Mitchum, Robert 1917 -- 1997
Born Robert Charles Duran Mitchum, on August 6, 1917, in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Body type: 6' 2"
Ethnicity: White / Caucasian
Zodiac Sign: Leo
Smoke / Drink: Yes / Yes
Occupation: Actor, director, writer
During his lengthy show business career, Mitchum was a major star who was cast in more
than 125 films, often in tough-guy roles. A writer for CNN Interactive called him "a rugged
leading man and sometime bad boy who defined cool before Hollywood knew what it was.
Mitchum's talents allowed him to take on a variety of roles, from villains and heroic soldiers to
Old West lawmen and psychotic killers.
Mitchum lived for a time in New York City before he left home at the age of twelve. In performed
a variety of odd jobs, including work in a local theater as a stagehand, director, and actor, as
well as work as a aircraft assembler, deckhand, ditch digger, nightclub bouncer, shoe salesman,
coal miner, boxer, and radio script writer. He was also arrested for vagrancy in Georgia at age
sixteen and was sentenced to time on a chain gang. His first film work began in the 1940s as he
was signed to appear in westerns featuring Hopalong Cassidy. In 1943 alone he made more than
a dozen films. The decade also saw Mitchum in movies such as Thirty Seconds Over Toyko, Holiday
Affair, and The Story of G.I. Joe. He was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting
actor for the last film. The decade ended with Mitchum in trouble again with the law. He was
arrested on charges of marijuana possession and served two months on a prison honor farm. In the
1950s he starred in motion pictures such as Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison, Fire Down Below, and
The Wonderful Country.
In 1962 he appeared as a psychotic killer in Cape Fear, and he later made a cameo appearance in
the 1991 remake starring Robert De Niro. Other 1960s appearances included roles in The Sundowners,
What a Way to Go!, El Dorado, and Five Card Stud. In the 1970s and 1980s he worked in movies
such as Ryan's Daughter, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Last Tycoon, Scrooged, and That
Championship Season. His later work included the opening narration in the western Tombstone,
starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer, and a role in Dead Man. Mitchum also made television appearances
in the miniseries The Winds of War, War and Remembrance, and North and South, and he appeared
on the series A Family for Joe and Family Man. "Mitchum's trademarks were his athletic 6-foot-1 frame,
heavy-lidded eyes and a casual attitude that could unerringly convey either stoic heroism or devious
sadism," wrote a Chicago Tribune reporter. "He parlayed these qualities, plus his instinctive gifts and
unflappability, into a career playing movie tough guys of all varieties." The London Times surmised:
"A gift for impressionists, Mitchum was a big man with sleepy eyes, a laconic voice and drooping shoulders
whose world-weary cynicism was often laced with dry humour. He could be menacing or charming and
was sometimes both at once." He received a lifetime achievement award from American Theatre Arts
in 1983 and a Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992, but never was honored with an
Academy Award. Mitchum died of emphysema and lung cancer on July 1, 1997, in Santa Barbara, California.
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