Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Trivia (10)  | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (3)

Born in Andrews, West Texas, USA
Died in Houston, Texas, USA
Birth NameGlenn Irwin Pinnell

Mini Bio (1)

Independent filmmaker Eagle Pennell was born Glenn Irwin Pinnell on July 28, 1952 in Andrews, West Texas. Eagle grew up in College Station, Texas. His father Charles taught civil engineering at Texas A&M University. Pennell first developed an interest in cinema as a teenager and used a Super 8 camera to shoot comedy skits performed by his sisters. Following graduation from Texas A&M Consolidated High School, Eagle attended the University of Texas in Austin as a film, radio, and television major prior to dropping out in his junior year in 1973. Pennell went on to wok for a company that produced highlights of Southwest Conference football games and co-organized Austin's first film festival in 1975.

Eagle first dipped his toes in the cinematic narrative waters with the short A Hell of a Note (1977), which premiered at the Dobie theater in Austin in 1977. This was followed by Pennell's debut feature length picture The Whole Shootin' Match (1978). The Whole Shootin' Match (1978) elicited lots of praise at the USA Film Festival in Salt Lake City and subsequently inspired Robert Redford to start the Sundance Film Festival as well as won Eagle a development deal at Universal in Hollywood that ultimately failed to pan out. After spending two abortive years in Hollywood, Pennell returned to Texas in 1980 and settled in Houston. His second movie Last Night at the Alamo (1983) not only proved to be a critical success at both the New York Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, but also received a glowing review from Roger Ebert. His next film Ice House (1989) was his first and only director for hire project. He returned to his independent roots with Heart Full of Soul (1990) and Doc's Full Service (1994), with the latter proving to his last movie. Alas, Eagle's problems with alcoholism curtailed his ability to get any further film projects off the ground: He spent the bulk out the 1990's in and out of rehab centers and was once even spotted wandering homeless in Houston waving signs at motorists requesting either a rich woman or a cold beer. Pennell died at age 49 on July 20, 2002 in Houston, Texas.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: woodyanders

Trivia (10)

Changed name as a tribute to Arthur Penn, and Lt. Ross Pennel, from "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon". Battled alcoholism for much of his life, and at one time lived on the streets of Houston. Worked on the production crew of "Texas Chainsaw Massacre".
Attended the University of Texas.
Robert Redford said he was inspired by Pennell's work to create the Sundance Institute.
Graduated A&M Consolidated High School, then attended the University of Texas, but dropped out to do film work around Austin.
Reportedly changed the spelling of his last name (from Pinnell to Pennell) as both a tribute to director Arthur Penn and an homage to Lieutenant Ross Pennell, a character in John Ford's western "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon."
Buried in College Station Cemetery, College Station, Texas.
Had a grant from ITS (Independent Television Service) to develop a script from his treatment "My Dog Bit Elvis" at the time of his death. It would have been his first film since 1994.
He best films were affectionate character studies about hapless blue-collar Texans.
At the time he made his best films the distribution system for independent movies did not exist, leaving most of his films unseen except by festival audiences.
Older brother of Chuck Pinnell.

Personal Quotes (3)

[from a newspaper article in 1978] All people are asking for is "show me something new and different; be honest with me." And I believe very strongly in regional film. Hollywood is becoming very monotonous. I have ambivalent feelings toward Hollywood. There are not many films coming out of Hollywood that are serious or deal with real life. More often it's just the same old entertainment grind. They have a backwards system out there. The film is the last thing thought of; they start out with deals. In order to make good films, somebody has to have a vision of the project from the start and carry it through. With the exception of Spielberg [Steven Spielberg] and a few others, no one has that power.
[on Hollywood] Everything is commercially driven there. Either you play by Hollywood's standards or you don't play at all.
[from a newspaper profile in 1995] I've made tons of mistakes. My saving grace is I believe in what I've done.

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