James Brown

Active - 1942 - 2019  |   Born - Mar 22, 1920   |   Died - Jan 1, 1992   |   Genres - Western, Drama, Action, Comedy, Adventure

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Not to be confused with African-American action star Jim Brown or with the "Godfather of Soul" of the same name, American actor James Brown was a tennis pro before entering films in 1941. Clearly a man of unlimited athletic prowess, Brown appeared in such rugged Hollywood productions as The Forest Rangers (1942), Air Force (1943), Objective Burma (1945) and Sands of Iwo Jima (1949). He had more sedate roles in Going My Way (1944), as nominal romantic lead Ted Haines (Bing Crosby, the star of the film, was a priest and therefore out of the running with the leading lady), and in Pride of St. Louis (1952), a biopic about baseball star Dizzy Dean wherein Brown played sidelines ballplayer "Moose." Few of his later movies were worth mentioning, though Brown had a few telling moments as the stern, rifle-toting father of the serial killer "protagonist" in Peter Bogdanovich's Targets (1968). Brown, sometimes billed as Jim L. Brown, is best known to aging baby boomers for his continuing role as Lt. Rip Masters on the enormously popular 1950s TV series Rin Tin Tin. He retired from acting in the late 1960s to manage his successful body-building equipment concern, then was appointed head of customer relations at Faberge, a cosmetics firm. When Faberge's filmmaking division, Brut Productions, put together a 1975 comedy titled Whiffs, the producers persuaded Brown to return to acting in a supporting role. And in 1976, James Brown redonned his 19th century cavalry uniform to film new wraparounds for a syndicated Rin Tin Tin rerun package.

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