.
Performance (1970) - Goodbye The Ferrari Injured gangster Chas (James Fox) is scamming a bit, trying to gain entrance to the Notting Hill home of Turner (Mick Jagger, not seen here), on the intercom with his housemate Pherber (Anita Pallenberg) in Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell's Performance, 1970.
Performance (1970) - Opening, Bachelor James Fox and Anne Sidney in the unorthodox and R-rated opening of Performance, 1970, directed by writer Donald Cammell and cinematographer Nicholas Roeg, also starring Mick Jagger, vocal by Randy Newman.
Performance (1970) - We Push The Buttons Pherber (Anita Pallenberg) is bandaging Chas (James Fox) while Turner (Mick Jagger) performs an improvised talking-blues not available on the soundtrack to Performance, 1970.
Performance (1970) - Poor White Hound Dog Soundtrack cut from gospel singer and Rolling Stones supporting vocalist Merry Clayton, as Chas (James Fox), half through his make-over, pops in on Turner (Mick Jagger) and Performance, 1970, looks very much like a film co-directed by its cinematographer, Nicolas Roeg.
King Rat (1965) - One Day I'll Be Dead Jones (Gerald Sim) is losing it until jaded senior Brit officer Larkin (Denholm Elliott) arrives to preside, after the Japanese commandant (Dale Ishimoto) learns of an illicit radio in his WWII prison camp in Singapore, John Standing the guilty party, in Bryan Forbes' King Rat, 1965.
Jinnah (1998) - Divide The Country In Two? Framed as his own recollections before his death, Christopher Lee as Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the recognized founder of Pakistan, in early negotiations ca. 1947, with Lord Mountbatten (James Fox), representing the United Kingdom, in the bio-pic Jinnah, 1998.
King Rat (1965) - The British Are Impressed American Corporal King (George Segal, title character), the leading hustler at the Japanese P.O.W. camp in Singapore, has summoned talented Brit Marlowe (James Fox), whom he had not previously met, sidekick Max (Patrick O'Neal) attending, in Bryan Forbes' King Rat, 1965.
Absolute Beginners (1986) - I Love This Look! The fashion-timing is wrong, as it's supposed to be 1958, but still the breakout moment for Suzette (Patsy Kensit), wardrobe assistant turned instant sensation, at the London runway show by "Henley Od" (James Fox), Anita Morris the reporter on the spot, in Absolute Beginners, 1986.

Trailer

Family

Frederick Lonsdale
Grandfather
Playwright. Maternal grandfather.
Robin Fox
Father
Agent. Died of lung cancer in 1971.
Angela Muriel Fox
Mother
Author. Born on June 17, 1912; daughter of Lucy Glitters Worthington and Frederick Lonsdale; mother was married to Dr. Henry Worthington but had three daughters by Lonsdale; Noel Coward wrote his famous song "Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage, Mrs. Worthington" about her; died on December 1, 1999; had stormy marriage to husband punctuated with separations and infidelities on both sides.
Edward Fox
Brother
Actor. Born in 1937.
Robert Fox
Brother
Theatrical impresario. Younger; produced the musical "Chess" on both the Broadway and London stages; formerly married to Natasha Richardson.

Companions

Mary Elizabeth Piper
Wife
Met in 1972; married in 1973.

Bibliography

"Comeback: An Actor's Direction"
James Fox (1983)