James Mason

1909 - 1984

James Mason was a great English actor of British and American films. He was born in Yorkshire, and attended Marlborough and Cambridge, where he discovered acting on a lark, and abandoned a planned career as an architect. Following work in stock companies, he joined the Old Vic under the guidance of Sir Tyrone Guthrie and of Alexander Korda, who gave Mason at least one small film role in 1933, but fired him a few days into shooting. Mason remained in the theatre becoming a prominent stage actor, meanwhile getting first small, then rapidly larger roles in "quota quickies", minor films made to accommodate laws mandating a certain percentage of films shown in Britain to be British-made. Mason's talent for playing protagonists of a decidedly hard-bitten or melancholy stripe brought him from these minor films to a position as one of Britain's major film stars of the 1940s. When, late in that decade, he came to America, he played somewhat more glamorous or heroic roles than he had been accust

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