This guy was a film and TV legend. The most recent films you would know him from are the roles of Stan Keller from 'The Majestic' and Brooks Halten from one of the best films ever made 'The Shawshank Redemption'. He also stared in a ton of television shows such as 'The Twilight Zone'. I really don't know much about the man himself but he has done an incredible amount of work in the entertainment business. But here are some tidbits of information about his life that you may find interesting. James Whitmore died today 2/6/2009 of Lung Cancer at his home in Malibu.
- Sometimes people confuse Whitmore and Spencer Tracy. The two sometimes look as if they could have been brothers.
- Youngest of four children, his father was an Executive Secretary for a local Park Commission in White Plains, NY.
- Earned a football scholarship at Yale University but extensive knee injuries led him to give the sport up.
- First job in the entertainment field was as a radio director for the Yale University station.
- Met and married first wife Nancy Mygatt while studying at the American Theatre Wing. She was their press agent at the time.
- Won a Tony Award and a Theatre World Award in 1948 for his performance as Harold Evans in the stage production of "Command Decision". His role was played by Van Johnson in the film version.
- Well known for his role as Capt. Benteen in the "On Thursday We Leave for Home" episode of "The Twilight Zone" (1959), considered by many fans to be the best hour-long episode in the show's history.
- Won Broadway's 1948 Tony Award for Outstanding Performance by a Newcomer for "Command Decision."
- Is a member of Yale University's exclusive Skull & Bones club, an undergraduate secret society famous for the post-graduation accomplishments of its members. Other living members include President George W. Bush and his father, former President George Bush, Sen. John Kerry, political commentator William F. Buckley and Pulitzer-Prize winning historian David McCullough. Deceased members include President William Howard Taft and President Bush's own grandfather, Prescott Bush, a U.S. Senator and partner in the Wall St. white shoe brokerage firm of Brown Bros., Harriman.
- Is a United States Marine. Served in the United States Marine Corps during World War Two.
- Whitmore appeared at the Peterborough Players Theater in Peterborough, New Hampshire in the play "Tuesdays With Morrie" with his son, James Whitmore Jr. in June and July, 2006. Whitmore has been appearing in summer theatrical productions in Peterborough, which is known for its arts community, for half-a-century.
- In the early 1950s Whitmore conducted an acting workshop in Hollywood; one of his pupils was a struggling young actor, then unknown, James Dean. Whitmore helped Dean get some jobs in LA but encouraged Dean to go to New York to audition for the Actors Studio. Dean was one of the few accepted the year he auditioned.
- Is married to Noreen Nash, the grandmother of film actor Sebastian Siegel.
And here are a couple of quotes from the Whitmore:
"I have no regrets, real regrets about any darn thing...I think second-guessing one's self and your life is the most futile thing in the world."
"I certainly wasn't the idol of millions. I just happened to get good parts. And so I wasn't worried...because I could see these character parts stretching on into the, you know, dim days of the future."
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.