Actor. He made more than 100 films in his 40 year career in both England and the US. He played assorted villains, military men and some dubious romantic leads. His films ranged from the superb to the trashy. His three Oscar Nominations: 'The Verdict (Best Supporting Actor), Georgy Girl ( Best Supporting Actor) and A Star Is Born (Best Actor).' However: No Oscars but The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, 'A Star Is Born.' A Hollywood Fixture and a prolific movie maker in the 1950s, some of many: 'Desert Fox, Desert Rats, 5 Fingers, Julius Caesar, and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.' James Mason was the son of a prosperous wool merchant in the British mill town of Huddersfield. He excelled in school and earned a degree in architecture from Cambridge. His acting desires were kindled in his appearance in several school plays. He won his first professional role at London's West End theater and soon made his screen debut becoming a regular English fixture. An avowed pacifist, he refused to perform military service during the Second World War, a stance that caused alienation from his family as well as the nation. He was on the American scene for many years but began to edge away after taking a supporting role in the British drama 'The Trials of Oscar Wilde.' After suffering a devastating divorce and with his British citizenship still intact, he left Hollywood permanently relocating in Switzerland. He was more productive then ever rarely turning down jobs even as he approached 70. He made the TV film 'Jesus of Nazareth, The Boys From Brazil and Heaven Can Wait' but a few. He penned his autobiography and then appeared in 'The Verdict' two years before his death and even attended the Oscar ceremony for the first time. James Mason appeared in his final film as the dignified host in 'The Shooting Party' before suffering a massive heart attack at his residence. He was taken to Lausanne University Hospital passing away at 75 and was cremated. Prologue - James Mason met his second wife, Clarrisa Kaye, an Australian actress while working together in a film. They lived in Vevey, Switzerland overlooking Lake Geneva. Mason left a hand written will leaving his estate to Clarrisa. Barely a week after his death, his children from his first marriage with Pamela Mason, actress, writer and TV hostess, contested the will. James Mason's ashes were secretly placed in a bank vault. Clarissa was determined the children would get nothing not even his remains. The court battle continued years after Clarissa's own death. The case was finally resolved and his ashes awarded to his son and daughter. They were located by his children some fifteen years after his death and after a brief ceremony, were placed in Corsier-Sur-Veyey Cemetery located a short distance from his residence. This is the same cemetery where years before the mortal remains of Charlie Chaplin were dug up and held for ransom. His old ancestral home, Croft House, located in Huddersfield, England where James Mason was born and grew up was sold during his lifetime and demolished for development. He rescued two stone lions from outside the front gate and had them shipped to Switzerland and placed in his garden at Vevey.
Bio by: Donald Greyfield