Saturday, May 15, 2010


The darkly, handsome fellow above is one James Neville Mason born this day 1909 in Yorkshire, England. He was the son of a wealthy merchant, and was educated at Marlborough College, then Cambridge where he studied architecture. While there he was told by fellow student Alistair Cooke to keep up the study of architecture, and give up his attempts at becoming an actor. From 1935 to 1948 he starred in a number of British "quota quickies." He was a handsome fellow, and had a very distinct voice which allowed him to play a villain to great effect. He was nominated for three Academy Awards during his career, and was a fantastic actor. His role in 1962's "Lolita" as the aging professor Humbert Humbert who falls into a mad passion for a teen age girl is classic. It was on just yesterday, and the memory is fresh, but it was not the first time I had been amazed at his performance. His role as an explorer seeking the center of the Earth in 1959's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" is also memorable. His other role that put him onto the, already crowded, hero podium for today was a master spy in Alfred Hitchcock's "North by Northwest." He was even considered, despite his age, for the role of James Bond. It would have been an interesting casting, but the role went to Sean Connery. But for the roles he did receive, and for playing them so well, James Mason (May 15th, 1909-July 25th, 1985, at the age of 75 of a heart attack), you are my (264th) hero of the day.

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