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ROBERT MITCHUM

Robert_Mitchum_1949_(no_signature)

BIOGRAPHICAL DETAILS

Full Name: Robert Charles Durman Mitchum

Description: Actor, Vocalist, USA

Known For: Film – “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison” – 1957

Instruments: Voice

Music Styles: Easy Listening

Location: CT, United States of America

Date Born: 6th August 1917
Location Born: Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States of America

Date Died: 1st July 1997
Location Died: Santa Babara, California, United States of America
Cause Of Death: Complications of lung cancer and emphysema.

Memorial: Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.
Photo Comments: This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 without a copyright notice.

CONTACT DETAILS
Web Site: Profile Turner Classic Movies

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BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Robert Mitchum

An Academy Award nominated American film actor and singer.

Robert Charles Durman Mitchum (August 6, 1917 – July 1, 1997) was an American film actor, author, composer, and singer. Mitchum rose to prominence for his starring roles in several classic films noir, and is generally considered a forerunner of the anti-heroes prevalent in film during the 1950s and 1960s. His best-known films include The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), Crossfire (1947), Out of the Past (1947), The Night of the Hunter (1955), The Enemy Below (1957), Cape Fear (1962), and El Dorado (1966).

Mitchum is rated #23 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 50 greatest American screen legends of all time (25 greatest males/25 greatest females).

Mitchum was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut into a Methodist family. His mother, Ann Harriet Mitchum (née Gunderson), was a Norwegian immigrant and sea captain’s daughter, and his father, James Thomas Mitchum, of Scots-Ulster descent, was a shipyard and railroad worker. A sister, Annette, (known as Julie Mitchum during her acting career) was born in 1914. James Mitchum was crushed to death in a railyard accident in Charleston, South Carolina, in February 1919, when his son was less than two years old. After his father’s death, his mother was awarded a government pension, and soon realized she was pregnant with her second son, John, who was born in September. She remarried to a former Royal Naval Reserve officer, Lieutenant Hugh Cunningham Morris RNVR, who helped her care for the children. Ann and the Major had a daughter, Carol Morris, who was born July 1927 on the family farm in Delaware. When all of the children were old enough to attend school, Ann found employment as a linotype operator for the Bridgeport Post

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Throughout Mitchum’s childhood, he was known as a prankster, often involved in fistfights and mischief. When he was 12, his mother sent Mitchum to live with his grandparents in Felton.

Delaware, where he was promptly expelled from his middle school for scuffling with a principal. A year later, in 1930, he moved in with his older sister, to New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. After being expelled from Haaran High School, he left his sister and traveled throughout the country on railroad cars, taking a number of jobs including ditch-digging for the Civilian Conservation Corps and professional boxing. He experienced numerous adventures during his years as one of the Depression era’s “wild boys of the road.” At age 14 in Savannah, Georgia, he was arrested for vagrancy and put on a local chain gang. By Mitchum’s own account, he escaped and returned to his family in Delaware. It was during this time, while recovering from injuries that nearly cost him a leg, that he met the woman he would marry, a teenaged Dorothy Spence. He soon went back on the road, eventually riding the rails to California.

Mitchum arrived in Long Beach, California, in 1936, staying again with his sister Julie. Soon the rest of the Mitchum family joined them in Long Beach. During this time he worked as a ghostwriter for astrologer Carroll Righter. It was sister Julie who convinced him to join the local theater guild with her. In his years with the Players Guild of Long Beach, he made a living as a stagehand and occasional bit-player in company productions. He also wrote several short pieces which were performed by the guild. According to Lee Server’s biography (Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care), Mitchum put his talent for poetry to work writing song lyrics and monologues for his sister Julie’s nightclub performances. In 1940 he returned East to marry Dorothy Spence, taking her back to California. He remained a footloose character until the birth of their first child, James Mitchum, nicknamed Josh (two more children would follow, Christopher Mitchum and Petrine). Mitchum then got a steady job as a machine operator with the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation.

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A nervous breakdown (which resulted in temporary blindness), apparently from job-related stress, led Mitchum to look for work as an actor or extra in movies. An agent he had met got him an interview with the producer of the Hopalong Cassidy series of B-westerns; he was hired to play the villain in several films in the series during 1942 and 1943. He continued to find further work as an extra and supporting actor in numerous productions for various studios. After impressing director Mervyn LeRoy during the making of Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Mitchum signed a seven-year contract with RKO Radio Pictures. He found himself groomed for B Western stardom in a series of Zane Grey adaptation.

Following the moderately successful western Nevada, Mitchum was lent from RKO to United Artists for the William Wellman-helmed The Story of G.I. Joe. In the film, he portrayed war-weary officer Bill Walker (based on Captain Henry T. Waskow), who remains resolute despite the troubles he faces. The film, which followed the life of an ordinary soldier through the eyes of journalist Ernie Pyle (played by Burgess Meredith), became an instant critical and commercial success. Shortly after making the film, Mitchum himself was drafted into the United States Army, serving at Fort MacArthur, California. At the 1946 Academy Awards, The Story of G.I. Joe was nominated for four Oscars, including Mitchum’s only nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He finished the year off with a western (West of the Pecos) and a story of returning Marine veterans (Till the End of Time), before filming in a genre that came to define Mitchum’s career and screen persona: film noir.

Death

A lifelong heavy smoker, Mitchum died on July 1, 1997, in Santa Barbara, California, due to complications of lung cancer and emphysema. He was about five weeks short of his 80th birthday. His body was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea. He was survived by his wife of 57 years, Dorothy Mitchum (died April 12, 2014, Santa Barbara, California, aged 94), and actor sons, James Mitchum, Christopher Mitchum, and writer daughter, Petrine Day Mitchum. His grandchildren, Bentley Mitchum and Carrie Mitchum, are actors, as was his younger brother, John, who died in 2001. Another grandson, Kian, is a successful model. Cappy Van Dien, Grace Van Dien, and Wyatt Mitchum Cardone are the grandchildren of Christopher Mitchum and the great grandchildren of Robert and Dorothy Mitchum.

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Married Dorothy Mitchum in 1940 until his death. Two sons one daughter.

Around this time Mitchum looked for work as an actor or extra in movies.

An agent he had met got him an interview with the producer of the Hopalong Cassidy series of B-westerns; he was hired to play the villain in several films in the series between 1942 and 1943.

After impressing director Mervyn LeRoy during the making of Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, Mitchum signed a seven-year contract with RKO Radio Pictures.

Following the moderately successful western Nevada, Mitchum was lent from RKO to United Artists for the William Wellman-helmed The Story of G.I. Joe.

Shortly after making the film, Mitchum himself was drafted into the U.S. Army.

At the 1946 Academy Awards, the film was nominated for four Oscars, including Mitchum’s only nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Mitchum’s cynical, mischievous attitude continued through adulthood and led him to shrug off fame as a fluke.

In 1948, after a string of successful films for RKO, he and actress Lila Leeds were arrested for possession of marijuana.

1955 marked his last true noir outing and his first film as a freelance actor, the Charles Laughton helmed The Night of the Hunter.

Following a series of conventional westerns and films noir, including the Marilyn Monroe vehicle River of No Return (1954), The Night of the Hunter would become one of the landmark films of the decade.

Mitchum starred in the first of three screen collaborations with British actress Deborah Kerr. The intriguing John Huston war drama Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison.

For his role, Mitchum was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor.

Mitchum and Kerr were paired again in 1960, first for the critically acclaimed Fred Zinnemann film, The Sundowners, where they played husband and wife struggling in Depression-era Australia.

Mitchum’s career into music. His voice had long been used instead of the professional singers when characters portrayed by Mitchum sang in his films.

He recorded “Calypso – Is Like So” in March of 1957.

Though Mitchum continued to use his singing voice in his film work, he waited until 1967 to record his follow-up record, That Man, Robert Mitchum, Sings.

Though Mitchum continued to appear in films throughout the 1990s, the actor gradually slowed his workrate.

His last film appearance was in the television biopic, James Dean, “Race with Destiny”. His last starring role had been in the 1995 Norwegian movie “Pakten”

He died in 1997,at the age of 79, in Santa Barbara, California, due to complications of lung cancer and emphysema.

Films include

Hoppy Serves a Writ (1943)
The Human Comedy (1943)
Aerial Gunner (1943)
Border Patrol (1943)
Follow the Band (1943)
Leather Burners (1943)
Colt Comrades (1943)
We’ve Never Been Licked (1943)
Lone Star Trail (1943)
Beyond the Last Frontier (1943)
Corvette K-225 (1943)
Bar 20 (1943)
Doughboys in Ireland (1943)
False Colors (1943)
Minesweeper (1943)
The Dancing Masters (1943)
Cry Havoc (1943)
Riders of the Deadline (1943)
Gung Ho! (1943)
Johnny Doesn’t Live Here Any More (1944)
Mr. Winkle Goes to War (1944)
When Strangers Marry (1944)
Girl Rush (1944)
Thirty Seconds over Tokyo (1944)
Nevada (1944)
The Story of G.I. Joe (1945)
West of the Pecos (1945)
Till the End of Time (1946)
Undercurrent (1946)
The Locket (1946)
Pursued (1947)
Crossfire (1947)
Desire Me (1947)
Out of the Past (1947)
Rachel and the Stranger (1948)
Blood on the Moon (1948)
The Red Pony (1949)
The Big Steal (1949)
Holiday Affair (1949)
Where Danger Lives (1950)
My Forbidden Past (1951)
His Kind of Woman (1951)
The Racket (1951)
Macao (1952)
One Minute to Zero (1952)
The Lusty Men (1952)
Angel Face (1952)
White Witch Doctor (1953)
Second Chance (1953)
She Couldn’t Say No (1954)
River of No Return (1954)
Track of the Cat (1954)
Not as a Stranger (1955)
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
Man with the Gun (1955)
Foreign Intrigue (1956)
Bandido (1956)
Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957)
Fire Down Below (1957)
The Enemy Below (1957)
Thunder Road (1958)
The Hunters (1958)
The Angry Hills (1959)
The Wonderful Country (1959)
Home from the Hill (1960)
A Terrible Beauty (1960)
The Sundowners (1960)
The Grass Is Greener (1960)
The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961)
Cape Fear (1962)
The Longest Day (1962)
Two for the Seesaw (1962)
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963)
Rampage (1963 film)
Man in the Middle (1963)
What a Way to Go! (1964)
Ride The Wild Surf (1964)
Mister Moses (1965)
El Dorado (1966)
The Way West (1967)
Villa Rides (1968)
Anzio (1968)
5 Card Stud (1968)
Secret Ceremony (1968)
Young Billy Young (1969)
The Good Guys and the Bad Guys (1969)
Ryan’s Daughter (1970)
Going Home (1971)
The Wrath of God (1972)
The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
The Yakuza (1974)
Farewell, My Lovely (1975)
Midway (1976)
The Last Tycoon (1976)
The Amsterdam Kill (1977)
The Big Sleep (1978)
Matilda (1978)
Breakthrough (1979)
Agency (1980)
Nightkill (1980)
That Championship Season (1982)
One Shoe Makes It Murder (1982) (TV)
The Ambassador (1984)
A Killer In the Family (1983) (TV)
Maria’s Lovers (1984)
Remembering Marilyn (1987)
Mr. North (1988)
Scrooged (1988)
John Huston: The Man, the Movies, the Maverick (1989)
Midnight Ride (1990)
Supposedly Dangerous (1990)
Cape Fear (1991)
The Seven Deadly Sins (1992)
Woman of Desire (1993)
Tombstone (1993)
Backfire! (1995)
Dead Man (1995)
Waiting for Sunset (1995)
Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick (1996)

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