in the trailer for
The Letter (1940)
James Albert Stephenson|
14 April 1889
Selby, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
29 July 1941 (aged 52)|
Pacific Palisades, California, US
|Spouse(s)||Lorna Anderson Stephenson|
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 US 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.
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.
- The Perfect Crime (1937)
- The Man Who Made Diamonds (1937)
- You Live and Learn (1937)
- Take It from Me (1937)
- Wanted by Scotland Yard (1937)
- The Dark Stairway (1938)
- White Banners (1938)
- Mr. Satan (1938)
- It's in the Blood (1938)
- When Were You Born (1938)
- Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938)
- Boy Meets Girl (1938)
- Nancy Drew... Detective (1938)
- Heart of the North (1938)
- King of the Underworld (1939)
- Devil's Island (1939)
- Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939)
- Secret Service of the Air (1939)
- The Adventures of Jane Arden (1939)
- On Trial (1939)
- Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939)
- Sons of Liberty (1939) (short film)
- Beau Geste (1939)
- The Old Maid (1939)
- Espionage Agent (1939)
- The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
- We Are Not Alone (1939)
- Wolf of New York (1940)
- Calling Philo Vance (1940)
- Murder in the Air (1940)
- The Sea Hawk (1940)
- A Dispatch from Reuter's (1940)
- River's End (1940)
- South of Suez (1940)
- The Letter (1940)
- Flight from Destiny (1941)
- Shining Victory (1941)
- International Squadron (1941)
- Before 1st April 1974 Selby was in the West Riding of Yorkshire
- "James Stephenson".
- "James Stephenson – Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos – AllMovie". AllMovie.
- "Overview for James Stephenson". tcm.com. 2005. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- Bergman, Paul; Asimow, Michael (1 April 2006). "Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies". Andrews McMeel Publishing – via Google Books.
- "Calling Philo Vance (1940)".
- "Shining Victory (1941) – Irving Rapper – Cast and Crew – AllMovie". AllMovie.
- Ellenberger, Allan R. (1 May 2001). "Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory". McFarland – via Google Books.
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