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:

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

Sgt. Elliott: Never say an injun is dumb. He just waits for the chance to use his one good cavalry tactic: ring around and close in.

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1949

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James Whitmore on the
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James Whitmore Facts
First job in the entertainment field was as a radio director for the Yale University station.

Youngest of four children, his father was an Executive Secretary for a local Park Commission in White Plains, NY.

Father, with Nancy Mygatt, of sons James Whitmore Jr., Steve Whitmore and Dan Whitmore.

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