James Fox (1939-) b. London, England.
Born into a theatrical family, his mother was an actress; his father a theatrical agent, James Fox was trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama. He made his film debut as a child star in The Miniver Story (1950), using his own name, William Fox. He followed this with an appearance in Ealing’s The Magnet (1950), about a fun-loving young boy and his good-luck token. He soon gave up acting to finish school. After completing compulsory Military Service from 1959 to 1961, Fox changed his first name to James. He returned to acting as a runner in Tony Richardson‘s angry drama The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), which starred Tom Courtenay as a rebellious youth. Fox soon made his mark alongside Dirk Bogarde in Joseph Losey’s Pinter-scripted psychological class drama The Servant (1963). Later that same period he headlined an international cast in the slapstick comedy extravaganza Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines (1965), and made a small number of distinguished films in Hollywood; including the PoW drama King Rat (1965) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967).
Fox culminated the decade in Nicholas Roeg’s cult classic Performance (1970), turning in a starring role as a gangster sucked into the bohemian lifestyle of jaded rock-star Mick Jagger. He departed the acting world on completion of Performance to pursue Christian vocational work with the missionary group, the Navigators – he returned in the late 1970s. Fox noticeably returned to mainstream cinema in the 1980s, appearing in David Lean’s A Passage to India (1984), Julien Temple’s musical Absolute Beginners (1986) and spy thriller The Whistle Blower (1986). Fox continued to be more prolific than ever, often playing aged English aristocrats in films, including The Russia House (1990), the rescued Lord Holmes in Patriot Games (1992), lord of the manor in The Remains of the Day (1993) and as Hugh Grant‘s auction house boss in the comedy Mickey Blue Eyes (1999). Fox made a return to the gangster genre as the corrupt aristocrat in Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast (2000).