Earlier in his career, Mr. Mitchell, an accomplished dancer, played leading roles in a number of Broadway musicals — among them Mack and Mable, Carnival, Paint Your Wagon, Brigadoon, and Bloomer Girl.
He appeared with the American Ballet Theater in New York, Europe and South America, and with the Agnes DeMille Dance Theater on tour throughout the United States.
His films include That's Dancing, a retrospective of great dance numbers in movie musicals; The Turning Point, in which he played the artistic director; The Bandwagon with Fred Astaire, Oklahoma and Deep in My Heart with Cyd Charisse. He also danced with Miss Charisse in both her 1965 television special and in the Academy Awards Presentation program in 1966.
From 1969 to 1973, he played the role of Professor Hathaway on the daytime series, Where the Heart Is. Mr. Mitchell also appeared in the primetime series, Charlie's Angels.
He starred on tour in Funny Girl with Carol Lawrence, in The Threepenny Opera with Chita Rivera and in The King and I with Ann Blyth. Additionally, he served as assistant to the director of the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera production of Annie Get Your Gun with Debbie Reynolds.
James taught movement for actors to theater arts students, which he described as "an exchange of the disciplines of dancing and acting." He also taught at Yale University and at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in fine arts.
James Mitchell died on January 22, 2010 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), complicated by pneumonia. For more on the passing of James Mitchell, please click here.