James Mason, date unknown.
James Mason on Wikipedia
James Mason on the Internet Movie Database
James Mason
Forecourt Ceremony held on Tuesday, March 30, 1954
Born: May 15, 1909, in Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Age at the time of the ceremony: 44
Died: July 27, 1984, in Lausanne, Vaud, Switzerland, age 75
James Mason was a very popular leading man of British and American films. With his distinctive voice and riveting presence, Mason scored in a number of classic films.

Born into comfortable circumstances in Yorkshire, young James attended Marlborough College, then graduated in architecture at Peterhouse, Cambridge. Despite this rather patrician experience, Mason veered toward the stage, appearing in local productions while still in college. He made his stage debut as the character Aldershot in the play The Rascal in 1931.

Joining the Old Vic theatre in London brought him into the orbit of Tyrone Guthrie, who taught the young actor a thing or two. Mason was plucked from the Vic to do a small role in the film The Private Life of Don Juan in 1934, but the director, Alexander Korda, replaced him with another actor after only three days on the picture.

The state of the British film industry was on an upswing, as the British government required British theatres to show 20% British-made films. The resulting low-budget films were called "quota quickies," and James Mason appeared in several of them before 1938. Mason managed to bring out his screen persona in films like Father and Son (released in May 1936), The Mill on the Floss (released in December 1936), The High Command (released in March 1937), and The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel (released in October 1937).

As Britian entered World War II, Mason broke with his family, registering as a conscientious objector. His tribunal offered him non-combatant service, which he refused. Considering his reputation in films, it was decided that Mason could fulfill his obligation by working in films.

Mason became quite well-known for a series of films done for the Gainsborough studio: Hatter's Castle (released in February 1942, with Deborah Kerr, The Man in Grey (released in August 1943) with Margaret Lockwood, and A Place of One's Own (released in May 1945). Mason scored an international success with The Seventh Veil (released in November 1945). He followed this up with a classic protrait of a crook under the gun in Odd Man Out (released in January 1947).

Mason was brought to Hollywood and made his first picture at M-G-M, Caught (released in February 1949) with Barbara Bel Geddes and Robert Ryan. Mason liked working in Hollywood, and Hollywood liked Mason; he played German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel in The Desert Fox (which played the Chinese in October 1951), and again in the film The Desert Rats (released in May 1953). While living in Hollywood, Mason bought the fomer home of Buster Keaton. There were several "lost" films stored in the house, so Mason paid to have the films restored, one of which is the short The Boat (released in November 1921).

Mason appeared in director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 5 Fingers (played the Chinese in April 1952), and worked for the director again as Brutus in M-G-M's Julius Caesar (released in June 1953).

Mason undertook a role in the very early Fox CinemaScope production Prince Valiant (which played the Chinese in April 1954), just a few days after co-stars Janet Leigh and Victor McLaglen helped him make his imprints on a rainy evening (probably the only rainy footprinting we know of).

Mason is widely remembered for playing Norman Maine to Judy Garland's Vicky Lester in the remake of A Star is Born (released in October 1954). Disney hired him to play Captain Nemo in his film of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (released in December 1954).

From 1954 to 1955, Mason was the host on the Lux Video Theatre, an anthology show as it moved to NBC from CBS. His smooth suavety was perfect for the villian in Alfred Hitcock's North By Northwest (released in July 1959) with Cary Grant, and he was also excellent in Journey to the Center of the Earth (released in December 1959). Mason was so busy that he suffered a heart attack that year, but recovered.

Mason moved to Switzerland in 1963. He worked on films in Europe for a time, appearing in Stanley Kubrick's film Lolita (released in June 1962), Lord Jim (released in February 1965) with Peter O'Toole, Georgy Girl (released in June 1966), Age of Consent (released in May 1969), The Last of Sheila (released in June1973), Mandingo (released in July 1975) and Voyage of the Damned (released in December 1976).

Mason starred in more Hollywood-based films at this point, including Heaven Can Wait (which played the Chinese in June 1978), and The Boys from Brazil (played the Chinese in October 1978). He starred in the television version of Salem's Lot, which aired in November 1979 on CBS, and got an Oscar nomination for The Verdict (released in December 1982), with Paul Newman. He followed this up with the all-star comedy dud Yellowbeard (released in June 1983).

Mason did the narration for two remarkable Kevin Brownlow documentaries, Hollywood, which aired from January to April on ITV, and Unknown Chaplin, aired in January 1983 on ITV, which allowed Mason to reflect on his long-time next-door neighbor, Chales Chaplin. Mason published his autobiography, Before I Forget in 1981.

Mason died of a heart attack in July 1984. He was 75-years-old. His last works were released after his death; the BBC television movie Dr. Fischer of Geneva, which aired in October 1984, and the film of The Shooting Party (released in February 1985); his final film was The Assisi Underground (released in May 1985).
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. James Mason Forecourt block. Executed by John Tartaglia, March 30, 1954. 32 x 61 inches overall.
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California. James Mason Forecourt ceremony, Tuesday, March 30, 1954. On a rainy evening, Janet Leigh, James Mason and Victor McLaglen commemorate their working together on Prince Valiant.
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