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Robert Mitchum: Frequently Asked Questions

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Updated December 20, 2011

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  1. Is my favorite Mitchum movie on DVD?
    Check this list of his films: The ones that are on DVD or Blu-Ray have links to where you can buy them.

  2. OK, the movie I'm looking for isn't available. What now?
    Your best best to catch out of print movies is to look for them on cable TV such as TCM. Most stations take requests from viewers. The movie studios are gradually releasing older films, so the movie you're seeking may be available soon. Or you can try your luck with old videos on eBay.

  3. Did Mitchum ever win an Oscar?
    No, he never did. He was nominated only once, for The Story of G.I. Joe. The Academy also missed its chance to give him an honorary Oscar during his lifetime.

    (At right): Mitchum, flanked by wife Dorothy and daughter Petrine, accepting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1984. (Photo from People magazine).

  4. Does Mitchum have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame?
    Yes, he left his mark on Hollywood in 1984, when The Winds of War put him back in the public eye. The star dedication ceremony was held on January 16, 1984. It's located at 6240 Hollywood Boulevard, across the street from the Pantages Theater. (See a photo of the star).

  5. How many times was Mitchum married?
    Only once, to Dorothy Spence. She was at his bedside when he died. They had been married for 57 years, and separated only twice. They had two sons together, Jim and Chris, who both acted, and a daughter, Petrine.

  6. Was Mitchum deodorant named after Robert Mitchum?
    Although its campaign, "For those who perspire heavily" appealed to manly men and aspiring Mitchums, Robert never endorsed the deodorant. It's a wonder he never sued.

  7. Was Mitchum ever in a science fiction movie?
    No, he never went the route of Kirk Douglas in Saturn 3, thank goodness! He also managed to avoid appearing in any of those 1970s disaster movies, unlike many of his contemporaries like William Holden.

  8. Mitchum played a lot of villains. Did he ever play a cop?
    Yes, in the forgettable The Racket in which he goes up against gangster Robert Ryan. In a nicely realized casting in-joke, Mitchum and Gregory Peck traded "good" and "evil" hats in the Martin Scorsese remake of Cape Fear. In the original Mitchum had been a sadistic ex-felon, in the remake, he was a rule-bending cop. Peck had been an upstanding attorney and family man, in the remake, he is a sleazy lawyer employed by the new Max Cady, Robert DeNiro.

  9. How many movies did Mitchum make?
    More than 170, including made-for-TV movies and The Winds of War and War and Remembrance miniseries. Counting only theatrical films, the number is over 120.

  10. Of the movies Mitchum made, which was his favorite?
    He usually named Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison. It marked the first time he worked with his favorite co-star, Deborah Kerr, and he and director John Huston got along like a house on fire.

  11. What was Mitchum's least favorite film?
    He cited Track of the Cat, due to harsh filming conditions in the snow. He also complained of the dusty, sheep-laden setting of The Sundowners. Not that his favorite film was a walk in the park: during the making of Mr. Allison, Mitchum was nearly dragged out to sea by a giant tortoise, and succeeded in scraping off several layers of skin from his chest as he slid down a palm tree.

  12. How tall was Mitchum?
    6'1" according to one bio, but 6'0" according to his driver's license.

  13. What color were Mitchum's eyes?
    Some sources say brown, although at least one person who met him insists they were blue. According to a driver's license of Mitchum's, his eyes were actually hazel. So the jury's still out on this question!

  14. Does Mitchum still have a fan club?
    In the 1940s, there were the "Mitchum Droolettes," a fan club created by the studio. The Droolettes even showed up to visit Mitchum in jail. There's no official fan club I know of, but you can join the Mitchum e-mail discussion group.

  15. What was Mitchum's ancestry?
    Bob's dad James was Scotch-Irish on his father's side and full-blooded Blackfoot on his mother's side. Bob's mother was Norwegian.

  16. I've read Mitchum was rejected for the US Army. Is that true?
    No, Mitchum wasn't rejected for the Army. Because he was a father, he received a deferment until 1945. Then he was drafted into the Army, but never saw any action and only made it to the rank of Private, First Class. He reportedly hated being in the military. No surprise, there. His time in the service aptly fell after the making of The Story of G.I. Joe and before the film's release. Ironically, he may be best known to the general public for his military films such as The Longest Day and The Winds of War miniseries.

  17. Where did Mitchum undergo basic training and where did he eventually serve?
    According to biographer Lee Server, Mitchum did his basic training at Camp Roberts, near Paso Robles, CA., and served at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, CA. For more info, see "Military Links" on the links page.

  18. Where is Mitchum buried?
    Mitchum does not have a final resting place, as such. He was cremated, and asked that his ashes be scattered at sea. Some wags, noting Mitchum's hard-drinking reputation, joked that he'd asked to be scattered over Seagram's instead of over the sea. Here's a news story (courtesy of the Internet Archive) about the scattering of his ashes.

  19. Where was Robert Mitchum born? I'm from South Carolina and I've always been told that he came from Hellhole Swamp area down below Monks Corner, SC. Is this true?
    Mitchum was born in Bridgeport, CT in 1917. His father was killed in a railroad accident in Charleston, SC. in 1919. Apparently, the rest of the family was living in Florida at the time, and then relocated to Connecticut. Mitchum did ride the rails around the country during the Depression, so he may have passed through South Carolina. You may be thinking of his time spent in Georgia: he was put on a Georgia chain gang (from which he escaped) when he was 15. He didn't go back until he had to film Cape Fear there in 1962.

    It's true that Mitchum slipped easily into a Southern drawl for Cape Fear (actually set in North Carolina) and other roles. More Mitchum films set in the south: She Couldn't Say No, set in Arkansas; The Night of the Hunter, set in West Virginia; Thunder Road, set in Harlan County, Kentucky; and the remake of Cape Fear, set in New Essex, Georgia.