Photos with James Whale
BiographyDudley, Worcestershire, England, UK
James Whale, who grew up poor in an English mining town, learned to put on plays in a World War I German POW camp. Postwar theatre work took him to the London stage, then Broadway, then a contract with Paramount, as dialog director for Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels (1930). He began his contribution to the horror film genre with his move to Universal, directing Boris Karloff in Frankenstein (1931), notable for its sympathetic presentation of the monster, and The Invisible Man (1933) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935), both notable for the humor he injected into horror. Read more... horror films only, and tried different subject matter. As he lost control over his own films under the new Universal regime, he retreated to a more private and hedonistic life, including painting and all-male pool parties, at one point separating from his longtime lover David Lewis. He suffered several strokes, and eventually committed suicide by drowning in his pool (he was afraid of water). His suicide note, to Lewis, read "The future is just old age and illness and pain . . . I must have peace and this is the only way". His last film, Hello Out There (1949), was never released.