Shades of Gray

Dead Person of the Day – February 6 – James Whitmore

0 Comments 06 February 2013


We all know today’s DPD – James Whitmore – as Brooks from Shawshank Redemption. It was a noble and compelling role and Whitmore played it as well as anybody could.

He had a long and successful career on the screen in stage spanning over 5 decades and a number of pant sizes.

He went to Yale on a football scholarship and helped found their campus radio station. “I was able to stay in school with a nightly sports show, Whitmore said,’ with interviews and sports news. I made 40 bucks a week, half of which he blew on beers and whores” he told the Tennessean in 2003. “Have you ever bought a whore in Connecticut? You’ll never get your moneys worth…don’t’ bother” he muttered as he left the interview.

After graduation he moved to L.A. and started his acting career.  Supporting roles and occasional leads in some 50 movies followed over the next 50-plus years, including “The Asphalt Jungle,” “Them!,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Battle Cry,” “Oklahoma!,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” “The Serpent’s Egg,” “Nuts,” and “The Majestic.”

Although he starred in productions of plays such as “Our Town,” “Inherit the Wind” and “Death of a Salesman,” Whitmore was best known for his three one-man shows: as Truman in “Give ’em Hell, Harry!,” as Roosevelt in “Bully” and as Rogers in “Will Rogers’ U.S.A.”

In an interview with Sweater For Life in 1999 Whitmore said “Out of all of my one man shows I liked playing Will Rogers the best. When do the hamburgers get here?”

Whitmore completed 30 years of on-and-off touring as Rogers at Ford’s Theatre in Washington in 2000, and his costume is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution.

Now sit down, open up and have a heaping forkful of obits!

James Whitmore dies at 87; veteran award-winning actor brought American icons to life

James Whitmore, the veteran Tony- and Emmy-winning actor who brought American icons Will Rogers, Harry Truman and Theodore Roosevelt to life in one-man shows, died Friday. He was 87. Proceed to obit fun!

- who has written 512 posts on The Shade.

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