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James Whitmore Overview:

Character actor, James Whitmore, was born on Oct 1, 1921 in White Plains, NY. Whitmore died at the age of 87 on Feb 6, 2009 in Malibu, CA .


Solidly-built with a homely, philosophical face, James Whitmore was utterly reliable in his performances -- sort of a supporting player's Spencer Tracy. A solid bulwark to M-G-M films of the early 1950s, Whitmore was usually to be found in sincere dramatic roles, but could also be delightfully comic, as demonstrated by his singing/clowning partnership with Keenan Wynn in Kiss Me Kate.  When films failed to make the most of him, he toured America with one-man shows. He was twice nominated for  an Oscar, Battleground and Give 'Em Hell Harry.

(Source: available at Amazon Quinlan's Illustrated Dictionary of Film Character Actors).



Although Whitmore was nominated for one Oscar, he never won a competitive Academy Award.

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1949Best Supporting ActorBattleground (1949)KinnieNominated

He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Television.

BlogHub Articles:

Warner Archive: in Face of Fire (1959)

By KC on Jun 4, 2015 From Classic Movies

The devastating, but beautifully filmed Face of Fire stars as a handyman whose face is burned beyond recognition when he rescues a young boy from a house fire. I had this DVD release from Warner Archive for quite a while before I had the nerve to watch it; it looked unbearably bleak t... Read full article

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James Whitmore Quotes:

Joe Smith, American: [to Johnny] Johnny, how many times have I told you? Don't do like I do; do like I say.

Dr. Patricia 'Pat' Medford: [observing the tunnel walls] Look! Held together with saliva!
Police Sgt. Ben Peterson: Yeah! Spit's all that's holding me together right now, too.

[a band of heretofore friendly Indians have just taken the trappers' rifles and furs]
Jed Cooper: We never fished nor killed any more than we could eat. And we're not Blue Coats. Why are they taking it out on us?
Gus: Civilization.
Jed Cooper: Civilization?
Gus: Civilization is creepin' up on us, lads. The Blue Coats aren't satisfied with gobblin' up all the lands east of the 'Sippi. No, they won't stop till they've pushed us over the Rockies and into the Pacific Ocean. It's a drownin' fate that awaits us all. These are calamitous times, Jed, calamitous times.

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Daring Darleen Candlewick
Mon. 13 Jul. 02:15 AM EST

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1949

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James Whitmore on the
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James Whitmore Facts
Is married to Noreen Nash, mother of Lee Siegel and grandmother of actor Sebastian Siegel.

Performed his one-man stage show on and off for thirty years (1970-2000). He had nearly eight hours of various comments about the topics of the day memorized, changing the show each time he performed it. His costume is now housed at the Smithsonian Institute.

Sometimes people confuse Whitmore and Spencer Tracy. The two sometimes look as if they could have been brothers.

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