James Fox

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For other people named James Fox, see James Fox (disambiguation).
James Fox
Born William Fox
(1939-05-19) 19 May 1939 (age 76)
London, England
Residence London, England
Other names Willie Fox
Jim Fox
Years active 1950–1970; 1983–present
Spouse(s) Mary Elizabeth Piper (m. 1973)
Children
Parent(s) Robin Fox
Angela Worthington
Relatives
Family Fox

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

Early life[edit]

Fox was born in London, to theatrical agent Robin Fox and actress Angela Worthington. Like several members of the Fox family, he was educated at Harrow School. He is the brother of the actor Edward Fox and the film producer Robert Fox. His mother's father was the playwright Frederick Lonsdale. Like his brother Edward, after leaving Harrow, Fox took a short service commission in the Coldstream Guards.

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

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

In 1962, Fox was working in a bank when Tony Richardson offered him a minor role in the film The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Fox's father attempted to forbid this, claiming that his son had no talent for acting and that it would disrupt his life for him to give up his job in the bank, but nevertheless Fox took the part.[1]

During the 1960s, Fox 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).[2] 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), 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), Fox suspended his acting career. The strain of filming, his father's death in January 1971, and smoking the hallucinogen DMT, had led to a nervous breakdown.[3] On his break from acting, Fox has commented that "People think Performance blew my mind... my mind was blown long before that."[3]

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."[3]

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."[4]

He became an evangelical Christian, working with the Navigators and devoting himself to the ministry.[5] During this time, the only film in which Fox appeared was No Longer Alone (1978), the story of Joan Winmill Brown,[6] a suicidal woman who was led to faith in Jesus Christ by Ruth Bell Graham.[6]

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 adaptation 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,[7] and in 2011 he played King George V in Madonna's film W.E.[2]

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 Piper and Lydia's two daughters by 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.

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1950 The Miniver Story Toby Miniver
1950 The Magnet Johnny Brent
1962 The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner Gunthorpe
1963 Tamahine Oliver
1963 The Servant Tony
1965 King Rat Flight Lieutenant Peter Marlowe
1965 Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines Richard Mays
1966 The Chase Jason 'Jake' Rogers
1967 Thoroughly Modern Millie Jimmy Smith
1967 Arabella Giorgio
1968 Duffy Stephane Calvert
1968 Isadora Gordon Craig
1970 Performance Chas Devlin
1983 Runners Tom Lindsay
1984 Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes Lord Charles Esker
1984 A Passage to India Richard Fielding
1986 Absolute Beginners Henley of Mayfair, Dressmaker to the Queen
1986 The Whistle Blower Lord
1986 Comrades Governor William Norfolk
1987 High Season Patrick
1989 Farewell to the King Colonel Ferguson
1989 The Mighty Quinn Thomas Elgin
1990 The Russia House Ned
1991 Afraid of the Dark Frank
1992 Patriot Games Lord William Holmes
1993 The Remains of the Day Lord Darlington
1997 Anna Karenina Alexi Alexandrovich Karenin
1997 Never Ever Arthur Trevane
1998 Shadow Run Landon-Higgins
1998 Jinnah Mountbatten
1999 Mickey Blue Eyes Philip Cromwell
2000 Up at the Villa Sir Edgar Swift
2000 Sexy Beast Harry
2000 The Golden Bowl Colonel Bob Assingham
2004 The Prince and Me King Haraald
2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Mr. Salt
2007 Mister Lonely The Pope
2009 Sherlock Holmes Sir Thomas Rotheram
2011 W.E. King George V
2012 Cleanskin Scott Catesby
2013 Effie Gray Sir Charles Eastlake
2013 The Double The Colonel
2013 A Long Way From Home Joseph

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1983 Anna Pavlova Victor Dandré
1992 A Question of Attribution Sir Anthony Blunt TV movie
1993 Heart of Darkness Gosse TV movie
1994 The Dwelling Place Lord Fischel TV mini-series, 3 episodes[8]
1995 The Choir The Dean, Hugh Cavendish TV mini-series, 5 episodes
1996 Gulliver's Travels Dr. Bates TV mini-series
2001 Armadillo Sir Simon Sherrifmuir
2001 The Lost World Prof. Leo Summerlee TV movie
2003 Cambridge Spies Lord Halifax 1 episode
2004 Agatha Christie's Poirot Colonel Race Death on the Nile
2005 Agatha Christie's Marple Colonel Arthur Bantry The Body in the Library
2005 Colditz Lt. Colonel Jimmy Fordham TV mini-series
2005 Absolute Power Gerald Thurnham Episode: Identity Crisis
2006 Suez: A Very British Crisis Anthony Eden TV documentary
2007 Waking the Dead Dr Bruno Rivelli Episode: Mask of Sanity
2008 New Tricks Ian Figgis Episode: Spare Parts
2009 Lewis Professor Norman Dearing Episode: Allegory of Love
2009 Margaret Charles Powell TV movie
2009 Red Riding 1980 Charles Powell TV movie
2010 Midsomer Murders Sir Michael Fielding Episode: Master Class
2011 Law & Order: UK Dr. Edward Austen Episode: The Wrong Man
2012 Merlin King Rodor Episode: Another's Sorrow
2013 Utopia Assistant 6 episodes
2013 The Great Train Robbery Henry Brooke TV movie
2013 Downton Abbey: The London Season Lord Aysgarth
2015 Death in Paradise Martin Goodman Episode 4.8
2015 1864 Lord Palmerston

References[edit]

  1. ^ James M. Welsh, John C. Tibbetts, The Cinema of Tony Richardson: Essays and Interviews (1999), p. 119
  2. ^ a b "W./E. | Cast". We-movie.com. 2011-03-18. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  3. ^ a b c IMDB.com, James Fox: Biography.
  4. ^ Jeeves (2010-11-22). ""Tweedland" The Gentlemen's club: JAMES FOX". Tweedlandthegentlemansclub.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-05-13. 
  5. ^ "Biography at British Cinema Greats". Retrieved 2006-07-31. 
  6. ^ a b "'The Epitome of a Christian Woman'". Christianity Today. 2007-06-20. Retrieved 2014-05-08. 
  7. ^ Bean, Rampling Join Terrorist Thriller "Cleanskin" Dark Horizons. 2 March 2010
  8. ^ Catherine Cookson's The Dwelling Place at radiotimes.com

External links[edit]