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  • A Dispatch from Reuters

  • The Cowboy from Brooklyn

  • Confessions of a Nazi Spy

  • Beau Geste

  • The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

  • The Sea Hawk

  • The Letter

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James Stephenson Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Apr 14, 1888
  • Died: Jul 29, 1941

A stage actor of many years' standing, James Stephenson made his British film debut in 1937. That following year, [[Performer~P214502~Stephenson~edstephenson]] was hired as a contract player by Warner Bros., where he spent most of his time playing suave villains or disgraced gentlemen. He was afforded better roles in films like 1938's [[Feature~V6855~Boy Meets Girl~boymeetsgirl]] (as the movie bit player who "legitimizes" [[Performer~P76778~Marie Wilson~mariewilson]]'s baby), 1939's You Can't Get Away With Murder and [[Feature~V39316~Elizabeth the Queen~theprivatelivesofelizabethandessex]], and 1940's [[Feature~V43317~The Sea Hawk~theseahawk]]. His big break came when, ignoring studio resistance, director [[Performer~P117452~William Wyler~williamwyler]] and star [[Performer~P17295~Bette Davis~bettedavis]] insisted upon casting [[Performer~P214502~Stephenson~edstephenson]] as self-sacrificing family lawyer Howard Joyce in the 1940 adaptation of The Letter. This performance earned the actor an Academy Award nomination and, more importantly, the old "star build-up" from the Warners publicity flacks (who proceeded to slice 15 years off [[Performer~P214502~Stephenson~edstephenson]]'s age in his "official" studio biography). James Stephenson went on to play the title role in [[Feature~V123333~Calling Philo Vance~callingphilovance]] (1940) and above-the-title parts in a handful of programmers until his fatal heart attack at the age of 53. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi