James Mitchell Lear

Actor, writer

Longtime thesp-writer James Mitchell Lear died in Florida July 14. He was 80.

St. Paul, Minn., native grew up in Chicago and was a paratrooper during WWII in North Africa and Italy.

An actor since the 1950s, over the years his career led him to New York, Los Angeles, Rome and Paris. He eventually settled in Deerfield Beach, Fla., in the 1980s.

He was an alum of Chicago’s Goodman Theater and the Pasadena Playhouse and worked alongside Marlon Brando, Elizabeth Taylor, Orson Welles, Warren Beatty, Natalie Wood, Henry Fonda, Colleen Dewhurst, James Garner, Ed Asner and many others.

Among the more than 40 Hollywood films he appears in are “Reflections in a Golden Eye,” “House of Cards,” “Splendor in the Grass,” “The Blue Dahlia,” “Fraulein Doktor and Colpo di Stato.”

His more than 100 legit appearances included “Othello,” “MacBeth,” “The Caine Mutiny,” “Three Penny Opera,” “Great Day in the Morning,” “Death of a Salesman,” “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” “Shadow of a Gunman,” “Enemy of the People” and “Never Too Late,” both on and Off Broadway.

He also went before the lens in more than 150 TV shows and numerous national television commercials, both in the U.S. and Europe. In addition he provided narration, voiceover, and dubbing for more than 200 other films.

An accomplished writer, wrote several screenplays and recently completed a children’s book as well as his autobiography titled (with a wink) “This Is Not an Obituary.”

In the 1970s, at the request of Ernest Hemingway’s granddaughter, the late actress Margaux Hemingway, Lear was inspired to create his critically acclaimed one-man play about the great writer “Hemingway Reminisces.” Over the past 20 years Lear performed the play around the world. He was even skedded to travel to Paris at the end of July to film his final performance for a London-based film company and a docu about his life.

He is survived by his wife, five children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

More Scene

  • SAG Awards Prep

    Sneak Peek at 2018 SAG Awards Post-Show Gala

    Longtime thesp-writer James Mitchell Lear died in Florida July 14. He was 80. St. Paul, Minn., native grew up in Chicago and was a paratrooper during WWII in North Africa and Italy. An actor since the 1950s, over the years his career led him to New York, Los Angeles, Rome and Paris. He eventually settled […]

  • Sundance Parties

    Sundance 2018: The Insider's Party Guide

    Longtime thesp-writer James Mitchell Lear died in Florida July 14. He was 80. St. Paul, Minn., native grew up in Chicago and was a paratrooper during WWII in North Africa and Italy. An actor since the 1950s, over the years his career led him to New York, Los Angeles, Rome and Paris. He eventually settled […]

  • Tracee Ellis Ross

    Tracee Ellis Ross at Image Makers Awards: 'Clothing Started as Armor for Me'

    Longtime thesp-writer James Mitchell Lear died in Florida July 14. He was 80. St. Paul, Minn., native grew up in Chicago and was a paratrooper during WWII in North Africa and Italy. An actor since the 1950s, over the years his career led him to New York, Los Angeles, Rome and Paris. He eventually settled […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content