James Henderson FINLAYSON was born in Larbert, Stirlingshire, Scotland on 27 Aug 1887. He was the fourth child of Alexander FINLAYSON and Isabella HENDERSON.
In the year 1901, he worked as a Tinsmith in Larbert, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
When James was 16 years old, his mother Isabella HENDERSON died on 03 Nov 1903.
When James was 22 years old, his father Alexander FINLAYSON died on 11 Dec 1909.
When James was 24 years old, he emigrated to the USA with his brother Robert in 1911. They sailed from Glasgow to New York on the S.S. California. James' occupation was given as Actor and Robert as Engineer. They were described as visiting their uncle, David FINLAYSON of 1487 Bedford Avenue, New York. [David was in fact their cousin, although much older.]
In 1917, James was living at the Hotel St. George on 115 E 3rd St in Los Angeles, California, USA. His profession was given as Theatrical, his height as 5ft 7in, his build as Slender, his eyes as Blue, his hair as Brown, and distinguishing features as Lost Two Toes On The Left Foot. His employer is given as Elco Company in Holywood. (Presumably this refers to L-KO Kompany. Rettie-2 08:36, 27 July 2015 (EDT))
On 9 Jun 1919, James married nineteen-year-old Emily Cora GILBERT in Los Angeles, California, USA. (His age is given as 30, when he was actually nearly 32).
On 8 Oct 1919, James signed a film contract with the Mack Sennett Comedies Corporation. He signed further contract extension options on 21 Feb 1920 and 24 Aug 1920, and a vacation agreement was signed on 23 Feb 1921.
In the U.S. Census for the year 1920, he is listed as an Actor living in Los Angeles, California, USA. His wife Emily and sister Agnes FINLAYSON are also in the household.
On 11 Dec 1920, James submitted a Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen. At that time he was living with Emily at 1544 N. Western Ave, Los Angeles.
On 2 Feb 1924, he filed a Petition for Naturalisation. His address was given as 5717 1/2 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles. Witnesses were Ben Turpin and Charles Parrott (aka Charley Chase). The application was denied on 2 Jan 1925 due to 'want of prosecution'.
On 9 Jun 1924, he arrived at Glasgow on the S.S. Tuscania from New York via Moville, Northern Ireland. James had travelled First Class and his address was given as Victoria Road, Larbert, Stirlingshire. His occupation was Actor & Film Director and his age was given as 37 [he was 36].
On 16 Aug 1924, age 36, he arrived at Ellis Island, New York on the ship Paris from Le Havre in France. His marital status was Single, his occupation was Actor, and his last permanent address was Hotel Rochambeau in Paris, France. His final destination was his home at 1515 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California and he had previously resided in the U.S. from 1911 to 1924.
On 29 Aug 1925, he sailed from Southampton, England to New York, USA on the S.S. Orca. His occupation was given as Actor and his nearest relative as Mr. R. FINLAYSON (Brother) of 1702 La Baig Ave, Los Angeles, California. His marital status is given as Single. (Assumption is that James and Emily were divorced sometime between 1920 and 1925. Rettie-2 09:04, 31 March 2015 (EDT))
On 9 Jul 1926, age 39, he arrived at Plymouth on the ship S.S. Paris, which had sailed from New York. James had travelled First Class and his proposed destination was the Metropole Hotel in London. His age was given as 38 and occupation as Actor.
On 17 Aug 1926, he arrived in New York, NY, USA on the ship S.S. Olympic having sailed from Southampton, England on 11 Aug. His occupation was given as Actor and the name of nearest relative in the country from which he came was given as his Uncle Robert FINLAYSON of Larbert, Stirlingshire, Scotland. His home address was given as 1502 La Baique Ave, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Also travelling on the same voyage were the actors Henry Kendall and John Gordon who were headed to the Charles Frohman Inc. owned Empire Theatre in New York.
On 28 Jun 1927, he sailed on the S.S. Berengaria bound for Europe where he intended to visit London, Paris and Larbert.
On 3 Aug 1927, age 39, he arrived at New York on the ship S.S. Paris, which had sailed from Le Havre, France on 27 Jul 1927. His marital status was Single, his occupation was Actor, and the name of relative in the country from which he came was given as Robert FINLAYSON (his uncle) living in Stirlingshire, Scotland. James' final destination was his home at the Afton Arms apartments in Hollywood, California and he had previously resided in the U.S. from 1922 to 1927.
In the U.S. Census for the year 1930, he is listed as an Actor living in the Afton Arms apartments, 6141 Afton Pl, Hollywood, California, USA. He is living alone and his marital status was Single.
In 1932, James was sued for $620 rental by the Afton Arms.
On 17 Apr 1933, age 45, he arrived at London, England on the ship S.S. American Farmer, which had sailed from New York, NY, USA. His occupation was given as Actor and his proposed address in the UK was Abbotsford, Larbert, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
On 17 Apr 1935, age 48, he arrived at New York on the ship S.S. Paris, which had sailed from Southampton, England on 10 Apr 1935. His marital status was Single and his occupation was Movie Actor. His home address in England was 39 Coventry Street, London [near Leicester Square] and his home address in USA was given as Castle Argyle [apartments], Hollywood, California. His last period of residence in the USA dated from 1927 until 3 Apr 1933.
On 12 Jun 1937, he joined the Screen Actors Guild as member number 10080, a month after its recognition by Louis B. MAYER and Joseph M. SCHENK. At the time, James was living in the La Belle Tour apartments at 6200 Franklin Ave, Hollywood, California.
On 2 Sep 1939, it was reported that James was engaged to the English stage actress Stephanie INSALL.
On 13 Nov 1939, James submitted a second Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen. At that time he was unmarried, living at 6141 Franklin Ave, Hollywood, California and his occupation was Actor-Director. His last foreign residence was given as London, England and he had arrived at New York, N.Y. from Southampton, England on the ship Paris on 17 Apr 1935.
In 1942, he lived at 1966 North Beachwood Drive, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA. His employer was given as Hal Roach, Culver City, California.
On 15 Sep 1942, he filed a second Petition for Naturalisation. His address was given as 1966 North Beachwood Drive, Hollywood, California, his occupation was Actor and his marital status was divorced. Witnesses were Robert E. BEVANS, hotel clerk, and Robert F. McGOWAN, director. The application was granted on 20 Nov 1942.
On 9 Oct 1953, James Henderson FINLAYSON died in Los Angeles, California, USA, age 66. The cause of death was Coronary sclerosis and the informant was his brother Robert. James was cremated at Chapel of the Pines. Among those present at his funeral were producer Mack Sennett and actors Hank Mann, Billy Bevan, Snub Pollard, Tom Kennedy and Andy Clyde.
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