James Godbolt was born October 27, 1927, in Atlanta, Georgia. When he was young, he moved to Boston, where his mother enrolled him in violin lessons. "My mother always wanted me to play the violin," he said. "At 10 years old the violin was my first introduction to music and the arts, and I was doing very well with it. But I just got so I wanted to be a dancer. 'Cause there were many theaters at the time, and they had great floor shows, you know, stage shows, vaudeville.... In Boston the RKO Boston was a good theater.