Robert Mitchum

Robert Mitchum


8/6/1917, Bridgeport, Connecticut



Birth Name

Robert Charles Durman Mitchum



Also Known As

Bob Mitchum
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User Rating
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Underrated leading man who frequently buried his talent beneath an air of disinterest. Most remembered for his roles in the film noir genre of the late 1940's and early 1950's. Mitchum led a colorful life before entering movies and this continued with a marijuana conviction in 1948. If…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Asked (reported variously to be by everyone from unnamed English writer to by actor George Peppard) whether he followed the Stanislavski method of acting, Mitchum responded, "I follow the Smirnoff method."

    • When, on August 31, 1948, police busting Mitchum for intent to possess marijuana asked him his occupation, the pessimistic answer came: "Former actor."

    • Mitchum replaced Edward Woodward (not as Woodward's character, Robert McCall, the Equalizer, though) in two episodes of The Equalizer after the star of the CBS series was felled by a heart attack. Woodward recovered and resumed the title role.

    • In 1939, Orson Welles presented, at the Hollywood Bowl, an oratorio Mitchum had written for Jewish refugees.

    • Mitchum hated working for Lockheed Aircraft. Coming home from the graveyard shift one morning, he found he couldn't see. Doctors he consulted told him nothing was wrong... until one advised him that his blindness just might be related to the fact that he was functioning virtually without sleep. Mitchum hated his job so much that he couldn't sleep because he would just have to wake up and go to work again! The doctor advised him to quit his job. Mitchum did... and took up acting instead.

    • Mitchum turned down one of the lead roles in The Defiant Ones because he felt the premise of a black man chained to a white man on a Southern chain gang was inaccurate and would never happen on real life chain gangs. Tony Curtis got the role instead.

    • Mitchum twice appeared as the Mystery Guest on episodes of What's My Line?

    • Mitchum's granddaughter, Carrie, was once a regular on the CBS daytime soap The Bold and the Beautiful.

    • Veteran horror star Lon Chaney, Jr. played Mitchum's father in 1954's Not as a Stranger even though Chaney was only 11 years older than Mitchum in real life.

    • Mitchum was one of the few celebrities in the 1960's who came out in support of the Vietnam War.

    • Mitchum was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea by wife Dorothy and family friend Jane Russell. No memorial service was held at Mitchum's insistence.

    • Politically, Mitchum was a Republican. He addressed the Republican convention in 1992.

    • Mitchum was treated for alcholism at the Betty Ford Center in 1984.

    • Mitchum was voted the 61st Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly magazine.

    • Mitchum stood 6 feet 1 inch tall.

    • Mitchum was the original narrator of the Beef--It's What's for Dinner commercials.

    • Mitchum's step-father was a former British Army major.

    • Mitchum appeared briefly as real life Admiral William F. "Bull" Halsey in the 1976 war drama Midway.

    • Mitchum played real life Brigadier General Norman Cota in the 1962 war epic The Longest Day.

    • In 1992, Mitchum received the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Golden Globes.

    • In 1991, Mitchum won a lifetime achievement award from the National Board of Review.

    • On television, Mitchum starred in two hugely successful mini-series in the 1980's: The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

    • Mitchum played private eye Phillip Marlowe in two movies: Farewell, My Lovely and The Big Sleep.

    • Mitchum co-starred with John Wayne in the 1966 western El Dorado.

    • Mitchum's real life son James played his much younger brother in the 1958 moonshining film Thunder Road.

    • Mitchum starred with Deborah Kerr in three films: The Sundowners, Reunion at Fairborough, and Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison.

    • Mitchum directed the child actors in Night of the Hunter because director Charles Laughton couldn't stand children.

    • Mitchum said that Charles Laughton, director of Night of the Hunter, was the best director he ever worked with.

    • In August of 1948, Mitchum was arrested for marijuana possession and sentenced to 60 days in jail. The conviction was later overturned.

    • Mitchum's only Academy Award nomination was for Best Supporting Actor in 1946 for The Story of G.I. Joe.

    • Mitchum worked with Marilyn Monroe's first husband, Jim Dougherty, in an aircraft factory during World War II. He would later star with Monroe in River of No Return.

    • Mitchum married Dorothy Spence in 1940. The marriage lasted until his death and produced three children: James, Christopher, and Petrine.

    • Mitchum's older sister Julie was a stage actress who convinced him to give theatre a try.

    • Mitchum claimed to have spent time on a Savannah, Georgia chain gang after being arrested for vagrancy.

    • Mitchum went to live with his grandparents in Delaware when he was 12 years old and promptly got expelled from school for fighting with the principal.

    • Mitchum's father died in a shipyard accident when he was 18 months old.

    • Robert's parents names were James Thomas and Ann Harriet Gunderson Mitchum. Jams was Irish on his mother's side and Blackfoot on his father's; Ann was a Norwegian sea captain's daughter.

    • Mitchum turned down the role of General George S. Patton because he didn't think he was a good enough actor for the part. He recommended George C. Scott to the producers.

    • Mitchum, by his own admission, once drank Screwdrivers by the pitcherful.

    • Mitchum's younger brother John was a character actor whose best known role was as Detective DiGiorgio in the Dirty Harry series.

    • MItchum's role as the sinister Max Cady in the 1962 film Cape Fear was played by Robert DeNiro in the 1991 remake in which Mitchum also had a small role.

    • MItchum's death in 1997 was overshadowed by the death the following day of Jimmy Stewart.

    • Robert Mitchum released two music albums in his career: Calypso Is Like So (1957) and That Man, Robert Mitchum, Sings (1967).

  • Quotes

    • Mitchum: I've survived because I work cheap and don't take up too much time.

    • Mitchum: Maybe love is like luck. You have to go all the way to find it.

    • Mitchum: Movies bore me especially my own.

    • Mitchum: People think I have an interesting walk. Hell, I'm just trying to hold my gut in.

    • Mitchum: There just isn't any pleasing some people. The trick is to stop trying.

    • Mitchum (about acting): It sure beats working.

    • Mitchum: I always thought I could do better. But you don't get to do better, you get to do more.

    • Mitchum: You know what the average Robert Mitchum fan is? He's full of warts and dandruff and he's probably got a hernia too, but he sees me up there on the screen and he thinks, if that bum can make it, I can be president.

    • Mitchum: [Jail is] like Palm Springs without the riff-raff.

    • Mitchum I think when producers have a part that's hard to cast, they say, "Send for Mitchum; he'll do anything." I don't care what I play; I'll play Polish gays, women, midgets, anything!

    • Mitchum: After the war, suddenly there was this thing for ugly heroes, so I started going around in profile.

    • Mitchum: Not that I'm a complete whore, understand. There are movies I won't do for any amount. I turned down Patton and I turned down Dirty Harry. Movies that **** on the world. If I've got five bucks in my pocket, I don't need to make money that ****ing way, Daddy.

    • Mitchum: This is not a tough job. You read a script. If you like the part and the money is O.K., you do it. Then you remember your lines. You show up on time. You do what the director tells you to do. When you finish, you rest and then go on to the next part. That's it.

    • Mitchum: Rumours? They're all true. Booze, broads. Make up some more if you want to.

    • Mitchum: Every two or three years, I knock off [acting] for a while. That way I'm always the new girl in the whorehouse.

    • Mitchum: I have two acting styles: with and without a horse.

    • Mitchum: Years ago, I saved up a million dollars from acting, a lot of money in those days, and I spent it all on a horse farm in Tucson. Now when I go down there, I look at that place and I realize my whole acting career adds up to a million dollars worth of horse****.

    • Mitchum (in the New York World-Telegram & Sun, August 15, 1959): I never take any notice of reviews — unless a critic has thought up some new way of describing me. That old one about my lizard eyes and anteater nose and the way I sleep my way through pictures is so hackneyed now.

    • Mitchum: When I drop dead and they rush to the drawer, there's going to be nothing in it but a note saying "later."

    • Mitchum: Listen, I got three expressions: looking left, looking right and looking straight ahead.

    • Mitchum: I've still got the same attitude I had when I started. I haven't changed anything but my underwear.

    • Mitchum: I started out to be a sex fiend but couldn't pass the physical.

    • Mitchum: I gave up being serious about making pictures years ago, around the time I made a film with Greer Garson and she took a hundred and twenty-five takes to say no.

    • Mitchum: The only difference between me and my fellow actors is [that] I've spent more time in jail.