James Whale

British-born American film director

James Whale (22 July 1889 – 29 May 1957) was an English movie director, theatre director, and actor. He is best remembered for his horror movies. These include Frankenstein (1931), The Old Dark House (1932), The Invisible Man (1933) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935). He also directed the movie musical Show Boat (1936).

James Whale
Born(1889-07-22)22 July 1889
Died29 May 1957(1957-05-29) (aged 67)
Years active1919–52
Notable workFrankenstein (1931)
The Invisible Man (1933)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Show Boat (1936)
Partner(s)David Lewis
Pierre Foegel

Whale was born into a large family. Early on, he discovered his artistic talent and studied art. With the outbreak of World War I, Whale joined the British Army. He became an officer. He was captured by the Germans. During his time as a prisoner of war, he became interested in theatre. After the war, he became an actor, set designer, and director. He moved to the United States to direct a Broadway play, and then moved to Hollywood to direct movies.

Whale lived in Hollywood for the rest of his life with his longtime companion, producer David Lewis. Whale directed a dozen movies for Universal Studios between 1930 and 1936, developing a style influenced by German Expressionism.

After string of movies failures, Whale's directing career was over by 1941. He continued to direct for the stage, painted, and travelled. His retirement years were comfortable until strokes in 1956 left him in pain. Whale committed suicide on 29 May 1957 by drowning himself in his backyard swimming pool.

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