James Whitmore Biography

Born: October 1, 1921
Died: February 6, 2009 (Malibu, California, USA)
Best Known as: character actor

James Whitmore's long career on the stage and screen included two Academy Award nominations, along with an Emmy nomination and a Golden Globe win. He also won a Tony Award and became well-known on Broadway for one-man shows in which he played the historical figures Will Rogers, Harry Truman and Theodore Roosevelt. As a young man, Whitmore attended Yale University and served in the Marine Corps during World War II. When he got out of the military, he began his stage and film career in earnest, appearing in classic films such as The Asphalt Jungle; Kiss Me, Kate; Them!; and Tora! Tora! Tora! His last major film role was Brooks Hatlen in The Shawshank Redemption, a longtime convict who doesn't know what to do when he finally earns his release. Whitmore died of lung cancer at his home in Malibu, California on February 6, 2009.