Follow TV Tropes


Creator / James Mason

Go To

"How do I wish to be remembered, if at all? I think perhaps just as a fairly desirable sort of character actor."

James Neville Mason (15 May 1909 – 27 July 1984) was an English actor notable for a long and distinct career as leading man and character actor whose distinct looks, smooth voice and intense presence made him flexible to play roles ranging from hero to villain, as well as characters who were somewhere in between. He specialized in playing the Byronic Hero who is handsome, demanding, passionate and self-destructive.

Mason was one of the rare British film stars of his generation without a long career in the stage or any formal training as an actor. Indeed, he found greater fame, renown and success acting on the screen than he ever did on stage. He initially began his career making quota quickies in the 1930s, steadily building a reputation as a dependable, and highly intelligent, actor who directors and technicians liked. Then in the '40s he appeared in more notable films until achieving his Breakthrough Hit with The Seventh Veil. The success of that film brought him to Hollywood, and Mason would continue to make films in both England and America along with many other European productions. He was especially famous for his role as Captain Nemo in the classic Disney adaptation of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, as well as the self-destructive Norman Maine in George Cukor's 1954 version of A Star Is Born (opposite Judy Garland). Among his other notable films are Carol Reed's Odd Man Out, Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (as the villain Phillip Vandamm), and Stanley Kubrick's Lolita (as Humbert Humbertnote ).

In his long career, he appeared in several notable films, remaining prolific until his death in 1984 with his final appearances released posthumously. He was nominated three times for an Academy Award but never won; nevertheless, he is considered one of the greatest actors of his generation. He was especially known for his cultured voice and frequently worked as a voiceover artist for documentaries, including documentaries on film history (Mason was a cinephile) and in particular the works of Buster Keaton. In fact, Mason helped preserve much of the Keaton filmography, when he found a cache of Keaton reels in a house he'd bought that once belonged to Keaton.

James Mason works with pages on TV Tropes include:

    open/close all folders 

    Film roles 

    Television roles