Friday, February 06, 2009

Actor James Whitmore Dies at 87

I'm sad to report that one more link with the Golden Age of film has left us: James Whitmore has passed away at the age of 87.

Whitmore was Oscar-nominated for his second film, BATTLEGROUND (1949), which was the subject of a post here just a few days ago. Whitmore was also the winner of Tony and Emmy Awards.

Our family has always been particularly fond of Whitmore's performance as one of the two comical "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" gangsters in KISS ME KATE (1953), along with Keenan Wynn.

Whitmore's film credits also include John Huston's film noir classic THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950), William Wellman's Clark Gable-Ricardo Montalban Western ACROSS THE WIDE MISSOURI (1951), the original version of the baseball fantasy ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD (1951), and the musical OKLAHOMA! (1955).

He appeared in an episode of the TV series CSI as recently as 2007.

In 1978-79 I saw Mr. Whitmore starring as Sheridan Whiteside in a Long Beach, California stage production of THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, with Jessica Walter as his long-suffering assistant.

Among my collection of treasured film memorabilia is Mr. Whitmore's autograph, which my dad obtained for me while on a visit to New York City in the '70s.

Survivors include his son, actor-director James Whitmore Jr., whose acting credits include BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP and directing credits include NCIS.


Blogger Classic Maiden said...

Sad to read this news... 'The Asphalt Jungle' has been a favorite of mine, of the ones he did for such a long time. Brilliant supporting actor.

4:25 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

A fine actor, also a familiar face during the so-called golden age of TV.

4:39 AM  
Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

I loved Mr. Whitmore in Kiss Me Kate as well and in Asphalt Jungle. Younger viewers may recognize him as a spokesman for Miracle-Gro in their commericals.

9:02 AM  

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