1917 - 1997 (79 years)
Has 2 ancestors and 7 descendants in this family tree.
||Robert Charles Durman Mitchum |
||6 Aug 1917
||Bridgeport, Fairfield Co., Connecticut
||1 Jul 1997
||Santa Barbara, California, USA
||26 Apr 2002 |
- Underrated American leading man of enormous ability who sublimates his talents beneath an air of disinterest. Born to a railroad worker who died in a train accident when Robert was two, Mitchum and his siblings (including brother John Mitchum, later also an actor) were raised by his mother and step-father (a British army major) in Connecticut, New York, and Delaware. An early contempt for authority led to discipline problems, and Mitchum spent good portions of his teen years adventuring on the open road. On one of these trips, at the age of 14, he was charged with vagrancy and sentenced to a Georgia chain gang, from which he escaped. Working a wide variety of jobs (including ghostwriter for astrologist Carroll Righter), Mitchum discovered acting in a Long Beach, California amateur theatre company. He worked at Lockheed Aircraft, where job stress caused him to suffer temporary blindness. About this time, he began to obtain small roles in films, appearing in dozens within a very brief time. In 1945, he was cast as Lt. Walker in The Story of G.I. Joe, and received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor. His star ascended rapidly, and he became an icon of Forties film noir, though equally adept at Westerns and romantic dramas. His apparently lazy style and seen-it-all demeanor proved highly attractive to men and women, and by the 1950s he was a true superstar. This despite a brief prison term for marijuana usage in 1949, which seemed to enhance rather than diminish his "bad boy" appeal. Though seemingly dismissive of "art", he worked in tremendously artistically thoughtful projects such as Charles Laughton's Night of the Hunter, and even co wrote and composed an oratorio produced at the Hollywood Bowl by Orson Welles. A master of accents and seemingly unconcerned about his star image, he played in both forgettable and unforgettable films with unswerving nonchalance, leading many to overlook the prodigious talent he can bring to a project which he finds compelling. He moved into television in the Eighties as his film opportunities diminished, winning new fans with "The Winds of War" and "War and Remembrance". His sons James Mitchum and Christopher Mitchum are actors, as is his grandson Bentley Mitchum.