|born: 14 October 1907
Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio,
United States of America
|died: 09 April 1987
Van Nuys, California,
United States of America
American actor. His brother was Orland Bush.|
The family moved from Ohio to Los Angeles about 1912. His Mom, May Brown (1873-1959), was a "stage Mother" and his manager. One newspaper account says she had been a successful stage actress "back East" and another says she had wanted to become an actress. She enrolled him in the Egan Dramatic School where he received his primary education and performed at churches, social clubs and civic events as "the boy soprano". Newspaper interviews mention him acting as a "kid" in films and one said he was a "protege' of Mary Pickford for productions she did with Paramount" but no films are named. He sang, danced, acted and played violin all the way through his 4 years at Los Angeles High School. He became a prolific stage actor performing everything from fairy tales; musicals; comedy; drama and Shakespeare.
After graduating high school he played assorted parts in a wide variety of plays for various amateur groups for a few years, eventually getting a starring role in 1926 with the esteemed Pasadena Community Theater. He worked steadily for the next several years with the Duffy Players and Morosco, playing a season in St. Louis and one in Seattle/Portland while resisting movie offers. Invariably he received good reviews for his performances even when the play or other actors were below par and developed his own following before he was 22 years old.
In 1932 he signed with Paramount for 2 pictures and from then on, played everything from leading men, supporting roles and bit parts in major and minor motion pictures, working steadily into TV series' in the 1950's.
In his early 20's he raised goldfish commercially. His multi-acre ranch on Laurel Canyon Road was all white: house, barn, furniture, fences, chickens, rabbits, horse and bulldog.
In May 1935, James was a pallbearer for 2 funerals in 2 days. Jackie Coogan's Dad was driving to their ranch on a mountain road outside San Diego at high speed (possibly intoxicated) and ran off the road, rolling over several times into a rocky ditch. All were killed except Jackie who was riding in the rumble seat and miraculously escaped with minor injuries. All were friends of James. One was 19 year old up-and-coming movie actor, Junior Durkin and the other friend was 25 year old Robert J. Horner, an up-and-coming radio writer/actor (not to be confused by the producer of "low-rent" western movies).
*His birth record shows no middle name or initial but a number of newspaper "blurbs" say "James H." or "James Henry" Bush.
Real name: James Henry Bush
|Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.|
|▼ NON-HAL ROACH FILMS|