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Rodd Redwing Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (25)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 24 August 1904New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 30 May 1971Los Angeles, California, USA  (heart attack)

Mini Bio (1)

Roderic (Rodd) Redwing claimed to be a Chickasaw Indian, although recent data raises questions about his heritage. He was born on August 24, 1904 in New York City, New York, USA. His father, Ulysses Redwing, was a stage actor. He traveled with his family to England and attended London's Westminster Grammar School while they toured with a circus. His mother left the Chickasaw reservation in Oklahoma to study hair styling in New York City. She and her four sisters built up a chain of twenty-two beauty parlors from New York City to Miami. When they returned to New York he attended Herron High School in Hell's Kitchen, then graduated from New York University. He was a gifted athlete, excelling in football at both levels.

Redwing had stage credits in the 1920's on Broadway, i.e., "Bad Man" with Holbrook Blynn and "Queen of Sheba with Greta Wilson. During World War II he served in the U.S. Army as a lieutenant. All during his acting, stunt double, and technical advisor years to the movie and television industries he was a gunsmith with Stembridge Gun Rentals, the largest and best known firearms rental company in Hollywood. Realistic shooting scenes were pioneered by Redwing. He first showed the violent impact of a .45 Colt cartridge. While filming "Shane" (1953), Redwing attached wires to a chest harness worn by Elisha Cook, jerking him violently backward when he was shot down in the street by Jack Palance. He is known for his work on "The Ten Commandments" (1956), "The Mole People" (1956) and "Shelako" (1968). He had a publicity appearance at the Los Angeles Coliseum in the late 1950's as part of the first Los Angeles Dodgers baseball season. In 1961 he required abdominal surgery and half of his stomach was removed.

In 1959 he married German-born Ericka Rosa (Nicki) Wagner. He was only married once. His mother died on the Cherokee Reservation in Oklahoma, USA in 1953. He died on May 30, 1971 in Los Angeles, California, USA as he was returning from Spain to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). After being stricken with a heart attack in flight he succumbed thirty-five minutes later.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: SAGE STEPS

Spouse (1)

Ericka Rosa "Nicki" Wagner (30 March 1959 - 30 May 1971) (his death)

Trivia (25)

Native American actor, a member of the Chickasaw tribe.
Was a renowned fast-draw artist and taught six-gun lore to many television "cowboys" during the western heydays of the '50s and '60s. He was famous for his ability to draw his gun out of its holster and fire it in two-tenths of a second.
He coached Alan Ladd, Glenn Ford, Jerry Lewis, Henry Fonda, Clayton Moore, Ronald Reagan and many other film and TV cowboys in use of firearms for westerns. He was able to hit a target the size of a quarter at 20 feet.
In 1958 he designed the large loop rapid fire modification to the 1892 Winchester carbine used by Chuck Connors on The Rifleman (1958). Connors fired 12 shots in rapid succession, in part due to a set screw modification in the lever designed by Redwing.
In a nationally distributed UPI article Redwing contended that at least half a dozen Hollywood actors were faster on the draw than any legendary Western gunfighter. He claimed that the actual gunfighters were slow on the draw and usually shot their victims in the back by waiting in ambush. He added that they usually died the way they lived, shot in the back.
Those working with him marveled that he was not only good with a gun or knife, he was deadly with a tomahawk. Put up a playing card and he'd hit it right in the middle. He could do the same thing with a bow and arrow, and could hit an ace of hearts dead center from about 20 feet. This type of legendary lore as stated in his biography on Western Clippings at least in part was refuted in a 1964 United Press article that stated he could barely manipulate a bow and arrow and didn't own a feathered headdress. He said he preferred cowboy hats.
Kasey Rogers, a student of his, was timed in 1959 in the standard draw at six-tenths of a second. She became known as the top lady gunslinger in Hollywood, but never had a role that enabled her to demonstrate her skill.
In 1957 Jim Martin finished second in the Fancy Gun Handling competition in a Fast Draw contest. After the event Redwing took him aside and said the winner used two nickel-plated Colt guns, while Martin used two blue Colts. He said that the nickel-plated guns looked flashier and influenced the judges. Martin did his work so fast that the judges missed everything he did. Martin accepted the advice, changed guns, and soon after won his first championship.
Following the earning of his Bachelor's degree in history at New York University, he received an offer to teach history and coach football in Wheeling, WV, in 1929. Instead of the $125-a-month teaching salary he decided to perform at $125 a week in a New York stage play. "The Bad Man," and then was lured by Cecil B. DeMille to come to Hollywood and be a movie actor.
Late in his career he became a popular guest on television variety shows. On January 10, 1969, he appeared on The Donald O'Connor Show (1968). Also appearing as a guest on the program shortly before his tragic death in an airplane crash was retired undefeated world heavyweight champion boxer, Rocky Marciano.
It was handy that he worked all during his film and television career as a gunsmith for Hollywood's Stembridge Gun Rentals. Many movie producers hired him as a technical advisor to make sure they used the proper vintage firearms that met all the ordnance requirements for the westerns they were producing. He was quoted as saying, "If you put a 1900 gun in an 1870 western you're dead. Somebody will always spot it.".
In the summer of 1962 The Steve Allen Plymouth Show (1956) had a comedy routing featuring Redwing. To assist Allen's baby sitting duties with a two year old, he teaches "Uncle Stevie" trick shots.
A pair of 1873 Colt Model guns purchased in 1973 from his widow, Nicki, for $365 were sold at a gun auction in Nevada on November 2, 2012, for $1,250.
Glenn Ford trained with Rodd and Arvo Ojala for his starring role in The Fastest Gun Alive (1956).
Known widely as a trick shooter, he delighted in shooting Necco wafers out of the air with .22 LR single-action revolvers and Marlin lever-action rifles. His best known feat was holding a throwing knife at shoulder level with his right hand, throwing the knife at a target, and in the same hand motion draw an SA Colt revolver and fire a shot. The knife would stick in the edge of the bullet hole. Bob Argenbright, nationally known firearms and security expert and author of books on guns, stated in 2010 that Redwing had perfected a magic act to create this illusion, but admitted that "it required exceptional gun handling skill and hand speed to get that shot off before the knife stuck in the target, as well as being a skilled knife thrower.".
He performed the knife in the bullet hole stunt nationally on ABC's You Asked for It (1950), hosted by Art Baker, in the 1950s.
While on the set of Gunga Din (1939) in Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA, he was asked by director George Stevens if he could "Whip these guys into shape." Being also a military expert, Redwng took on the task of training 3,000 Hindus, Ghurkas and East Indians the military drills of their own nations. The moving of the regiments in the movie are considered classic to this day.
In 1967 he observed that men instinctively blinked their eyes when pulling the trigger, while a woman never bats a lash. When asked to explain why that is so he replied, "Quien sabe" (who knows?), "I think it's natural for a woman to keep her eyes open because she instinctively doesn't want to miss anything.".
On the February 2, 1958, CBS program What's My Line? (1950), hosted by John Daly, the four panelists--Arlene Francis, Jonathan Winters, Dorothy Kilgallen and Bennett Cerf--all failed to identify his line of work. In conversation with Mr. Daly at the conclusion of the game, Rodd said he was able to shoot in the center of something the size of a quarter at 20 feet in two-tenths of a second. Winters asked why Indians didn't make out better in the westerns and Rodd replied because the studios don't hire Indians to play Indians. There was no reply and Rodd rose and shook hands with each of the four panelists.
While on location for the Paramount film The Tin Star (1957) he was hired to stand guard over the cast and crew in the rattlesnake-infested California foothills.
He said in 1959 that the quickest learner of fast-draw techniques was Jerry Lewis. In 1961 Rodd teamed with director Edward Dmytryk on an original film, "Snap Happy," to star Lewis as a Civil War photographer and his exploits on and off the battlefield. The film was never produced.
Many Redwing exhibitions of virtuoso shooting, such as the 1963 National Walk-and-Draw Championship in Las Vegas, NV, were put on to support charitable causes, especially Indian causes, in particular the Los Angeles Indian Center. Redwing served as an early member of the Indian Center Board of Directors.
Jock Mahoney and Redwing were two of the last performers licensed to use live ammunition in shape shooting performances. Jock would stand against a board and hold a 12-inch balloon over a nickel wafer embedded in a steel backstop. Redwing would stand a distance away, draw his Colt and fire through the balloon into the nickel.
In the 1940 Movie Casting Directory, he is listed as Rodric Rajpurkaii.
According to the 1940 US Census, Rodrich (Rodd) Redwing was born in India in 1905 and married to Erika Redwing, born in Germany around 1912. Both were naturalized citizens living in Los Angeles, California. A later article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle said Redwing's real name was Roderick Rajpurkaii, Jr. (2 August 1949).

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