James Fox

James Fox
James Fox

James Fox (Wikipedia)

James Fox is an English actor, from a well-known acting family. He appeared in several notable films of the 1960s and early 1970s, including The ServantThoroughly Modern Millie and Performance, before quitting the screen for several years to be an evangelical Christian. He has since appeared in a wide range of film and TV productions.

Fox was born in London, the son of theatrical agent Robin Fox and actress Angela Worthington. He is the brother of actor Edward Fox and the film producer Robert Fox. His maternal grandfather was playwright Frederick Lonsdale. Like several members of the Fox family, he attended Harrow School. After leaving Harrow Fox took a short service commission in the Coldstream Guards.

Fox first appeared on film in The Miniver Story in 1950. His other early film appearances were made under his birth name, William Fox.

In 1962, Fox was working in a bank when Tony Richardson offered him a minor role in the film The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Fox’s father attempted to forbid this, claiming that his son had no talent for acting and that it would disrupt his life for him to give up his job in the bank, nevertheless Fox took the part.

During the 1960s, Fox gained popularity. In 1964, he won a BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer for his role in The Servant(1963).[2] His films included Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965), King Rat (1965), The Chase (1966), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), Isadora (1968), and Performance (1970).

After finishing work on Performance (1970), Fox suspended his acting career. Released in 1970 and simply called Performance, the film, co-starring James Fox and Mick Jagger, was deemed so outrageous that critics at a preview screening walked out, with one film executive’s wife reportedly throwing up in the cinema.

In a 2008 interview, he said: “It was just part of my journey…I think my journey was to spend a while away from acting. And I never lost contact with it – watching movies, reading about it … so I didn’t feel I missed it.”[3]

He became an evangelical Christian, working with the Navigators and devoting himself to the ministry.  During this time, the only film in which Fox appeared was No Longer Alone (1978), the story of Joan Winmill Brown, a suicidal woman who was led to faith in Jesus Christ by Ruth Bell Graham.

After an absence from acting of several years, Fox appeared on TV in the Play for Today “Country” by Trevor Griffiths, a comedy drama set against the 1945 UK parliamentary elections. On film he starred in Stephen Poliakoff‘s Runners (1983), A Passage to India (1984), and Comrades (1986). He was notable as Anthony Blunt in the acclaimed BBC play by Alan BennettA Question of Attribution (1992). He also portrayed the character of Lord Holmes in Patriot Games (1992), as well as Colonel Ferguson in Farewell to the King and the Nazi-sympathising aristocrat Lord Darlington in The Remains of the Day (1993).

More recently he has appeared in the 2000 film Sexy Beast, the 2001 adaptation of The Lost World as Prof. Leo Summerlee, Agatha Christie’s Poirot – Death on the Nile (2004) as Colonel Race and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) playing Mr. SaltVeruca Salt‘s father. He appeared in the Doctor Who audio drama Shada, and in 2007, he guest-starred in the British television crime series Waking the Dead. He also appeared opposite his son Laurence Fox in “Allegory of Love”, an episode in the third series of Lewis. He was part of the cast of Sherlock Holmes, as Sir Thomas, leading member of a freemason-like secret society.

In 2010, he filmed Cleanskin, a terrorist thriller directed by Hadi Hajaig,and in 2011 he played King George V in Madonna‘s film W.E.

He married Mary Elizabeth Piper in September of 1973, with whom he has five children: actors LaurenceLydia, and sons Jack Fox, Robin and Thomas.

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