: [on Bette Davis] The greatest actress of all time.
James Mason was a great English actor in both British and American films. He was born in Yorkshire, and attended Marlborough College and Cambridge University, where he discovered acting, and abandoned a planned career as an architect.
An avowed pacifist, he was a conscientious objector and refused to perform military service during World War II, a stance that caused his family to break with him for many years.
He was scheduled to play 007 James Bond in a 1958 television adaptation of "From Russia with Love", which was ultimately never produced. Later, despite being in his 50s, Mason was a contender to play Bond in Dr. No (1962) before Sean Connery was cast.
In 1952 while remodeling his home, he discovered several reels of Buster Keaton's "lost" films (Mason had purchased Keaton's Hollywood mansion) and immediately recognized their historical significance and was responsible for their preservation.
11 years after being mentioned in Rope (1948) as making an excellent villain, he was finally cast by Alfred Hitchcock as such in North by Northwest (1959).
He performed in two successful Jules Verne's classics, "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea" and "Journey to the Center of the Earth".