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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (7) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 29 July 1916Chicago, Illinois, USA
Date of Death 29 November 2001Ramona, California, USA  (multiple organ failure)
Birth NameOscar Boetticher Jnr.
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Brilliant, distinguished American director, particularly of Westerns, whose simple, bleak style disguises a complex artistic temperament. The son of a wealthy hardware retailer, Boetticher attended Culver Military Academy and Ohio State University, where he excelled in football and boxing.

Following his schooling, Boetticher, something of an adventurer, went to Mexico transformed himself into a formidable professional matador. His school chum, Hal Roach Jr., used his film connections to get Boetticher minor jobs in the film industry, most importantly the job of technical adviser on the bullfighting romance Blood and Sand (1941). By studying the work of the film's director, Rouben Mamoulian, and from editor Barbara McLean, he gained a thorough grounding in filmmaking.

After an apprenticeship as a studio messenger and assistant director, he was given a chance to direct, first retakes of scenes from other directors' films, then his own low-budget projects. For producer John Wayne, Boetticher filmed his first prominent work, a fictionalization of his own experiences in Mexico, Bullfighter and the Lady (1951), although the work was re-edited without Boetticher's approval by his mentor, John Ford. (The director's cut was restored several decades later.)

Following a number of sprightly but inconsequential programmers in the early 1950s, Boetticher formed a partnership with actor Randolph Scott, which, with the participation of producer Harry Joe Brown and writer Burt Kennedy, led to a string of the most memorable Western films of 1950s, including Seven Men from Now (1956) and The Tall T (1957). He directed a sharp gangster film, The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (1960), then, with his wife, actress Debra Paget, left for Mexico to film a monumental documentary on famed matador Carlos Arruza.

The travail of the next seven years, which Boetticher detailed in his autobiography When In Disgrace, included near-fatal illness, divorce, incarceration in jails, hospitals, and an insane asylum, and the accidental deaths of Carlos Arruza and most of the film crew.

The film, Arruza (1972), was both an exquisite documentary and a testament to Boetticher's immutable drive. Though he returned to Hollywood to form a partnership with Audie Murphy, they completed only one film together before Murphy's death in 1971.

Since then, Boetticher had completed another documentary and had announced several feature films in preparation. He died at age 85.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Spouse (3)

Mary Chelde (1971 - 29 November 2001) (his death)
Debra Paget (28 March 1960 - 24 August 1961) (divorced)
Emily Erskine Cook (1946 - 1959) (divorced)

Trade Mark (4)

His Westerns are usually set in isolated locales
The hero in Boetticher films usually ends up with the leading lady only after the villain has killed her previous suitor, who is invariably weak and shady
Frequently depicts alliances between a "good guy" gunslinger and a more morally ambiguous one, who ultimately force the hero to kill them by the end
Almost all of his important films star 'Randolph Scott'

Trivia (7)

Children: daughters Georgia and Helen.
Attended Ohio State University.
Preferred to film his westerns around Lone Pine, California.
Biography in: John Wakeman, editor. "World Film Directors, Volume One, 1890-1945". Pages 32-37. New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1987.
When the Third Army under General George S. Patton got ahead of its supply lines during World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to send the Red Ball Express, the nickname of a transportation unit comprised of African-American troops to race ahead of the advancing American forces to catch up with and supply Patton's tank division. The unit became famous for overcoming tremendous odds, and sustaining severe casualties, to successfully supply Patton's forces, a feat memorialized in Boetticher's film Red Ball Express (1952). In 1979 Boetticher, at a symposium at UCLA, revealed that the U.S. Department of Defense pressured Universal Pictures--the film's producer--to alter its portrayal of the tense race relations that existed at the time and to emphasize an upbeat, positive spirit. Commenting on the studio's whitewashing of history, Boetticher said, "The army wouldn't let us tell the truth about the black troops because the government figured they were expendable. Our government didn't want to admit they were kamikaze pilots. They figured if one out of ten trucks got through, they'd save Patton and his tanks".
Interviewed in "The Director's Event: Interviews with Five American Filmmakers", by Eric Sherman and Martin Rubin.
In July 1951, Hollywood Reporter reported that Universal had set Budd Boetticher as director of Son of Ali Baba (1952), but replaced him with Kurt Neumann when Boetticher moved over to Bronco Buster (1952).

Personal Quotes (1)

The characters are more important to me than the ideas, because it's through the mind and the sayings and the actions of the characters that the ideas are born. I'm not concerned with what people stand for, I'm concerned with what they do about it.

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