|Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflies, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.|
James Pier Mason
1889 - 1959
Jim Mason - circa 1936
James Pier Mason was born in Paris, France in 1889. His family was wealthy and their home was Manhattan, New York.|
His movie career began around 1915. In silent films, he did mostly credited roles in A and B grade mysteries, melodramas, costumers, etc. And he most often portrayed a heavy. Examples: he was featured in THE PENALTY (Goldwyn, 1920) with Lon Chaney, a pair with Will Rogers, JUBILO (Goldwyn, 1919) and THE STRANGE BOARDER (Goldwyn, 1920), and several with Douglas Fairbanks.
Tradepapers indicate that Mason worked on the Fairbanks film production team (along with Vester Pegg, Charlie Stevens, Frank Campeau, others). And he did villainy in silent westerns with William S. Hart, Tom Mix, Hoot Gibson, Ken Maynard, Buck Jones, others.
Above - Jim Mason in the mid 1930s.
In August, 2014, I e-mailed the Alumni organizations at Cornell College (Mount Vernon, Iowa), Iowa State University (Ames, Iowa), and Cornell University (New York). They checked their records for a James Pier Mason/James P. Mason, etc. attending circa 1908 or so. Alas - nothing was found on him.
Suffering from heart problems, Mason passed away November 7, 1959 at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles and is interred at at Valhalla Memorial Park.
(Courtesy of Les Adams)
Above from left to right are an unidentified bartender (possibly Charles Kemper), Warner Richmond, Steve Clark, Jim Mason, Dave Sharpe, Archie Ricks and Bud Osborne in a scene from the Tom Keene oater, WHERE TRAILS DIVIDE (Monogram, 1937). This is a good one with lawyer Keene finding his brother - portrayed by the youthful Dave Sharpe - working in a gang run by Warner Richmond. In this, Mason is a henchie working for Richmond.
Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Jim Mason: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0556769/
Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a picture of the grave marker for James P. Mason at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park, North Hollywood, California: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=9033450
The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), California Death Records database and the death certificate have information on Jim Mason:
Long Island Genealogy website has info on Jim Mason and his parents, James Kent Mason and Katherine Evelyn Pier: