A sturdy and earnest performer on stage, television and in numerous films, James Whitmore was a much-honored character actor and occasional lead whose career stretched from the late 1940s to the early 21st century. Versatile in almost every genre of film, Whitmore was frequently called upon to play can-do, salt of the earth characters like his combat-weary platoon leader in "Battleground" (1949) or the heroic state patrolman fighting giant ants in the sci-fi classic "Them!" (1954). Whitmore was a frequent guest star in television series and TV movies, as well as worked extensively on stage throughout his career, including solo performances as Will Rogers, Harry S. Truman and Theodore Roosevelt, which earned him the moniker "King of the One Man Show." In his seventh decade, he enjoyed a career boost with a moving performance as an elderly prisoner in "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994) and a 1999 Emmy Award for "The Practice" (ABC, 1997-2004). A generation of television viewers also knew him as the on-camera spokesman for Miracle-Gro garden products. The man simply would not slow down, an actor in his soul, performing well into late eighties.