Briefly: Actor James Whitmore ’44 dies at 87

Actor James Whitmore ’44, whose memorable performances as President Harry S. Truman and comedian Will Rogers earned him accolades and awards, died Friday at home in Malibu, Calif. He was 87. Whitmore’s son, Steve Whitmore, said his father had been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer before death, The Associated Press reported. Whitmore enrolled as a pre-law student at Yale in 1939 after winning a football scholarship to the University. After a series of knee-related injuries ended his football career, Whitmore took up acting. Whitmore’s first Broadway performance won him a Tony Award for his debut role in “Command Decision,” a play about Allied air attacks on Germany during World War II. He received an Academy Award nomination for best actor for his leading role in “Give ’Em Hell, Harry!” in 1975. In 1950, Whitmore won a Golden Globe Award for his supporting role in “Battleground,” a turn that also earned Whitmore an Oscar nomination. He is survived by his third wife, Noreen, three sons and eight grandchildren.

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