Another of the great post-World War II generation of actors has left us. James Whitmore, best known to horror fans as the unflappable Sgt. Ben Peterson of the classic giant ant picture Them! (1954), passed away last Friday at the age of 87.
In addition to his role in Them!, Whitmore also starred in the beloved Twilight Zone episode "On Thursday We Leave for Home", and one of his last film roles came in 1997 in the monster flick The Relic.
After a few years in Hollywood, Whitmore became known mainly as a TV and B-movie actor of the 1950s and 1960s. He did extensive work on stage as well, including the show Give 'Em Hell Harry, in which he played the title part of President Harry S. Truman. In fact, his starring turn in the 1975 motion picture version earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
Many younger fans best remember Whitmore for his memorable supporting performance as Brooks in The Shawshank Redemption (1994). I'll also never forget his starring role in the 1986 TV production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons.
Frank Darabont, who was honored to direct Whitmore in both Shawshank and The Majestic (2001), sent in a heartwarming remembrance of the actor to Ain't It Cool News, which you can read here.