James Stephenson

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For other people named James Stephenson, see James Stephenson (disambiguation).
James Stephenson
James Stephenson in The Letter trailer.jpg
in the trailer for
The Letter (1940)
Born James Albert Stephenson
(1889-04-14)14 April 1889
Selby, North Yorkshire, England, UK
Died 29 July 1941(1941-07-29) (aged 52)
Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1937–1941
Spouse(s) Lorna Anderson Stephenson

James Albert Stephenson (14 April 1889 – 29 July 1941) was a British actor. The son of chemist and druggist John G. Stephenson and his wife Emma, Stephenson grew up in the West Riding of Yorkshire and Burnley, Lancashire, with his brothers, Alan and Norman. He became a bank clerk and later had a career as a merchant. In the 1930s, he emigrated to the United States and took U.S. nationality in 1938.


British stage actor Stephenson made his film debut in 1937 at the age of 48 initially with parts in four films. Warner Bros. signed him the following year, and he began playing urbane villains and disgraced gentlemen. His big break came when director William Wyler cast him, in spite of studio resistance, in The Letter (1940), opposite Bette Davis.[1]

He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for that role. Later that year, he played the title role in Calling Philo Vance. In 1941 he was first-billed in Shining Victory, in which he played the character of Dr. Paul Venner. Just as Stephenson's acting career was starting to rise, he died of a heart attack at the age of 52.

He is interred at Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park.[2]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "Overview for James Stephenson". www.tcm.com. Turner Classic Movies. 2005. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  2. ^ "James Stephenson (1889 - 1941) - Find A Grave Memorial". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 2016-08-01. 

External links[edit]