Slim Pickens Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Kingsburg, California, USA
Died in Modesto, California, USA  (brain tumor)
Birth NameLouis Berton Lindley Jr.
Height 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Slim Pickens spent the early part of his career as a real cowboy and the latter part playing cowboys, and he is best remembered for a single "cowboy" image: that of bomber pilot Maj. "King" Kong waving his cowboy hat rodeo-style as he rides a nuclear bomb onto its target in the great black comedy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Born in Kingsburg, near Fresno in California's Central Valley, he spent much of his boyhood in nearby Hanford, where he began rodeoing at the age of 12. Over the next two decades he toured the country on the rodeo circuit, becoming a highly-paid and well-respected rodeo clown, a job that entailed enormous danger. In 1950, at the age of 31, Slim married Margaret Elizabeth Harmon and that same year he was given a role in a western, Rocky Mountain (1950). He quickly found a niche in both comic and villainous roles in that genre. With his hoarse voice and pronounced western twang, he was not always easy to cast outside the genre, but when he was, as in "Dr. Strangelove", the results were often memorable. He died in 1983 after a long and courageous battle against a brain tumor. He was survived by his wife Margaret and children.

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

Family (2)

Spouse Margaret Elizabeth Harmon (22 March 1950 - 8 December 1983)  (his death)  (3 children)
Parents Louis Bert Lindley, Sr.
Sallie Mosher Turk

Trade Mark (4)

Often acted in post-modern Westerns or parodies of Westerns
Tall, paunchy frame almost invariably in a cowboy hat and rodeo-style clothes
His loud, proud and somewhat crude Southern characters
High-pitched, raspy voice with southern drawl.

Trivia (14)

Best remembered as Major "King" Kong, the United States Air Force B-52 pilot assigned to drop an A-bomb on Russia in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964).
Before becoming an actor, he was riding on the rodeo circuit. Someone told him that he should take up another line of work because all he would ever get in the rodeo was "Slim Pickin's.".
Brother of Easy Pickens.
Dedicatee of Howard Waldrop's story "Night of the Cooters," whose protagonist is Sheriff Bert Lindley.
He explained how he got into the rodeo business: "Well, there was this big, lanky, 15-year-old California ranch kid, and he went into the rodeo manager's office and said, 'Mister, I want to sign up for the calf-roping but my paw says I ain't allowed to. So I can't use my right name'. And the manager said, 'Son, no matter what name you use, it'll be slim pickin's out there today'. So the boy said, 'That's as good a name as any, I reckon-put me down as Slim Pickin's'. The manager spelled it 'Pickens' and the boy won $400 that afternoon".
Was Stanley Kubrick's first choice to play the role of Dick Hollaran in The Shining (1980). Pickens declined, saying that after enduring Kubrick's notorious style of multiple retakes in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), he had no desire to work for him again. Subsequently, the role of Hollaran went to Scatman Crothers.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1982.
When he showed up on the set of Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) fully dressed as a cowboy and speaking in a thick Southern accent, the British crew thought he was "Method" acting, not knowing that this was how he always dressed and acted.
Bareback bronc rider; saddle bronc rider; rodeo clown and bullfighter.
Inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame of the Rodeo Historical Society (a support group of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum) in 1986.
Inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall Of Fame (2005).
Although he was known for his heavy Southern drawl, leading many to believe he was from Texas or Oklahoma, he was actually born in Kingsburg, CA--not far from Fresno--and raised in California's San Joaquin Valley.
Peter Sellers was originally going to ride the atom bomb in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964). Slim got a phone call late one evening from Stanley Kubrick: "Peter has fallen and broken his hip, I need you for a day's shoot--I need you bad and I need you now. How soon can you get on a plane and make it to London?". Slim obliged and in his haste forgot that he didn't have a passport because he had never traveled outside the US before. His entrance was delayed while he had to go through the process of getting one before he was allowed to leave the airport.
He appeared in three films which have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: One-Eyed Jacks (1961), Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) and Blazing Saddles (1974).

Personal Quotes (2)

After [Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)], the roles, the dressing rooms and the checks all started gettin' bigger.
[In a 1967 interview, about appearing on Bonanza (1959)] . . . had to wear lifts . . . I'm 6'3" but alongside Dan Blocker I guess they thought I looked like Mickey Rooney.

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