IMDb > Melvin and Howard (1980)
Melvin and Howard
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Melvin and Howard (1980) More at IMDbPro »

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Melvin and Howard -- The story of hard-luck Melvin Dummar, who claimed to have received a will naming him an heir to the fortune of Howard Hughes.


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6.9/10   3,649 votes »
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Up 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Bo Goldman (written by)
View company contact information for Melvin and Howard on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 September 1980 (USA) See more »
Poor Melvin. All he wanted was to be Milkman of the Month. Instead, he lost his job, his truck, and his wife. Then Howard Hughes left him $156,000,000. See more »
The story of hard-luck Melvin E. Dummar, who claimed to have received a will naming him an heir to the fortune of Howard Hughes. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Won 2 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Wistful film is so lovely it is almost a fluke... See more (36 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jason Robards ... Howard Hughes

Paul Le Mat ... Melvin Dummar
Elizabeth Cheshire ... Darcy Dummar

Mary Steenburgen ... Lynda Dummar
Chip Taylor ... Clark Taylor
Melvin E. Dummar ... Bus Depot Counterman

Michael J. Pollard ... Little Red

Denise Galik ... Lucy
Gene Borkan ... Go-Go Club Owner #1
Lesley Margret Burton ... Go-Go Dancer
Wendy Lee Couch ... Go-Go Dancer
Marguerite Baierski ... Go-Go Dancer
Janice King ... Go-Go Dancer
Deborah Ann Klein ... Go-Go Dancer
Theodora Thomas ... Go-Go Dancer

Gloria Grahame ... Mrs. Sisk
Elise Hudson ... Rocky - Easy Street Singer
Robert Ridgely ... Wally 'Mr. Love' Williams

Susan Peretz ... Chapel Owner
Robert Wentz ... Justice of the Peace
Hal Marshall ... Hal
Naida Reynolds ... Woman Witness

Herbie Faye ... Man Witness

Charles Napier ... Ventura
Jack Kehoe ... Jim Delgado

Pamela Reed ... Bonnie Dummar

Sonny Carl Davis ... Milkman George (as Sonny Davis)
Brendan Kelly ... Milkman Ralph
Danny Tucker ... Milkman Pete
Shirley Washington ... Patient Debbie

Cheryl Smith ... Patient Ronnie
Jason Ball ... The Bait Brothers
Darrell Devlin ... The Bait Brothers
Danny Dark ... Easy Street Announcer
Linda Cardoso ... Easy Street Model
Melissa Prophet ... Easy Street Model
Garrie Kelly ... Easy Street Model
John Thundercloud ... Chief Thundercloud

Martine Beswick ... Realty Agent (as Martine Beswicke)

Charlene Holt ... Mrs. Worth
Melissa Williams ... Sherry Dummar
Antony Alda ... Terry
James Lyle Strong ... Gas Station Customer

Rick Lenz ... Lawyer

Gary Goetzman ... Melvin's Cousin Fred
John Levin ... Reporter (as John M. Levin)
Kathleen Sullivan ... Reporter
Jack Verbois ... Holdup Man

Rob Reece ... Lynda's Husband (as Robert Reece)

Joseph Ragno ... Maxwell - Attorney #1

John Glover ... Freese - Attorney #2
Joseph Walker Jr. ... Attorney #3

Dabney Coleman ... Judge Keith Hayes
Charles Horden ... Bailiff
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert S. Holman ... Bus Station Traveler (uncredited)

Joe Spinell ... Go-Go Club Owner #2 (uncredited)

Tom Willett ... Kissing Cowboy (uncredited)

Directed by
Jonathan Demme 
Writing credits
Bo Goldman (written by)

Produced by
Art Linson .... producer
Terence Nelson .... associate producer
Don Phillips .... producer
Original Music by
Bruce Langhorne 
Cinematography by
Tak Fujimoto 
Film Editing by
Craig McKay 
Casting by
Michael Chinich 
Production Design by
Toby Carr Rafelson  (as Toby Rafelson)
Art Direction by
Richard Sawyer 
Set Decoration by
Robert Gould  (as Bob Gould)
Makeup Department
Dorothy J. Pearl .... makeup artist (as Dorothy Pearl)
Toni-Ann Walker .... hair stylist (as Toni Walker)
Production Management
Terence Nelson .... unit production manager (as Terry Nelson)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Donald Heitzer .... first assistant director (as Don Heitzer)
Evelyn Purcell .... second unit director
Carol Smetana .... second assistant director (as Carol Jean Smetana)
Wally Wallace .... second assistant director
Art Department
Gary Fettis .... property master
Walt Hadfield .... construction coordinator (as Walton Hatfield)
Donald Krafft .... lead man (as Don Krafft)
Douglas E. Madison .... property master (as Doug Madison)
Bert Rotter .... painter
John Alvin .... poster artist (uncredited)
Sound Department
Joan Cameron .... assistant sound editor
Louis Cerborino .... supervising sound editor (as Lou Cerborino)
Angelo Corrao .... sound editor
Tom Fleischman .... sound re-recordist (as Thomas Fleischman)
Peter C. Frank .... sound editor
Cindy Kaplan Rooney .... sound (as Cindy Kaplan)
David M. Ronne .... sound (as David Ronne)
William S. Scharf .... assistant sound editor (as Bill Scharf)
Maurice Schell .... sound editor
John B. Schuyler .... boom operator (as John Schuyler)
Marc S. Shaw .... assistant sound editor
Special Effects by
Karl G. Miller .... special effects (as Karl Miller)
Richard E. Butler .... stunts
Jeannie Epper .... stunts
Donna Garrett .... stunts
Bob Herron .... stunts (as Robert Herron)
Alex Plasschaert .... stunts
Walter Robles .... stunts
Bob Terhune .... stunts
Chuck Waters .... stunts
Henry Wills .... stunts (as Henry N. Wills)
Camera and Electrical Department
Eugene Earle .... assistant camera
Tony Grillo .... electrician
Dustin A. Huber .... electrician (as Dusty Huber)
Gary B. Kibbe .... camera operator (as Gary Kibbe)
Tom Lamont .... grip
Elliott Marks .... still photographer (as Elliot Marks)
Melton Maxwell .... gaffer (as Mel Maxwell)
David Morton .... best boy (as Dave Morton)
Keith Pallant .... electrician
Anthony R. Palmieri .... assistant camera (as Tony Palmieri)
Tom Ramsey .... key grip
Dwayne Redlin .... second grip
George R. Schrader .... dolly grip (as George Schrader)
Dick Sullivan .... grip
Pat Thompson .... electrician
Howard Block .... additional camera operator (uncredited)
Michael Simpson .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Casting Department
Loril McKeehan .... additional casting
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eddie Marks .... costume supervisor
Nancy McArdle .... costume supervisor
Chuck Velasco .... costumer: men (as Charles Velasco)
Editorial Department
Nancy Kanter .... associate film editor
Karen I. Stern .... assistant film editor (as Karen Stern)
Location Management
Charles Howe .... location projectionist
Music Department
Rich Harrison .... music editor
Transportation Department
Vince del Castillo .... transportation captain
Tom Garris .... transportation captain
Chris Haynes .... driver
Don Newton .... transportation captain
Roger Wooge .... driver: cast (uncredited)
Other crew
Kay Hoff .... production assistant
Sandy McLeod .... production associate
Steve Meyers .... production assistant
Dorothy Morey .... secretary to producer (as Dottie Morey)
Susan Pile .... unit publicist
Jesse W. Quiroz .... craft service (as Jesse Quiroz)
Patti Roberts-Nelson .... secretary to producer (as Patti Roberts)
Sherry Seeling .... researcher
Paul Tinsley .... script supervisor
Calvin Aberle .... special thanks
Ron Bayless .... special thanks
Louis Bertini .... special thanks
Morgan Cavett .... special thanks
Roger Dutson .... special thanks
Jan Gregson .... special thanks
Keith Hayes .... special thanks (as Judge Keith Hayes)
Chuck House .... special thanks (as Charles House)
Bessie Jackson .... special thanks
J.J. Johnson .... special thanks
Richard D. Keefe .... special thanks
Dan Keyes .... special thanks
Annemarie Korzeniowski .... special thanks
Geraldine Roberts .... special thanks
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Melvin (and Howard)" - USA (poster title)
See more »
95 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The name of the television game show was "Easy Street". The real life TV game-shows that it was a fictional amalgam of were "The Gong Show" (1976) and "Let's Make a Deal" (1963). The amount of money that Lynda Dummar (Mary Steenburgen) won for tap-dancing to The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" on the show was US $10,000.See more »
Miscellaneous: The scene where Melvin and Linda are gambling in the casino, their young daughter is sitting with them. Minors are strictly forbidden in any casino gaming areas, especially next to the tables.See more »
Lynda Dummar:C'est la vie.
Melvin Dummar:What's that?
Lynda Dummar:French, Melvin. I used to dream of becoming a French interpreter.
Melvin Dummar:You don't speak French.
Lynda Dummar:I told you it was only a dream.
See more »
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12 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
Wistful film is so lovely it is almost a fluke..., 19 October 2006
Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv

Winning combination of scattershot comedy and wry, wistful drama tells the (alleged) true story of a milkman with big dreams and no money who is curiously named a recipient in the will of multi-millionaire Howard Hughes. Melvin Dummar (played by Paul LeMat, in a terrific performance) had been saying all along he once helped out an old guy in the desert near Las Vegas who claimed he was Hughes, but Dummar didn't really believe him (they had a nice chat anyway, and Melvin got Howard to sing one of his self-written novelty songs as well as "Bye Bye Blackbird"). Good-natured film directed by Jonathan Demme rarely loses its way, and features an endearing collection of screwballs who make the loopy craziness of the situations and dialogue immediate and real--their eccentricities are the roots of the story. Mary Steenburgen won a Supporting Oscar as Dummar's first wife, a dreamer like Melvin who is far less satisfied with struggling and who just wants to amount to something (but to Melvin, the struggles are the best part). Jason Robards is perfect as Hughes; the normally bombastic actor takes a small role and lets it bloom subtly and beautifully for us, giving the movie a misty hue and making all of Melvin's hopes sweetly credible. ***1/2 from ****

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