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Gene Evans Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (6) | Personal Quotes (6) | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Holbrook, Arizona, USA
Died in Jackson, Tennessee, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameEugene Barton Evans
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Gene Evans was born in Holbrook, Arizona, on July 11, 1922, and was raised in Colton, California. He served in the Army during World War II as a combat engineer, and was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for bravery in action. He began his acting career there, performing in a theatrical troupe of GIs in Europe. After the war, he went to Hollywood, where he made his film debut in 1947's Under Colorado Skies (1947). The rugged, red-headed character actor was a familiar face in such westerns as Cattle Queen of Montana (1954), The War Wagon (1967), Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969), The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970) and Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973). He also starred in the war films The Steel Helmet (1951) and Fixed Bayonets! (1951) and co-starred with future first lady Nancy Reagan (before she became Nancy Reagan) in Donovan's Brain (1953). His other major films include Park Row (1952), The Giant Behemoth (1959), Operation Petticoat (1959) and Walking Tall (1973). He became well known in the 1950s on television, playing the father in My Friend Flicka (1955). He remained active in films and television through the 1980s. Evans subsequently retired to a farm near Jackson, Tennessee. He was a popular guest at the Memphis Film Festival for the past decade.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Harris Lentz III

Trivia (6)

Although he often played tough, snarling sergeants, gunslingers or cops, in reality Evans had very poor eyesight and could barely see without his glasses. Only in Donovan's Brain (1953) did his character, a scientist, get to wear glasses, and Evans at the time remarked that it was a revelation for him to be able to actually see the actors he was working with.
Served in the US Army during World War II, during which he received a Purple Heart for wounds received in battle and a Bronze Star for bravery.
Gene's parents owned a neighborhood grocery store in Colton, CA. called Evans Market.
Right after The Steel Helmet (1951), was finished, director Samuel Fuller was flush with money. During a Christmas party at his house, invited guest Evans was certain he'd get something valuable. He was initially disappointed, though, that all he was given was the steel helmet with a bullet hole in it from the movie. Decades later film historian Arthur Knight staged a retrospective of Fuller's work at USC. Evans was invited to attend as a surprise guest unknown to Fuller. The two old friends had not seen each other for ten or 15 years at that point. When Evans returned the helmet to Fuller, the director was very touched and so moved that he couldn't even talk.
When director Samuel Fuller interviewed Evans for a part in The Steel Helmet (1951), the director had an M-1 carbine lying across his desk. Fuller threw the rifle at him and told him to "Rack it back," which he did. That was his audition, and Evans got the part.
Before Evans went to work on Samuel Fuller's Shock Corridor (1963), he got into a bar fight with a tough opponent. Evans claims he hit the guy as hard as he could but only succeeded in breaking his finger. When he reported to work with a splint, Fuller objected, so Evans did the picture without it, resulting in a permanently bent finger. Fuller reportedly said in appreciation, "Well, that's what you get for fooling around.".

Personal Quotes (6)

[on Samuel Fuller] Sammy was a funny guy to go around with. He could be in his own world; you know, in a fog about things other people found very normal.
[on Ace in the Hole (1951)] It was beautifully done, but did not do well because it turned people off.
I was never a movie star. A star's like the world champion, who fights once or twice a year because that's all he has to do. I was more like a club fighter, who had to fight at least once a month or he will starve to death.
When Steel Helmet came out with me in the leading role, Wilder bumped into me at the studio and said, 'You did it, you son of a gun - I knew you could or I never would have recommended you'.
There weren't a lot of redheaded people working in pictures. The cinematographers had a hell of a lot to say about things, and they liked guys with dark hair, eyes and skin because they photographed better in black-and-white ... But one night a guy came to the theatre and said, 'I like your work and think I can get you work in pictures'. I had a red beard and red hair, and Republic had just gone to Trucolor ... they needed a guy for the part of Red in Under Colorado Skies. It was a small part but I was paid $40 a day and I thought, 'Where has this been all my life?'
I never turned much down. At first I was serious about my work, then it came to me that unless you were working for one of the big studios you weren't going to win awards or be taken too seriously.

Salary (2)

The Steel Helmet (1951) $1,000
Fixed Bayonets! (1951) $2,500 /week

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