Photo of James Whitmore James Whitmore

A veteran actor who turned to the craft when knee injuries ended his football career at Yale University, James Whitmore was born in White Plains, N.Y., on Oct. 1, 1921. Just two years after earning a Tony Award for his Broadway debut in "Command Decision" in 1947, he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his film role in Battleground.

In 1975, Whitmore's long-running one-man show about the life and career of Harry Truman, "Give 'Em Hell, Harry," was released on film. He garnered a second Academy Award nod for his performance, marking the first time in Oscar history that an actor was nominated for a solo turn in a film.

Whitmore is best known among younger audiences for his sympathetic portrayal of a prison librarian in The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Later in his career, he won an Emmy for a guest performance on "The Practice" (1999). He died on Feb. 9, 2009, at the age of 87.

James Whitmore in The Asphalt Jungle

The Asphalt Jungle

1950 NR

Nominated for four Academy Awards and long considered a noir classic, John Huston's heist film follows a band of criminal masterminds (Sam Jaffe, Sterling Hayden and Louis Calhern) as they carry out a million-dollar jewelry-store burglary that will have them set for life. Snatching the loot is easy, but their greed soon leads to double crosses and murder. The film features an early appearance by Marilyn Monroe as a sexy moll.

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  • James Whitmore in The Last Frontier The Last Frontier
  • James Whitmore in Them! Them!
  • James Whitmore in Battleground Battleground
  • James Whitmore in Madigan Madigan
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  • James Whitmore in Nuts Nuts
  • James Whitmore in Where the Red Fern Grows Where the Red Fern Grows
  • James Whitmore in The Relic The Relic
  • James Whitmore in The Adventures of Mark Twain The Adventures of Mark Twain
  • James Whitmore in Armored Car Robbery / Crime in the Streets Armored Car Robbery / Crime in the Streets
  • James Whitmore in The Golden Honeymoon The Golden Honeymoon
  • James Whitmore in The Serpent's Egg The Serpent's Egg