James Mitchell

James Mitchell

Birth
Sacramento, Sacramento County, California, USA
Death 22 Jan 2010 (aged 89)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 46994618 · View Source
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American Actor and Dancer. One of Agnes de Mille's leading dancers, he is probably best remembered for his role as 'Palmer Courtlandt' on the ABC daytime television soap opera "All My Children," that aired from 1979 until 2010. Born to English immigrant parents who operated a fruit farm in Northern California, at age 3 his mother returned to England with his brother and sister and his father fostered him out for several years to vaudeville actors Gene and Kathryn King. At age 17 he travelled to Los Angeles, California where he studied drama and dance at Los Angeles City College and received his Associate's Degree, after which he joined choreographer Lester Horton's dance company, and remained with them for about four years. In 1944 Horton took him to New York City, New York to form a new dance company, but the venture abruptly collapsed. He then auditioned for Agnes de Mille, who was choreographing her first musical since "Oklahoma!." Even though he was not proficient in ballet, she offered him the dual position of principal dancer and assistant choreographer. His work with de Mille on Broadway included "Bloomer Girl" (1944), "Brigadoon" (1947, for which he won a Theatre World Award and the Donaldson Best Male Dancer of the Year Award), "Paint Your Wagon" (1951, nominated for the Donaldson's Best Male Dancer of the Year Award), and "Come Summer" (1969). During this time, he also had Broadway, television, and film production associations with Gower Champion, Eugene Loring, and Jerome Robbins. His other significant Broadway credits include appearances in "Carousel," "First Impressions," and "The Deputy," off-Broadway appearances in "Winkelberg," "Livin' the Life," and "The Father, the "L'Histoire du Soldat" at New York City Opera, and national tours of "The Rainmaker," "The King and I," "Funny Girl," and "The Threepenny Opera." His film career was only moderately successful, with primarily supporting roles in such Western movies as "Colorado Territory" (1949), "Border Incident" (1949), "Stars in My Crown" (1950), "The Band Wagon" (1953), "The Prodigal" (1955), and "The Peacemaker" (1956, the only time he played a lead role). He would not play a role on the silver screen again until "The Turning Point" (1977), which marked his final film appearance. On television, he was considerably more active, especially in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In addition to working regularly as a dancer, he played dramatic roles in a number of television films and prime-time series, as well as in the anthologies that were once so popular, such as "Play of the Week," "Gruen Guild Playhouse," and "Armstrong Circle Theatre." In 1964 he took his first contract role on a television daytime soap opera in "The Edge of Night," as the corrupt 'Capt. Lloyd Griffin' followed by the entire run of "Where the Heart Is" (1969 to 1973), in which he played the male lead, 'Julian Hathaway'. During the late '70s he guest stared on television's "Lou Grant" and "Charlie's Angels." He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Empire State College in Saratoga Springs, New York and a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont in order to teach full-time at the college level, and taught movement for actors at the Juilliard School in New York City, New York, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, and Drake University, De Moines, Iowa. In 1979, after a few years of almost no work, he was hired for his best-known role, self-made millionaire 'Palmer Cortlandt' on "All My Children," for which he received seven Daytime Emmy Award nominations from 1980 until 1989. Initially hired for only one year, he remained on contract through 2009. His final appearance as a contract player was September 19, 2008, although his retirement was not made official until September 30, 2009. On January 4, 2010, he appeared briefly on the "All My Children" 40th anniversary celebration and died a few weeks later in Los Angeles, California, from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) complicated by pneumonia, at the age of 89. In 1985 he received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts Degree from Drake University.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Shirley
  • Added: 22 Jan 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 46994618
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James Mitchell (29 Feb 1920–22 Jan 2010), Find a Grave Memorial no. 46994618, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Unknown.