Brian James (actor)

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Brian James
Born5 July 1918
Victoria, Australia
Died2 November 2009(2009-11-02) (aged 91)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Other namesBrian D. James
Years active1948-2003

Brian James (5 July 1918 – 2 November 2009)[1] was an Australian radio, stage, television and film actor.

Early life, radio and theatre[edit]

Brian James was born in Melbourne, the son of the Bishop of St. Arnuad and started his career as a teacher at Ivanhoe Grammar School for four years, in 1933 he joining the Royal Australian Navy, after which he was demobolised five years later, and decided a career in theatre, he did much stage work, making his stage debut in 1948, and he featured in the 1952 J.C. Williamson production of Seagulls Over Sorrento.[2] He would also appear in the 1960 TV production of the play.

He also appeared in ABC radio plays.


James appeared in several ABC drama plays in the late 1950s, including Duke In Darkness and Killer in Close-Up: The Wallace Case in 1957, Gaslight, The Small Victory, The Public Prosecutor, and The Governess (all 1958), Crime Passionel, Treason, and The House By The Stable (1959). He had the lead role as Dr Geoffrey Thompson in the early medical drama Emergency[3] (1959). He also appeared in commercial dramas Shadow of a Pale Horse and Seagulls Over Sorrento in 1960, along with ABC dramas Heart Attack, Eye of the Night, and Mine Own Executioner, and was awarded the TV Week Logie award for "Best Actor" for the plum role of Governor William Bligh in the 1960 ABC drama serial Stormy Petrel[4] (a role which he reprised in a 1974 episode of the anthology series Behind The Legend).

Other ABC drama play appearances included The Ides Of March (1961), The Physicists, Luther, and The Wind From The Icy Country (all 1964).

In 1962, he took the lead role of Jonah Locke in the ATN-7 drama series Jonah.

In 1964, James appeared as a presenter on This Is It!, the opening night program for ATV-0 in Melbourne.

He also featured as Ian Bennett in Bellbird. He appeared as George Tippett in the soap opera Skyways (1979–81) – a character he continued in the ill-fated series Holiday Island in 1981.

He is probably best known to international audiences for his part in the cult soap opera Prisoner (aka Cell Block H) as friendly officer and later prison handyman Stan Dobson, having previously appeared in the series briefly as Dr. Kennedy. He also appeared as John Worthington in Neighbours in the late 1980s.


On film, he made an uncredited appearance as a naval officer in the 1959 Stanley Kramer film On the Beach. He also played screen father to Meryl Streep in A Cry in the Dark, the 1988 movie about the Lindy Chamberlain court case.

Personal life and death[edit]

Brian James had served with the Royal Australian Navy during World War II. He died at The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, of complications following a fall in 2009 aged 91.[1]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1959 On the Beach Bit Part Uncredited
1966 Adulterous Affair Stephen
1974 Between Wars Deborah's Father
1976 The Fourth Wish Jarvis
1983 Moving Out Mr. Aitkins
1987 Ground Zero Vice-Adm. Windsor
1988 Evil Angels Cliff Murchison
1997 Joey Ticket Master
2003 Bad Eggs Newsreader Voice


  1. ^ a b Mayhead, Gerald (12 November 2009). "Familiar face on stage, screen" (obituary). The Age. Retrieved 16 November 2009.
  2. ^,5342886&dq=seagulls+over+sorrento&hl=en
  3. ^
  4. ^

External links[edit]