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James Mason

James Mason

Known For: Acting · Birthday: 1909-05-15

127 Movies · 11 TV Series

Biography

James Neville Mason (; 15 May 1909 – 27 July 1984) was an English actor. Mason is widely considered to be one of the greatest film actors of the 20th century; he achieved considerable success in British cinema before becoming one of Hollywood's biggest stars. He was the top box office attraction in the UK in 1944 and 1945, with notable films including The Seventh Veil (1945) and The Wicked Lady (1945). He starred in Odd Man Out (1947), the first recipient of the BAFTA Award for Best British Film. He starred in a number of successful British and American films from the 1950s to the early 1980s, including The Desert Fox, A Star Is Born, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Lolita, North by Northwest, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Bigger Than Life, Julius Caesar, Georgy Girl, Heaven Can Wait, The Boys from Brazil and The Verdict. Mason was nominated for three Academy Awards, three Golden Globes (winning the Golden Globe in 1955 for A Star is Born) and two BAFTA Awards throughout his career. Following his death in 1984, his ashes were interred near the tomb of his close friend, fellow English actor Sir Charlie Chaplin.

Personal Life

Mason was a devoted lover of animals, particularly cats. He and his wife, Pamela Mason, co-authored the book The Cats in Our Lives, which was published in 1949. James Mason wrote most of the book and also illustrated it. In The Cats in Our Lives, he recounted humorous and sometimes touching tales of the cats (as well as a few dogs) he had known and loved. In 1952, Mason purchased a house previously owned by Buster Keaton. He discovered several nitrate film reels of films thought to have been lost, stored in the house and produced by the comedian, such as The Boat. Mason arranged to have the decomposing films transferred to safety stock and thus saved them from oblivion.In his youth, Mason was a keen fan of his local Rugby League team, Huddersfield. In later years he also began to follow the fortunes of Huddersfield Town.Mason was married twice: From 1941 to 1964 to British actress Pamela Mason (née Ostrer) (1916–1996); one daughter, Portland Mason Schuyler (1948–2004), and one son, Morgan (who is married to Belinda Carlisle, the lead singer of the Go-Go's). Pamela Mason was widely reported to be a devotee of the Hollywood social scene and was frequently unfaithful to her husband. Nevertheless, she initiated divorce proceedings against him in 1962, claiming adultery on his part. This led to a $1m divorce settlement, and made a star of her attorney Marvin Mitchelson. Australian actress Clarissa Kaye (1971–his death). Tobe Hooper's DVD commentary for Salem's Lot reveals that Mason regularly worked contractual clauses into his later work guaranteeing Kaye bit parts in his film appearances.Mason's autobiography, Before I Forget, was published in 1981.

Early Life

Mason was born on 15 May 1909, in Huddersfield, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, the youngest of three boys to Mabel Hattersley (Gaunt) and John Mason where they lived in a house in its own grounds on Croft House Lane in Marsh which was replaced in the mid 1970s by flats called Arncliffe Court. A small residential development opposite where the house once stood is called James Mason Court. His father was a wealthy textile merchant. He was educated at Marlborough College, and earned a first in Architecture at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he became involved in stock theatre companies in his spare time. Mason had no formal training in acting and initially embarked upon it for fun.

Movies & TV Series

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