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 James Whale

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James Whale

  • Birth 22 Jul 1893 Dudley, Metropolitan Borough of Dudley, West Midlands, England
  • Death 29 May 1957 Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
  • Plot Great Mausoleum, Columbarium of Memory, Niche #20076
  • Memorial ID 2977

Movie 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. His suicide note read, "The future is just old age and illness and pain...I must have peace and this is the only way."

Bio by: TheDevilYouKnow


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 28 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 .