James Fox

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For other people named James Fox, see James Fox (disambiguation).
James Fox
James Fox in the trailer for "The Chase" (1966)
Born William Fox
(1939-05-19) 19 May 1939 (age 76)
London, England
Residence London, England
Nationality British
Other names Jim Fox
Alma mater Harrow School
Years active 1950–1970, 1983–present
Spouse(s) Mary Elizabeth Piper (1973–present)
Parent(s) Robin Fox
Angela Worthington

James Fox (born William Fox, 19 May 1939) is an English actor.

Early life[edit]

Fox was born in London, England, to theatrical agent Robin Fox and actress Angela Worthington. He is the brother of actor Edward Fox and film producer Robert Fox. Actress Emilia Fox is his niece and the actors Jack Fox and Laurence Fox are his sons. His grandfather was playwright Frederick Lonsdale. Like his brother, Fox served with the Coldstream Guards. Like several members of the Fox family, including his brothers and one of his sons, he was educated at Harrow School.

Acting career[edit]

James Fox first appeared on film in The Miniver Story in 1950. His other early film appearances were made under the name William Fox.

During the 1960s he gained popularity and appeared to be heading for stardom. In 1964, he won a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer for his role in The Servant (1963).[1] His roles in films such as Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), King Rat (1965), The Chase (1966), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), Isadora (1968), and Performance (1970, alongside Mick Jagger), as well as his relationship with actress Sarah Miles, made him a media personality.

Spiritual life and break from acting[edit]

After finishing work on Performance (1970), and following his father's death, Fox suspended his acting career. The strain of filming, his father's death and smoking the hallucinogen DMT led to a nervous breakdown.[2] On his break from acting, Fox has commented that "[p]eople think Performance blew my mind... my mind was blown long before that."[2]

He has also said that: "Performance gave me doubts about my way of life. Before that I had been completely involved in the more bawdy side of the film business. But after that everything changed."[2]

In a 2008 interview, he said: "It was just part of my journey...I think my journey was to spend a while away from acting. And I never lost contact with it - watching movies, reading about it ... so I didn't feel I missed it."[3]

He became an evangelical Christian, working with the Navigators and devoting himself to the ministry.[4] During this time, the only film in which Fox appeared was No Longer Alone (1978), the story of Joan Winmill Brown,[5] a suicidal woman, who was led to faith in Jesus Christ by Ruth Bell Graham.[5]

Return to acting[edit]

After an absence of almost ten years from mainstream cinema, Fox returned to the screen, appearing in Stephen Poliakoff's Runners (1983), A Passage to India (1984), and playing Anthony Blunt in the acclaimed BBC play by Alan Bennett, A Question of Attribution (1992). He also portrayed the character of Colonel Ferguson in Farewell to the King and the pro-German aristocrat Lord Darlington in The Remains of the Day (1993).

More recently, he has appeared in the 2001 adaption of The Lost World as Prof. Leo Summerlee, Agatha Christie's Poirot - Death on the Nile (2004) as Colonel Race and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) playing Mr. Salt, Veruca Salt's father. He appeared in the Doctor Who audio drama Shada, and in 2007, he guest-starred in the British television crime series Waking the Dead. He also appeared opposite his son Laurence Fox in "Allegory of Love", an episode in the third series of Lewis. He was part of the cast of Sherlock Holmes, as Sir Thomas, leading member of a freemason-like secret society.

In 2010, he filmed Cleanskin, a terrorist thriller directed by Hadi Hajaig,[6] and in 2011 he played King George V in Madonna's film W.E.[1]

Personal life[edit]

In the 1960s, Fox had a relationship with the actress Sarah Miles.

He married Mary Elizabeth Piper in 1973, with whom he has five children: actors Laurence, Lydia and Jack Fox, and sons Robin and Thomas. In 2007 Laurence and Lydia married actors Billie Piper and Richard Ayoade, respectively. Fox is grandfather to Laurence's two sons with Billie Piper and Lydia's two daughters by Richard Ayoade. His niece, Emilia Fox, is also an actress. Both Emilia and James Fox have portrayed roles in BBC's hit TV series Merlin and Fox has guest starred in his son Laurence's television series, Lewis.

In her 2014 book A Story Lately Told, Anjelica Huston references a sexual relationship with Fox when she was a teenager.

Film and television appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b "W./E. | Cast". We-movie.com. 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  2. ^ a b c IMDB.com, James Fox: Biography.
  3. ^ Jeeves (2010-11-22). ""Tweedland" The Gentlemen's club: JAMES FOX". Tweedlandthegentlemansclub.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  4. ^ "Biography at British Cinema Greats". Retrieved 2006-07-31. 
  5. ^ a b "'The Epitome of a Christian Woman'". Christianity Today. 2007-06-20. Retrieved 2014-05-08. 
  6. ^ Bean, Rampling Join Terrorist Thriller "Cleanskin" Dark Horizons. 2 March 2010
  7. ^ Catherine Cookson's The Dwelling Place at radiotimes.com

External links[edit]