in the trailer for
The Letter (1940)
James Albert Stephenson
14 April 1889
|Died||29 July 1941 (aged 52)|
Pacific Palisades, California, US
|Spouse(s)||Lorna Anderson Stephenson|
The son of chemist and druggist John G. Stephenson and his wife Emma, Stephenson grew up in the West Riding of Yorkshire and Burnley, Lancashire, with his brothers, Alan and Norman. He became a bank clerk and later had a career as a merchant. In the 1930s, he emigrated to the United States and took US nationality in 1938.
British stage actor Stephenson made his film debut in 1937 at the age of 48 initially with parts in four films. Warner Bros. signed him the following year, and he began playing urbane villains and disgraced gentlemen. His big break came when director William Wyler cast him, in spite of studio resistance, in The Letter (1940), opposite Bette Davis.
He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for that role. Later that year, he played the title role in Calling Philo Vance. In 1941 he was first-billed in Shining Victory, in which he played the character of Dr. Paul Venner. Just as Stephenson's acting career was starting to rise, he died of a heart attack at the age of 52.
- The Perfect Crime (1937) - Parker
- The Man Who Made Diamonds (1937) - Ben
- You Live and Learn (1937) - Sam Brooks
- Take It from Me (1937) - Lewis
- The Dark Stairway (1938) - Inspector Clarke
- White Banners (1938) - Thomas Bradford
- Mr. Satan (1938) - Tim Garnett
- It's in the Blood (1938) - Milky Joe
- When Were You Born (1938) - Phillip 'Phil' Corey (Libra)
- Cowboy from Brooklyn (1938) - Prof. Landis
- Boy Meets Girl (1938) - Major Thompson
- Nancy Drew... Detective (1938) - Challon
- Heart of the North (1938) - Inspector Stephen Gore
- Devil's Island (1939) - Col. Armand Lucien
- King of the Underworld (1939) - Bill Stevens
- Torchy Blane in Chinatown (1939) - Mr. Mansfield
- Secret Service of the Air (1939) - Jim Cameron
- The Adventures of Jane Arden (1939) - Dr. George Vanders
- On Trial (1939) - Gerald Trask
- Wanted by Scotland Yard (1939) - Fingers
- Confessions of a Nazi Spy (1939) - British Military Intelligence Agent
- Sons of Liberty (1939, Short) - Colonel Tillman
- Beau Geste (1939) - Major Henri de Beaujolais
- The Old Maid (1939) - Jim Ralston
- Espionage Agent (1939) - Dr. Anton Rader
- The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939) - Sir Thomas Egerton
- We Are Not Alone (1939) - Sir William Clintock
- Wolf of New York (1940) - Hiram Rogers
- Calling Philo Vance (1940) - Philo Vance
- Murder in the Air (1940) - Joe Garvey
- River's End (1940) - Insp. McDowell
- The Sea Hawk (1940) - Abbott
- A Dispatch from Reuter's (1940) - Carew
- The Letter (1940) - Howard Joyce
- South of Suez (1940) - Inspector Thornton
- Flight from Destiny (1941) - Dr. Lawrence Stevens
- Shining Victory (1941) - Dr. Paul Venner
- International Squadron (1941) - Squadron Leader Charles Wyatt
- The Smiling Ghost (1941) - John Eggleston in Photo (uncredited) (final film role)
- Before 1 April 1974 Selby was in the West Riding of Yorkshire
- "James Stephenson".
- "James Stephenson – Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos – AllMovie". AllMovie.
- "Overview for James Stephenson". tcm.com. 2005. Retrieved 1 August 2016.
- Bergman, Paul; Asimow, Michael (1 April 2006). "Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies". Andrews McMeel Publishing – via Google Books.
- "Calling Philo Vance (1940)".
- "Shining Victory (1941) – Irving Rapper – Cast and Crew – AllMovie". AllMovie.
- Ellenberger, Allan R. (1 May 2001). "Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory". McFarland – via Google Books.