Actor Robert Mitchum is released after serving time for marijuana possession

Actor Robert Mitchum is released after serving time for marijuana possession


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Actor Robert Mitchum is released from a Los Angeles County prison farm after spending the final week of his two-month sentence for marijuana possession there.

In the fall of 1948, Mitchum, the star of classics such as Cape Fear and Night of the Hunter, was smoking a joint at a small party in the Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles when detectives burst in and arrested him. Mitchum reportedly said at the time, “Well, this is the bitter end of everything—my career,my marriage, everything.” In fact, it wasn’t really that bad. Mitchum was separated from his wife Dorothy at the time, but the two reconciled when she returned to support him through the scandal. And the public didn’t mind much either; Rachel and the Stranger, the first movie released after his troubles, was a box-office hit.

There is some reason to believe that Mitchum’s arrest was less than fair and designed to bring publicity to the Los Angeles Police Department’s anti-drug efforts. Although high-priced studio lawyers questioned irregularities in the case, it was later agreed that Mitchum would accept 60 days in jail and several years’ probation.

Mitchum died in July 1997.


Robert Mitchum

Robert Charles Durman Mitchum (August 6, 1917 – July 1, 1997) was an American actor, director, author, poet, composer, and singer. He rose to prominence for starring roles in several classic films noir, and his acting is generally considered a forerunner of the antiheroes prevalent in film during the 1950s and 1960s. His best-known films include Out of the Past (1947), River of No Return (1954), The Night of the Hunter (1955), Thunder Road (1958), Cape Fear (1962), El Dorado (1966), Ryan's Daughter (1970) and The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973). He is also known for his television role as U.S. Navy Captain Victor "Pug" Henry in the epic miniseries The Winds of War (1983) and sequel War and Remembrance (1988).

Mitchum was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Story of G.I. Joe (1945). He is rated number 23 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male stars of Classic American Cinema. [1]


Conţinut:

Actorul Robert Mitchum este eliberat dintr-o fermă de închisori din județul Los Angeles după ce a petrecut săptămâna finală a condamnării sale de două luni pentru posesia de marijuana acolo.

În toamna anului 1948, Mitchum, vedeta unor clasici precum Frica de Cape și Noaptea vanatorului, fuma o comună la o petrecere mică din zona Laurel Canyon din Los Angeles, când detectivi au izbucnit și l-au arestat. Se pare că Mitchum spunea la vremea respectivă: „Ei bine, acesta este sfârșitul amar al întregii mele cariere, a căsătoriei mele, a tot.” De fapt, nu a fost chiar atât de rău. Mitchum era despărțit de soția sa Dorothy la acea vreme, dar cei doi s-au împăcat când s-a întors să-l sprijine prin scandal. Și publicului nu i-a plăcut prea mult Rachel și Străinul, primul film lansat după necazurile sale, a fost un succes la box-office.

Există un motiv pentru a crede că arestarea lui Mitchum a fost mai puțin corectă și destinată să aducă publicitate eforturilor anti-drogurilor din cadrul Departamentului de poliție din Los Angeles. Deși avocații studenți cu prețuri ridicate au pus sub semnul întrebării neregulile în acest caz, s-a convenit ulterior că Mitchum va accepta 60 de zile de închisoare și de câțiva ani de probă.


Criminal Background Check

Robert Charles Durman Mitchum was a Hollywood actor, born in 1917, in Connecticut, and died in 1997, in California. Besides acting, he was known for being a director, author, poet, composer, and singer. He starred in many films and made classics in the film noir genre.

He has a ranking of 23 on the American Film Institute's list of the greatest male stars in Classic American Cinema. His mother was a Norwegian immigrant and his father was a shipyard and railroad worker of Irish background. His sister, Julie Mitchum, was an actor too.

Mitchum was less than two years old when his father died in a railyard accident. His mother married again. When Mitchum was just a boy, he was known as a mischievous prankster, and fistfights and foolhardiness were common occurrences. At 12, his mother sent him to live with her parents in Delaware. He was expelled from school there. Then he went to live with his older sister in Hell's Kitchen, New York. He was expelled from a school he was attending there as well.

After that, he traveled across America, hopping on and off railroad cars, doing odd jobs here and there. At 14, he was arrested for vagrancy and put on a local chain gang. He escaped, according to his own story, and went back to his family. Soon he hit the road again, till he finally reached California.


Career Highlights

When Mitchum got to Long Beach, California, he stayed with his sister, who was an aspiring actor then. Mitchum worked as a ghostwriter for astrologer Carroll Righter. After a while, his sister coaxed him into joining the local theater guild with her. Mitchum worked as a stagehand at the Players Guild of Long Beach.

He got bit parts from time to time, acting on stage. He also wrote many short pieces and acted in them for the guild. His sister worked at a nightclub and Mitchum honed his talent for the written word by writing song lyrics for her acts. In 1940, Mitchum went back to Delaware and married Dorothy Spence.

The couple moved to California and settled there. Mitchum had three children with Dorothy and found steady work at the Lockheed Aircraft Company during World War II. The sound of the heavy machinery rendered him deaf, and he also had a nervous breakdown. He left the company and tried his hand at acting, initially performing as an extra with insignificant speaking roles.

In 1945, he got a break when United Artists hired him to act in The Story of G.I. Joe. It was a hit at the box office, but shortly after the film shoot concluded, Mitchum was sent to the U.S. Army, serving as a medic at Fort MacArthur, California. His movie was nominated at the Oscars, with Mitchum being nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

After his stint in the army, a string of films followed - When Strangers Marry, Undercurrent, The Locket, Pursued, Crossfire, and Out of the Past are films that shot him to instant success. Many more followed these initial movies - the popular ones are Cape Fear, The Longest Day, Anzio and El Dorado. Mitchum won the Cecile B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes in the 90s.


Career Downfall

In the 1970s, Mitchum admitted that he was going through some personal problems, and wanted to commit suicide. His films were not well-received during this period. At this time, nonetheless, he was shooting for the soon-to-be Oscar-nominated Ryan's Daughter.

The movie was nominated for four awards and won two. After that, more movies were released, but Mitchum was slipping as a person, often getting into fights with reporters. He was very vocal and seemed to create controversy wherever he went.

The Story of the Crime

Robert Mitchum was a brilliant actor, sometimes given less credit than he was due. In 1948, after achieving great success with a series of movies, Robert Mitchum and Lila Leeds, another actor, were both arrested for marijuana possession. After a week in the county jail, Mitchum served a 43-day sentence at a prison farm in California.

Since it was part of a sting operation by the police, the conviction was overturned later. In later years, while intoxicated, Mitchum threw a basketball at a female reporter, knocking her teeth out - he faced a lawsuit to the tune of $30 million for damages. He died in 1997 and his ashes are scattered in the Pacific Ocean.


ROBERT MITCHUM, PT. I | A LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH HOLLYWOOD

“Bob Mitchum was one of the good guys. He was a smoker of cigarettes and cigars, a drinker of Irish and Scotch whisky in large quantities, and a smoker of hashish and sinsemilla marijuana joints the size of White Owl cigars. He did 2 months in jail in 1949 for smoking pot when the cops set him up through an informer. But he was a tough guy too, “rode the rails” as a boy, and was on a chain gang in Georgia at 14 for vagrancy, escaped, and later had 27 fights as a professional boxer. His sardonic comment on the California jail was: ‘It was just like Palm Springs — but without the riff-raff.'”

“He was born in 1919 and he died, of emphesyma and lung cancer, in 2001. How did this talented actor and hell-raiser survive for nearly eighty years? He must have had leather lungs, a cast-iron stomach and the metabolism of a uranium burner. Or somebody up there certainly liked him, and kept him going, with his jokes and his storytelling, his sense of humor and his sarcastic jabs at fellow actors.”

1955– Robert Mitchum in ‘The Night of the Hunter’ –Image by © Corbis. Many consider Robert Mitchum’s portrayal of Harry Powell (The Preacher) to be his finest. Based largely on the real-life murderer Harry Powers, AKA “the Bluebeard of Quiet Dell” who terrorized West Virginia back in the early 1930s. Convicted of killing a widow, her three children, and another widow– Powers was hanged to death on March 18, 1932, at the West Virginia Penitentiary.

“People think I have an interesting walk. Hell, I’m just trying to hold my gut in.”

–Robert Mitchum

“Not that you mind the killin’ — Your book is full of killin’. But there are things you do hate, Lord. Perfume-smellin’ things! Lacy things! Things with curly hair!” –The Preacher (Robert Mitchum)

“Every two or three years I knock off for a while. That way I’m constantly the new girl in the whorehouse.”

–Robert Mitchum

Robert Mitchum was hot-to-trot for the role of ‘The Preacher’. During his audition, Director Charles Laughton (above) described ‘The Preacher’ as “a diabolical shit”– to which Mitchum shouted back, “Present!” Much to Laughton’s dismay, The Night of the Hunter” was not well received by critics, or at the box office upon its release. It was black & white, not in the popular wide-screen Cinemascope format, and was just downright disturbing– not exactly what happy-go-lucky moviegoers were looking for back in 1955. Disillusioned with its failure– it would end up being the one and only film that Charles Laughton (the epic British actor) would ever direct.

“I started out to be a sex fiend, but I couldn’t pass the physical”

–Robert Mitchum

Close-up shot Charles Laughton is staging (above). The dancing girl in the strip club scene.

“Maybe love is like luck. You have to go all the way to find it”

–Robert Mitchum

“There are too many of them. You can’t kill a world.” –The Preacher (Robert Mitchum) referring to sinful women. It’s right after this scene that Harry Powell is picked-up by a cop for auto theft (stealing that sweet Ford Model T) and sent to the county jail for 30 days. Oh, speaking of jail…

“Sure I was glad to see John Wayne win the Oscar … I`m always glad to see the fat lady win the Cadillac on TV, too.”

–Robert Mitchum

1/18/1949, Los Angeles, CA– Robert Mitchum, actress Lila Leeds and Real Estate agent Robin Ford, today, were convicted of conspiracy to possess marijuana. Left to right are: Attorney Jerry Giesler, Robert Mitchum, Attorney Grant Cooper, Lila Leeds and Robin Ford. Shown around counsel table in court today. –Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Mitchum cursed softly and released the burning stub. Robin Ford was sitting motionless, staring fixedly at the opposite wall, as if thinking he might go unnoticed. His only movement was to take the joint from his mouth and flick it under the couch. One of the policemen – Detective Sergeant Alva Barr – came up, retrieved it, then scooped up what Mitchum had dropped. He crumpled the tips and then placed them in the breast pocket of his jacket. Picking up the Philip Morris pack on the coffee table, he examined the contents.

He looked at Mitchum and said, “These are yours?” Mitchum said, “No, they’re not mine.” Barr said, “Don’t give me any business and we’ll get along fine.” The other officer – Detective JB McKinnon – closed a pair of handcuffs on Robin Ford’s wrists. Mitchum then offered up his own cigarette.

Barr stepped over to where Lila [Leeds] sat and took one partly burned cigarette out of her hand. It had red lipstick around the tip. He told her to empty her bath-robe pocket, and she took out something wrapped in a page of the Herald Express. The cop unwrapped it and found what appeared to be three more hand- rolled marijuana cigarettes and eight Benzedrine tablets.

He told them they were all under arrest and then picked up Lila’s phone and called headquarters. Vicki Evans said, “It’s just like the movies.”

02/09/1949, Los Angeles, CA– Lila Leeds Attorney Grant Cooper Robert Mitchum (smirking, naturally) and Attorney Jerry Gresler as Leeds and Mitchum are sentenced tro 60 days on narcotics charges. –Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Reporters and photographers were already gathered outside both stations, alerted to the celebrity dope arrest. Ford and Mitchum entered past a gauntlet of flashbulbs and barked questions. One photographer snapped Bob with his features contorted in the printed photo he was barely recognizable. The picture wrote its own caption: “A MAN IN THE GRIP OF DEMON DRUGS.” Inside the station Mitchum and Ford were booked. Name, age, address, identifying marks. When the policeman asked Mitchum his occupation, he replied, wittily: “Former actor.” –Lee Server

2/10/1949-Los Angeles, CA- Screen star Robert Mitchum was in a new role– that of a broom jockey– as he started his sixty day sentence on a narcotic (Marijuana) charge. Mitchum, known as inmate 91234, said, “I’m beginning to like it here. Something doing all the time.” The movie hero reported that he was getting used to it although some of the boys are a bit bumptious in knocking around their cells in the evening. –Image by © Corbis

“How do I keep fit? I lay down a lot.”

–Robert Mitchum

Castaic, CA– Robert Mitchum who was sentenced to 60 days for violation of narcotic law, at the Los Angeles County Honor Farm where he was transferred from the County Jail. Mitchum, who remarked that he liked it at the County Jail because there was something doing all the time, seems to be having a good time as he milks one of the cows, Daisy May. –Image by © Corbis

“He sure don`t bring much brains to the party, that kid.” (commenting on Steve McQueen)

–Robert Mitchum

3/31/49, Los Angeles, CA– Robert Mitchum is shown packing in preparation for his release from the county jail here after serving a sentence on Marijuana charges. –Image by © Corbis

“The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I`ve spent more time in jail.”

–Robert Mitchum

(When) Mitchum was released from custody. Reporters were waiting. “I’ve been happy in jail,” he told them, tailoring his opinions for public consumption. “Nobody envied me. Nobody wanted anything from me. Nobody wanted my bars or the bowl of pudding they shoved at me through the slot. I did my work and they let me alone.” He had developed a new taste for privacy. “I’m through with my so-called pals. I’ll see only my wife, my two children, and a couple of close friends. Parties? I’d stand out like a monster at a party. I’m typed a character and I guess I’ll have to bear that the rest of my life.” Mitchum was going back to work as soon as possible, he told the group. “I’ve got to. I’m broke…And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading for home.” –Lee Server

“I came back from the war and ugly heroes were in.”

–Robert Mitchum

1949, Las Vegas, NV– Recovering from a recent Hollywood ordeal (read: jail), actor Robert Mitchum takes his family on a fishing vacation at famed Lake Mead, the desert sea behind Hoover (Boulder) Dam. They’re shown here aboard the Hotel El Rancho Vegas cruiser. Pictured (L-R) are: Mrs. Mitchum, son Jimmy, Mitchum, and son Chris. –Image by © Corbis

“Stars today are just masturbation images.”

–Robert Mitchum

The French Riviera, 1954– Always popular with the ladies. (“They come to me with their troubles… I, uh, cheer them up a little.”) Robert Mitchum signs autographs while on the French Riviera with Lise Bourdin, 1954. –Image by © Corbis

“These kids only want to talk about acting method and motivation. in my day all we talked about was screwing and overtime.”

–Robert Mitchum

Cannes Film Festival, 1954– Simone Silva, who was crowned “Miss Festival”, in a topless pose with Robert Mitchum. It caused an insane shutterbug stampede. In the mad rush to snap the titillating pics– one photographer broke his arm and another his leg. The unsavory display spurred Cannes’ execs to request that Miss Silva leave the festival. The publicity generated was enough for a Hollywood film studio to offer her contract– but tragically, all did not end well for Simone Silva. –Image by © Corbis

Asked his opinion of Method actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson–

“They are all small.”

–Robert Mitchum

1954, Cannes, France– American actor Robert Mitchum who would later be awarded the “Etoile de Cannes” at this years festival, with the Starlet of the year, Simone Sylva. Robert Mitchum held a press conference on the beach, where Sylva let fall her bra, showing her assets, and kissed the “bad boy” of Hollywood. Not missing a beat, Mitchum, placed his hands over her breasts and was captured by the many photographers present. America cried scandal and demanded a boycott to the famous actor. Simone Sylva would commit suicide a few years later. –Image by © Corbis

“I have two acting styles: with and without a horse.”

–Robert Mitchum

“I never changed anything, except my socks and my underwear. And I never did anything to glorify myself or improve my lot. I took what came and did the best I could with it.”


Actor Robert Mitchum was Released from Jail - 1949

O n February 25, 1949, actor Robert Mitchum is released from a Los Angeles County prison farm after completing a two-month sentence for marijuana possession. In the fall of 1948, Mitchum, the star of classics such as Cape Fear and Night of the Hunter, was smoking a joint at a party in the Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles when detectives burst in and arrested him. Mitchum reportedly said at the time, "Well, this is the bitter end of everything, my career, my marriage, everything."

In fact, it wasn't really that bad. Mitchum was separated from his wife Dorothy at the time, but the two reconciled when she returned to support him through the scandal and the public didn't mind much either Rachel and the Stranger, the first movie released after his troubles, was a box-office hit. There is some reason to believe that Mitchum's arrest was less than fair and designed to bring publicity to the Los Angeles Police Department's anti-drug efforts. Although high-priced studio lawyers questioned irregularities in the case, it was later agreed that Mitchum would accept 60 days in jail and several years' probation. Mitchum died in July 1997.

Michael Thomas Barry is the author of numerous books that include Murder and Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California, 1849-1949. The book can be purchased at Amazon through the following link:


'I liked it in jail'

R obert Mitchum - then a promising young actor with an Oscar nomination under his belt - was arrested for marijuana possession in August 1948. It would have killed his career, but for the intervention of RKO studio chief Howard Hughes, who immediately assembled a powerful team to defend him. Mitchum was caught in a raid on a house in Laurel Canyon, as he partied with actress Lila Leeds, dancer Vicki Evans, and bartender-turned-real estate agent Robin Ford.

Mitchum cursed softly and released the burning stub. Robin Ford was sitting motionless, staring fixedly at the opposite wall, as if thinking he might go unnoticed. His only movement was to take the joint from his mouth and flick it under the couch. One of the policemen - Detective Sergeant Alva Barr - came up, retrieved it, then scooped up what Mitchum had dropped. He crumpled the tips and then placed them in the breast pocket of his jacket. Picking up the Philip Morris pack on the coffee table, he examined the contents.

He looked at Mitchum and said, "These are yours?" Mitchum said, "No, they're not mine." Barr said, "Don't give me any business and we'll get along fine." The other officer - Detective JB McKinnon - closed a pair of handcuffs on Robin Ford's wrists. Mitchum then offered up his own cigarette.

Barr stepped over to where Lila [Leeds] sat and took one partly burned cigarette out of her hand. It had red lipstick around the tip. He told her to empty her bath-robe pocket, and she took out something wrapped in a page of the Herald Express. The cop unwrapped it and found what appeared to be three more hand- rolled marijuana cigarettes and eight Benzedrine tablets.

He told them they were all under arrest and then picked up Lila's phone and called headquarters. Vicki Evans said, "It's just like the movies."

Reporters and photographers were already gathered outside both stations, alerted to the celebrity dope arrest. Ford and Mitchum entered past a gauntlet of flashbulbs and barked questions. One photographer snapped Bob with his features contorted in the printed photo he was barely recognisable. The picture wrote its own caption: "A MAN IN THE GRIP OF DEMON DRUGS." Inside the station Mitchum and Ford were booked. Name, age, address, identifying marks. When the policeman asked Mitchum his occupation, he replied, wittily: "Former actor."

It was the middle of the night when a Howard Hughes flack got word of the Mitchum arrest. He put a call through to his boss and imparted the news. Hughes took it calmly - his anger was reserved for Commies and intransigent females.

"Well, who do we pay to kill this thing?" Hughes asked. In Hollywood, everything from rape to hit-and-run homicides could have been hushed up if you knew the procedure. But it was too late for that there would be headlines. The press already had the story. In a few hours there would be headlines. Howard said, "Let's get him out of jail, keep him from talking, and for Pete's sake will somebody call [RKO lawyer] Jerry Giesler."

Arraignment was set for September 21, when Mitchum and his three playmates returned to the courtroom. Lila and Vicki offered the judge a demure vision of femininity. "Both blonde women," wrote one investigative journalist, "have muted their chemically gold hair to lesser shades of brilliance." Evans dressed in black, and Leeds in a tailored, cream-coloured Roz Russell-style suit that tried hard - but failed miserably - to conceal her curvaceous figure. The proceedings were cut-and-dried. Judge Ambrose ordered their return on the 30th, at which time he would hear their pleas of guilt or innocence.

Rumpled, balding, charismatic friend to the press Jerry Giesler had kept a relatively low profile in these first weeks. Columnists anxious to convey some of the lawyer's legendarily colourful courtroom behaviour were not rewarded until the September 30 appearance before the judge, when the attorney floridly demanded that all charges be dropped as unconstitutional due to the fact that the indictment "was not returned in clear English". The section charging Mitchum and the others with "possession and conspiracy to possess flowering tops and leaves of India hemp (Cannabis Sativa)," said Giesler, "might as well have been written in Japanese or hieroglyphics!" He quoted state law to the effect that all indictments must be drawn in pure and simple English so that defendants might clearly understand the accusation. Giesler said that "hemp" to his knowledge was used to make rope, and he comically stumbled over the pronunciation of the word cannabis, provoking laughter from the onlookers. He then left them in stitches by declaring that the only Latin he knew was Xavier Cugat. From Judge Nye came word that the trial would begin on November 21.

Howard Hughes, RKO, and David Selznick had observed the developments in the Mitchum prosecution like ambivalent caregivers attending an infectious patient. To look after the boy and risk catching something, or throw a sheet on him and dump him in an alleyway - that was the question. Any overt attempt to help the actor or influence the case became ammunition for the DA's office and the Hollywood-and Hughes-bashers who floated rumours that the mogul were "pulling political strings" to subvert the law and let Mitchum get away with it. Hughes and Selznick both issued official "hands-off" statements regarding the actor's defence.

Hughes did not want to lose Mitchum's services if he could help it. He was a big Robert Mitchum fan. Since taking over RKO, Hughes had privately fixated on Mitchum as a kind of fantasy alter ego. He spent many a predawn hour in his personal screening room watching the actor's pictures, particularly Out of the Past, studying the clinches of Bob and Jane Greer with feverish interest. Hughes's position in life would seem to have placed him beyond envy or hero worship but to the scrawny, hard-of-hearing, whiny-voiced and paranoid Texan who felt compelled to offer money, fame, wedding rings, or threats to desired females, Mitchum's brawn, bourbon voice, imperturbable cool and natural allure to women represented his ideal masculine image. (Hughes biographer Charles Higham posited the millionaire as an active bisexual for what it's worth, both Mitchum and Hughes's second favourite male star, Victor Mature, had certain physical characteristics in common with Howard's favorite female type - dark eyes, thick hair, and a big chest.)

The trial began. The defence attorneys spoke. On the charge of conspiracy to possess marijuana, their clients would offer no defence and agreed to waive a jury trial and have their cases decided upon a reading of the testimony by the arresting officers given before the county grand jury. As Giesler had pre-arranged, the other charge, of possession, was held in abeyance.

Mitchum sat calmly for the 60 minutes it took Judge Nye to return with a guilty verdict for each of the three defendants. Nye set a court date of February 9 for probation hearing and sentencing.

On Wednesday, February 9, the crowd outside the courthouse began gathering at dawn. Inside the packed eighth-floor courtroom of judge Clement Nye, counsels Giesler and Grant Cooper completed the final legal fine-tuning before the punishments could be pronounced. Due to a more recent legal dispute, the sentencing of Robin Ford had been postponed, and the would-be realtor currently languished in a jail cell without bail. (The new charges against him would ultimately be dismissed). Judge Nye asked if all concerned parties had read the reports prepared by the probation department. Mitchum's concluded that the individual was "psychologically ill-equipped for his sudden rise to fame".

Nye sentenced Mitchum and Leeds to a year in the county jail. He then suspended the sentence and placed the pair on probation for a period of two years, 60 days of that to be experienced in the confines of the county jail.

Mitchum exchanged his suit for jail-issue denim blues, though he was allowed under jail rules to keep his own footgear, an expensive pair of brown Cordovans. And he exchanged his old identity for a new one: prisoner 91234. From the concessionaire he brought four quarts of milk and two cartons of cigarettes. No supplies from outside sources were permitted. The chief jailer explained some more rules. Other than his attorneys, he was allowed two visitors per week. All correspondence going in or out had to be scrutinised and censored. Breakfast was at 6.30pm, soup at 10am, dinner at 3pm, lights out at 9pm. The prisoner was given a cup and spoon, which he was required to keep clean.

At dawn they woke him, gave him a mop and bucket, and told him to clean up. He was finishing up when they let in some reporters and photographers. It was arranged by. somebody.

In the mess hall, slurping his soup, he had a conversation with the tank trusty. "Be careful," the man said. The word was that somebody wanted to set him up, rack him up in the joint. "They wanted to make me for the whole deuce," Mitchum would remember. "They didn't want to be wrong. I didn't know which side of the fuzz it was. Man, they can do anything they want - you know, charge you with some minor infraction of the rules and you end up doin' two big ones in Quentin. No fuckin' way. I couldn't hack that."

Worrying about Mitchum's state of mind, Howard Hughes decided to go up to Castaic himself and give the boy a pep talk. Hughes had a liaison arranged with the sheriff to allow a special weekday visit and to let him meet with Mitchum in a private room without any guards listening or looking at them. He and Perry Leiber rode up to Castaic in Howard's old sedan. Hughes was wearing a particularly old and sloppy outfit, faded khakis, a stained shirt, his cracked old aviator jacket, and torn sneakers. The captain in charge, under orders from the sheriff, came out to greet the scruffy visitor and offered Hughes the use of his own office for the meeting with Mitchum. Seeing the multiethnic mix of prisoners working on the grounds, the phobic and racist Hughes requested that no prisoners be allowed anywhere near the office while he was still there.

Hughes and Mitchum sat on either side of the desk in the captain's office. "Bob, I just came up here to reassure you that RKO is with you 100%. And I want to ask you if there is anything that I or the studio can do for you under the circumstances?" Mitchum said, "I need $50,000 to pay off my legal fees and to buy a decent house for my family." "I'll see to it." It would be a loan, at 5% interest.

Then Hughes handed over the gift he had brought for the actor, a brown paper sack filled with vitamins.

The final week went by without incident. After breakfast on Wednesday, March 30, Mitchum was released from custody. Reporters were waiting. "I've been happy in jail," he told them, tailoring his opinions for public consumption. "Nobody envied me. Nobody wanted anything from me. Nobody wanted my bars or the bowl of pudding they shoved at me through the slot. I did my work and they let me alone." He had developed a new taste for privacy. "I'm through with my so-called pals. I'll see only my wife, my two children, and a couple of close friends. Parties? I'd stand out like a monster at a party. I'm typed a character and I guess I'll have to bear that the rest of my life."

Mitchum was going back to work as soon as possible, he told the group. "I've got to. I'm broke. And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm heading for home."

Extracted from Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don't Care by Lee Server, published by Faber and Faber at £20 on October 22.


Further Reading:

Clooney, Nick. "Mitchum's Act was Quiet Thunder." The Cincinnati Post. July 4, 1997.

Eels, George. Robert Mitchum: A Biography. New York, Franklin Watts, 1984.

Parish, James Robert. The Tough Guys. New York, Arlington House, 1976.

Roberts, Jerry. Robert Mitchum: A Bio-Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press, 1992.

Schickel, Richard. "Eternally Cool: Robert Mitchum, 1917-1997."Time. July 14, 1997, 73.

Tomkies, Mike. The Robert Mitchum Story: "It Sure Beats Working." Chicago, Henry Regnery Company, 1972.


How Did a Drug Bust Lead to a Christmas Movie Classic?

In the latest Movie Legends Revealed, see the role that Robert Mitchum's marijuana bust had on his casting in Holiday Affair.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Robert Mitchum was cast in Holiday Affair to soften his image after being arrested for marijuana possession.

In September 1948, actors Robert Mitchum and Lila Leeds were arrested along with Vicki Evans and Robin Ford for possessing marijuana and conspiracy to possess the drug. In January of 1949, Mitchum agreed to plead guilty to the conspiracy charge in exchange for the drug possession charge to be dropped.

As the story goes, Howard Hughes, the head of RKO Films, the studio that had Mitchum under contract, wanted Mitchum's image to be softened following his arrest and so cast Mitchum as the romantic lead in the Christmas comedy, Holiday Affair, with a young Janet Leigh (on loan from MGM).

While his drug arrest likely DID play a role in his casting, it seems unlikely that Howard Hughes was actually worried about Mitchum's image.

You see, directly following Mitchum's arrest, Hughes actually rushed up the release date of a picture that Mitchum had done called Rachel and the Stranger and the film became the biggest hit for RKO of 1948. Thus, in December of 1948, George Raft was removed from an upcoming heist film, The Big Steal, and replaced by Mitchum.

Clearly, then, Hughes was not worried about Mitchum's arrest. When Mitchum was sentenced to serve 60 days (minus the ten he served while waiting trial) in jail, Hughes tried to get the judge to delay the sentence, but instead, filming on The Big Steal was delayed until Mitchum was released at the end of March. The movie was then filmed in April and released in July 1949 and was a big hit.

Hughes broke from convention of the time and actually promoted the film on the then-new medium of television (movie studios tried to avoid letting their stars show up on television so as to not encourage people to watch TV).

Hughes then rushed production on a new film starring Mitchum, the Christmas movie, Holiday Affair. Filming began in July for a late-November release.

Contemporary coverage of the film in The Hollywood Reporter noted that Hughes was cashing in on the public's increased interest in Mitchum because of his arrest.

In other words, while the arrest was clearly the reason for him getting these roles, it does not appear as though Hughes cared one way or the other about Mitchum's image, he just wanted to cash in on Mitchum while the actor was in the public spotlight, especially following The Big Steal being a big hit.

Alas, Holiday Affair was a bomb at the time, but due to repeated airings of the film over the years during Christmastime, the movie has become a bit of a cult classic.

See the advertisement at the time? They didn't seem to be trying to tone down Mitchum's image here, right?

So I'm going with the legend as..

Be sure to check out my archive of Movie Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of film. Click here for more legends specifically about Christmas.


America's long war on drugs and history of recreational drugs use.

I actually just finished the book "Deaths of Despair" a week ago. At the moment it's at the top of my list for "best book of 2020". Meticulously researched, even handed, fair, it really digs deep into the factors contributing to the recent decline in life expectancy for white males in the US.

Would also recommend "Dopesick", another book on the opioid crisis. Very informative.

Tammuz

The most famous Hollywood victim of the anti-drug campaign was the talented actress Lila Leeds, whose promising career was destroyed because she was absurdly sent to prison for 60 days for possessing harmless marijuana and after that only got a single film role. Robert Mitchum, who was arrested together with her, later made a great career in contrast.

Lila Leeds - Wikipedia

On September 1, 1948, Leeds gained notoriety for being arrested together with actor Robert Mitchum on charges of marijuana possession. She subsequently spent sixty days in jail.[2][3]

Considered a Lana Turner look-alike, Leeds was 20 years old and engaged to Turner's ex-husband Stephen Crane at the time of her arrest. Cheryl Crane, Turner and Stephen's daughter, wrote that Leeds first tried marijuana with members of Stan Kenton's orchestra and that she was introduced to heroin while in jail. After Leeds was arrested, Stephen Crane fled to Europe rather than become entangled in scandal.[4][page needed]

Although she starred in the Reefer Madness–style film She Shoulda Said No! (1949) following her release from jail, her acting career, unlike Mitchum's, never recovered from the scandal.

Lila Leeds and Robert Mitchum in the courtroom:

Lila Leeds in her post-prison movie:


6 The Death Of Ray Raymond

Paul Kelly started out as a child actor during the silent film area and continued a successful career on stage and screen into the 1920s. By 1927, Kelly was embroiled in an affair with an actress named Dot Mackaye. Mackaye was married to vaudeville performer Ray Raymond and carried on the affair with Kelly while her husband was on the road. Raymond suspected his wife was unfaithful and the whole situation came to a boil on April 16. That night, Kelly and Mackaye got drunk together at his home. The inebriated actor decided to phone Raymond and antagonize him. Raymond soon challenged Kelly to come over to his place.

After Kelly arrived at Raymond&rsquos house, the two men engaged in a heated argument about the affair and started scuffling. Kelly put Raymond in a headlock and kicked him six times in the head before knocking him out cold with a punch to the left eye. It seemed like Raymond&rsquos injuries were minor, but he lapsed into a coma the following morning and died of brain hemorrhaging three days later. Kelly was arrested and charged with murder.

The situation became a sensational scandal, but at Kelly&rsquos trial, Mackaye tried to deny allegations that an affair took place. Raymond&rsquos maid refuted that claim by testifying that Kelly often slept over at the couple&rsquos house. Kelly was eventually sentenced to 1 to 10 years for manslaughter he served two years at San Quentin before he was released. Mackaye served two months for helping cover up the crime and married Kelly after his release. Surprisingly, the scandal only seemed to help Kelly&rsquos acting career, as his reputation helped him land a lot of &ldquotough guy&rdquo roles. He didn&rsquot stop working in Hollywood until his death in 1956.


Watch the video: The house where Robert Mitchum was arrested for Marijuana in 1948