Future Favorites — James Ellison (1937) 🇺🇸

February 08, 2022

James Ellison, whose career somewhat parallels Randy Scott’s, is one of the few western stars to leave those ranks for leads in top-rating feature productions...

by John Schwarzkopf

Ellison hails from Valier, Montana, where he was born twenty-six years ago on his father’s cattle ranch...

After his father’s death, the family moved to Los Angeles, where Jimmy, youngest of six children, was educated in Polytechnic High School... Jimmy, an outstanding student, was elected president of the school’s student body — no small honor in an institution of several thousand students.

Always active in sports, Jimmy made the football team, but couldn’t play because of a broken leg received in the first game of the season... Jimmy is no slouch at tennis, swimming or riding... Ellison’s family wanted him to become a writer like his brothers, but he chose to become an actor...

Still in his early twenties, Jimmy got off to a good start on the stage with a small part in a play at the Community Playhouse in Pasadena... Jimmy spent his evenings at the playhouse and his days working in the laboratory at Warner Bros...

A Warner scout saw him and arranged a screen test... Jimmy knocked off from his job in the “lab” long enough to take the test and then hurried back to work and had the unusual experience of developing and printing his own test...

Jimmy made two pictures, but soon after returned to the stage where he appeared as Billie Burke’s leading man... Jimmy was later signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer but soon after bought-up his contract with that studio to take a job in the Hawaiian Islands...

Upon his return, he went to Sequoia National Park and was about to become a ranger when Harry Sherman signed him to co-star with William Boyd in the Hopalong Cassidy series. Ellison’s third entry in pictures brought him to the attention of Cecil B. DeMille... the rest is history, for Jimmy’s part as the youthful Buffalo Bill in The Plainsman has gained him recognition as a top notch leading actor...

Jimmy has just finished 23-1/2 Hours Leave for Douglas MacLean... a part which MacLean once played himself. At present Jimmy is slated to make a picture a year for both MacLean and C. B. DeMille, aside from being under contract to Harry Sherman...

His next picture is for Sherman entitled, The Barrier, which Mr. Sherman is making for Paramount...

Jimmy was married recently to Gertrude Durkin after a whirlwind courtship... Jimmy is six-feet-two-inches tall, weighs 185 pounds and has blue eyes and dark brown hair.

Source: Motion Picture Magazine, August 1937