James R. Velde, 82, former senior vice president of United Artists Pictures. A native of Illinois, Velde was educated at Wesleyan University and served as an Army lieutenant during World War II, earning a Purple Heart. He was a distributor and executive in the film industry for 45 years, working for Paramount and Selznick Releasing Organization. He joined United Artists in 1951 and was named senior vice president in charge of domestic sales in 1959. Velde was a past president of the board of the Motion Picture Pioneers, a director of Variety Clubs International and the Will Rogers Institute. For his charitable activities, he earned the "Man of the Year" award from the Boys Club of Queens, N.Y. and at his retirement in 1976 the Brandeis University Humanitarian Award. On July 25 in Woodland Hills.