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:

Police Sgt. Ben Peterson: [appraising the ruination of a trailer] This wasn't caved in, it was caved out.

Sgt. Elliott: Well, injuns fight two ways, Captain. When they're running against a little outfit, they go ring around right away and close in quick for the kill. But if they're running against a big outfit, like we're tied up with now, they'll keep hacking and chopping away at your weak spots until they wear you down. Then make a ring around. And once they get you in a circle, you're finished.

Joe Smith, American: You remember what the voice said last night? That we should all do our homework for tomorrow? Well, let's take a look at the things that God told us to look at. Let's just see how great his miracles really are. There's the moon. The stars. It's the air we breathe. The earth we walk on. It's the trees. It's the hills. And it's things like loving each other. The way I love you and the way Mom loves us. It's all those wonderful things, Johnny. The way I love you and you love me, we got nothing to worry about. Nothing to be afraid of. And most of all, we must never be afraid of God. Because God is the whole world. We're living, Johnny. You and Mom and me. Mr. Brannan. All of us. We're living. So let's make it count.

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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 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 and Pulitzer-Prize winning historian David McCullough. Deceased members include President William Howard Taft, political commentator William F. Buckley 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.

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.

Well known for his role as Capt. Benteen in "Twilight Zone: On Thursday We Leave for Home (#4.16)" (1963), considered by many fans to be the best hour-long entry in the show's history.

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