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 James Whale

James Whale

Birth
Dudley, Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, West Midlands, England
Death 29 May 1957 (aged 63)
Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Great Mausoleum, Columbarium of Memory, Niche #20076
Memorial ID 2977 · View Source
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Motion Picture Director. Best known for his work in the horror film genre, Whale directed the horror classics, "Frankenstein", "Old Dark House", "Invisible Man", and "Bride of Frankenstein". James Whale was born in Dudley, England, the sixth of seven children, into a working class family. Thought to be too frail to follow his brothers into industrial work, James found work as a cobbler. Realizing his love and talent for artistry, he used his extra income to enroll in classes at the Dudley School of Arts and Crafts. In 1915, during World War I, Whale enlisted in the Army and was commissioned second Lieutenant. In August of 1917, Whale was taken a prisoner of war. While imprisoned, Whale continued to draw and sketch and also discovered a flare for staging theatrical productions. After World War I, James moved to Birmingham, England to embarked on a stage career. In 1928, he was offered a chance to direct the play "Journey's End" starring then newcomer, Laurence Olivier. The play was a huge success and Whale was soon offered the chance to direct the Broadway and film versions of "Journey's End" in the United States. He quickly began directing motion pictures of various genres but, found his niche in horror films, largely due to his unique and innovative use of camera angles. In his later years, the openly gay director began suffering from memory loss due to a stroke. Whale struggled with depression and found it difficult to put the memories of the war behind him. On May 29, 1957, at the age of 67, he committed suicide by drowning himself in his swimming pool. Although he did leave a suicide note detailing why he killed himself, circumstances of his death were not known until years later. Despite the prevailing mores and attitudes during the period, he lived as an openly gay man during his Hollywood career, a circumstance which seemingly did not effect ability to work.

Bio by: TheDevilYouKnow


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 29 May 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 2977
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Whale (22 Jul 1893–29 May 1957), Find A Grave Memorial no. 2977, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .