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James Newill

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James Newill
Lobby card for Renfrew of the Royal Mounted (1937)
James Morris Newill

(1911-08-12)August 12, 1911
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
DiedJuly 31, 1975(1975-07-31) (aged 63–64)
Thousand Oaks, California
Other namesJim Newill, Jimmy Newell
OccupationActor, Singer
Years active1937–1971

James Morris Newill (sometimes credited as Jim Newill) (August 12, 1911 in Pittsburgh – July 31, 1975 in Thousand Oaks, California) was an American actor and singer.[citation needed]

Early life

Newill was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Mayme Newill and her first husband.[1] His parents divorced, and his mother married John W. Newill, who adopted him. Newill had three siblings, Evelyn, Clyde, and Calvin. In 1930, his family moved to Los Angeles Country, California. He studied music at the University of California.


Newill began to sing in the early 1930s with the Mann Brothers, a west coast band whose home base was Spokane, Washington. In 1932, he was vocalizing with the Phil Harris band at the Cocoanut Grove night club at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. In the beginning of 1933, he toured and sang with the Gus Arnheim orchestra, and that included more performances at the Cocoanut Grove. He was still performing with the Arnheim band in the late 1934.[1]

He recorded with the Eddy Duchin Orchestra in 1936, recording "Night in Manhattan" (Victor 25390-B); "I'll Sing You a Thousand Love Songs" (Victor 25393-B); and "You're Still Mine In My Dreams" (Victor 25395-B)).

During the latter half of 1936, he was the singer on the George Burns and Gracie Allen radio show on CBS. By late 1936, Newill had moved on and the new singer for George and Gracie was Tony Marvin.

His film career began in 1937 with an uncredited singing role in The Affair of Susan. From 1937 to 1940, Jim played Sergeant Renfrew of the Royal Mounted in five Royal Mountie films. His last film was 1944's Gunsmoke Mesa.

Newill was known mostly for his western roles, having been one-third of the Texas Rangers in the Texas Rangers series of B-movies. Of the 22-film series, Newill co-starred in the first 14, along with co-stars Dave O'Brien and Guy Wilkerson. He played Texas Ranger Jim Steele. In some of his westerns, he's also credited with co-writing some of the film songs.

With his somewhat operatic voice, he sang with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. In 1944 he made his Broadway debut as Sergeant Tim O'Hara in Vernon Duke's Sadie Thompson with June Havoc in the title role.[2] He also portrayed Yellow Foot, Pawnee's Messenger (replacing original cast member Walter John) in the original Broadway run of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun in 1947-1948.


Newill died on July 31, 1975, from cancer.


  • The Lord Is My Shepherd (1953)



  1. ^ a b Anderson, Chuck. "James Newill". www.b-westerns.com. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
  2. ^ Legitimate: Plays on Broadway - Sadie Thompson. Variety. 156. November 22, 1944. p. 40.
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James Newill
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