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Cameron Mitchell Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (43) | Personal Quotes (25)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 4 November 1918Dallastown, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death 6 July 1994Pacific Palisades, California, USA  (lung cancer)
Birth NameCameron McDowell Mitzell
Nicknames Cam
Nutty
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Cameron Mitchell was the son of a minister, but chose a different path from his father. Prior to World War II, in which he served as an Air Force bombardier, Mitchell appeared on Broadway, and, in 1940, an experimental television broadcast, "The Passing of the Third Floor Back". He made his film debut in What Next, Corporal Hargrove? (1945), but continued with stage as well as film work. He gained early recognition for his portrayal of Happy in the stage and screen versions of "Death of a Salesman". Still, out of more than 300 film and TV appearances, he is probably best remembered for his work on The High Chaparral (1967) TV series in which he, as the happy-go-lucky Buck Cannon, and Henry Darrow, as Manolito Montoya, stole the show.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Kat Parsons <fke2d@Virginia.EDU>

Spouse (3)

Margaret Brock Johnson Mozingo (9 May 1973 - 19 November 1976) (annulled)
Lissa Jacobs Gertz (15 June 1957 - 23 February 1974) (divorced) (3 children)
Joanna Mitchell (17 August 1940 - 3 May 1960) (divorced) (4 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Appeared primarily in horror or thriller movies.
Thick Pennsylvanian Dutch accent.

Trivia (43)

Father of actor Cameron Mitchell Jr., who also goes by the name Cameron Mitchell, Jr.
Uncredited, he provided the voice of Jesus Christ in The Robe (1953), although another actor played the character.
Interviewed in Tom Weaver's book "Attack of the Monster Movie Makers" (McFarland & Co., 1994).
Was originally assigned to star in Seven Cities of Gold (1955).
Graduated from Greenwood High School in Millerstown, Pennsylvania, in 1936.
The Pennsylvania town in which he grew up, Millerstown, is near the state capital of Harrisburg.
Of Scotch, German and Irish descent.
Changed his name from Mitzell to Mitchell, because Lynn Fontane realized his real name sounded "a little bit too much like the Hun".
Best remembered by the public for his starring role as Uncle Buck Cannon on The High Chaparral (1967).
He had 12 hobbies: poker, golfing, family, animals, reading the Bible, fishing, traveling, playing basketball, soccer, philosophy, car racing and cooking.
His ex-The High Chaparral (1967) co-star, Henry Darrow, had a lot in common with Mitchell: both were very popular in high school, both began acting at an early age and both made a lot of westerns on their way to becoming stars.
When he came to New York, he had the thick Pennsylvania Dutch accent.
Before he was cast in producer David Dortort's The High Chaparral (1967), he had appeared in a short-lived TV series that had also been produced by Dortort.
Was producer David Dortort's first choice for the co-lead role, opposite Leif Erickson, in The High Chaparral (1967).
His son, Fred Mitchell, served as president of Intercontinental Packers, alongside Fred's mother and Cameron's first ex-wife, Johanna Mitchell, who served as Chairwoman of the Board in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Starred in his first movie when he was age 26.
Created the role of Happy Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" on Broadway, and also played the role in the film version (Death of a Salesman (1951)).
Remained good friends with Henry Darrow and Mark Slade, during and after The High Chaparral (1967).
Among the jobs he held before becoming an actor were dishwasher and theater usher.
Despite his divorce from Joanna Mitchell, he maintained close ties to Canada.
Prior to being cast in The High Chaparral (1967) he also appeared in an episode of Bonanza (1959); both series were produced by his good friend David Dortort.
Was the only The High Chaparral (1967) cast member to have appeared in more movies than series star Leif Erickson.
His parents, Charles & Kathryn Mitzell, were both ministers of the Reformed Lutheran Church.
His father, Charles Mitzel, died in 1975, he lived to be 77.
All of his children were raised in Canada.
His son, Fred Mitchell, passed away in 1998, just 4 years after the death of his father.
Was a heavy smoker.
Survived by 5 of six children, and 5 grandchildren.
Interred at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.
Served as a bombardier in the US Army Air Force during World War II.
While attending Greenwood High School, he pitched for his baseball team well enough to attract offers from several major-league teams.
His son Fred's company, Mitchell Gourmet Foods, still operates out of Saskatoon, Canada, but is now owned by Maple Leaf Foods.
Began his career as a contract player for MGM in 1945.
Before he was a successful actor, he worked alongside another young unfamiliar actor, Gregory Peck, as a page at Radio City in New York City.
His 3 children had followed in his father's footsteps - they all became actors.
Reconciled with Camille Janclaire, just before his death.
When he was a senior in high school his father wanted him to be a minister, but he decided to become an actor instead.
Attended the Theater School of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
Grandfather of Charles Joseph Mitchell.
Was the fourth of seven children.
Once did a pilot with Henry Darrow, before he worked with him on The High Chaparral (1967).
Grandfather of actress Jinjara Mitchell.

Personal Quotes (25)

All the men in our family as far back as I cam remember were ministers. We had a corner on the market. It just figured that I would follow along.
I like to play things for real, and we Americans kid ourselves a lot about other people. I was in Europe for 10 years making movies, many of them behind the Iron Curtain, and those people over there are miserable, but the Commie leaders told them it's because of Yankee imperialism. If we'd pull out of Vietnam right now, that argument would collapse and the Commies with it. I wish just one of our presidential candidates had the sense to see that.
[1958, when replacing an ill actor in the York Little Theater's production of "Inherit the Wind"] It's a great part, just right for my father, but not for me.
[upon being released from jail for not paying his alimony on time] This comes like a shot out of the blue. I don't know if she wants to slowly kill me, you know, privately and professionally, I just don't know; but I'm not bitter.
[In 1961] I have to live too. 40% for her [his ex-wife], 10% to an agent, 5% to a manager and on and on. It all comes to about 128%.
[In 1973, after he married a widow] I love her very much. She's a real Southern belle, so much so that she reminds me of Scarlett O'Hara. I'm very much in love with her.
What people forget is that a professional actor works hard at his job; even when a vehicle is terrible an actor can be good, though the public may not give him credit.
[In 1974] I have only $26 in two bank accounts despite receiving $200,000 in movie residuals during the last two years.
[In 1975] Still, I like to act, because I don't like myself very much, and acting is an escape.
[Of his globe-trotting lifestyle] I feel like Willy Loman, because I'm always packing my suitcases. I don't think anybody's traveled more than I have.
[About his taste in movies] Many years ago I liked every picture--and today, I don't like any!
[about why he doesn't bet on golf games, though he is an inveterate gambler] I like to bet the dogs, but I enjoy golf too much to spoil it with gambling.
[In 1970, about his golf game] I was playing badly and when I asked my partner for help in selecting a club for that par-three, he cracked, "The way you're hitting it, you might as well use a putter". I retorted that I could get it at least hole high with a putter and he said he'd give me $50 if I could.
[In 1968] I was almost mobbed when I went into the black compound. All those lousy movies I made in Europe were the only ones those poor people could afford to see. I was a big star to them.
I must admit that I rather enjoyed the laughter.
[about making westerns] I guess Gallant Bess (1946) was my first western. The horse in that film was remarkable. She knew a couple hundred verbal commands.
[about the popularity of his character, the 50-something Buck Cannon, on The High Chaparral (1967)] You should see the letters I get. A mother asked me for some pictures of Buck which she's going to mount against a background of other western stuff and give to her son for his graduation gift. I got a 47-page letter from a 65-year-old gal in Pittsburgh who thinks I'm the greatest thing on her TV set. These things move me. When a person believes something, you've got to take him seriously.
I ride Prince, an 11-year-old bay. He's a smart horse--smart enough to occasionally get impatient with all the fooling around required when filming. He can steal a scene, too. I'll be doing dialogue and he'll come up and nibble my sleeve or rub his head.
[Of his role on The High Chaparral (1967)] Here in Hollywood it's another Bonanza (1959), but just alone out there in the desert, you have a feeling you're doing something that really happened to somebody 100 years ago.
[In 1969] They are not used to this sun. They are so keen to see us that they forget. They're not even dressed properly. Every weekend during the summer season there's an average of 25 people who collapse as they watch.
[In 1994] That was from the play "Liliom" by Ferenc Molnar. Originally Frank Sinatra was supposed to play the lead part in that, and we were all on location in Boothbay Harbor, Maine--beautiful place. Frank and I had left California on a Thursday, and on Sunday Frank quit. But we had prerecorded all of his songs, including a duet with me! It was a comedy number and we had a long sustained note, and I was nervous about it because I'm no singer, and I had heard that Frank only did things one time.
I don't like gore pictures, I won't see them. I make them, but I don't have to look at them.
[about his passion for golf] I've played the game for years. My real problem is that I'm a compulsive club buyer. I've got a real collection. In fact, I've got more than 100 clubs in my hotel room right now. You think I don't catch the devil from my wife, having those things scattered all over the place?
[While playing Buck Cannon, he discussed about the bad grammar he was using]: I said yes, it did. These cowhands, most of them were illiterate and when you showed them a watch they weren't too sure whether it was the big hand or the little one that told the hour.
[when asked if The High Chaparral (1967) was a "dirty" western] . . . NBC complained about [the dirt] at first . . . well, you ride for two hours in that stuff around Tucson and try not to look dirty. I'm that kind of a guy, anyway. I spill more things in real life than most people.

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