James Donald was a Scottish actor. Born on 18th of May in 1917, James was from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland in the United Kingdom. He took his first plunge as an actor in the late 1930’s. He undertook his education at Rossall School on the Fylde coast of Lancashire. He played minor roles in the war films during the Second World War. These roles included films like 'In Which We Serve' in 1942, 'Went the Day Well?' again in 1942 and “The Way Ahead” in 1944.
Donald enlisted in the British Army as a British Army Intelligence Officer and decoded the messages for the troop. He also worked as a theater artist in plays like 'Present Laughter” by Noel Coward in 1943. Noel Coward himself starred in the play. Other theater works include '
with Two Heads' in 1947, 'You Never Can Tell' in 1948, and 'The Heiress' in 1949. 'The ' Heiress' also starred Peggy Ashcroft, Ralph Richardson, and Donald Sinden. In 1952, James played the role of Mr. Winkle in 'The Pickwick Papers' version of that time.
In 1956, Donald received his first major break when he played the role of Theo Van Gogh in the film 'Lust for Life'. With a Tall and thin physic, he played the authoritative figures with conviction. His most memorable role was the portrayal of Major Clipton in a classic war film 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' in 1957. Major Clipton was a doctor who expresses doubts about the mental stability of the Colonel Nicholson’s efforts to build a bridge to show off to his captors from Japan.
He was also granted the honor of speaking the iconic last words of this film; 'Madness! Madness!'. Another military role that is well remembered is that of Group Captain named Ramsey.Cap. Ramsey was the Senior British Officer played by James Donald in the movie “
The Great Escape
” in 1963. Other movies to Donald’s credit are “The Viking” in 1958, 'King Rat' in 1965, 'Cast a Giant Shadow' in 1966 and 'Quatermass and the Pit' in 1967. James worked as an actor in both U.K. and U.S. and also as a stage artist.
In 1960, Donald starred in “The Citadel”, a novel adaptation of the same name. The novel was written by A.J. Cronin. This novel has many adaptations in English and Indian Cinema. It also had Television adaptations of it; one American, two British and three Italian.
The Indian adaptations include films like '
Tere Mere Sapne
' in 1971 in the Hindi Language, 'Jiban Saikate' in 1972 in the Bengali Language and “Madhura Swapnam”in 1982 in the Telugu Language. Donald took art retirement due to the lifelong condition of Asthma. He died on 3rd of August in 1993 because of a stomach cancer in West Tytherley, Hampshire. He was married to a woman named Ann and is currently survived by her and his stepson.