Image of John Mitchum

John Mitchum

John Newman Mitchum was the September child of a Norwegian mother and an Irish/Blackfoot father whom he never knew, as he was killed in a tragic train yard accident in 1919. His two-years-older brother Robert filled the role as best as he could, while their older sister Annette studied the lively arts and eventually joined a traveling vaudeville team. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the young family moved to Rising Sun, Delaware, where farm life didn't agree with the young boys. Scarce opportunities took them to New York City, where the streets of Hell's kitchen taught the brothers to fight, a skill they developed so well they earned the moniker 'them ornery Mitchum boys'. Eventually, when the Great Depression deepened, the family was forced to separate with the intention of meeting up with sister Annette, who had married a sailor and moved to California, changing her name to Julie. The teenage boys set out with little more than clean handkerchiefs to find their way across the country by the only means they could: hitchhiking and riding the rails. Their somewhat aimless journey took them to places they had never been; where their Eastern accents were not welcome, so they quickly learned that accurately mimicking the local dialect would keep them out of trouble--some of the time! While brother Robert fairly quickly discovered his place in Hollywood legend, John sought his destiny on the high seas, professionally boxing, or conducting a choir. When the opportunity for acting came along John found his perfect niche as a character actor, mostly playing heavies since he was an imposing figure of a man. John's roles had him playing alongside a wide range of celebrities, from Humphrey Bogart in "Knock On Any Door" (1949) to Gladys Knight in "Pipe Dreams" (1976), Clint Eastwood of "Dirty Harry" (1971) to John Wayne in "Chisum" (1970), appearing in 58 films overall. It was during production of "Chisum" that John Wayne offered his voice for an anthology of John's poetry that seeks to uplift US culture, "America, Why I Love Her", a recording for which Mitchum was nominated for a Grammy in 1973. John was a consummate storyteller (as was his brother Robert), and with his fascination with US history in particular he was ever-ready to regale anyone with a thoughtful, interesting, and insightful anecdote, especially if a guitar was available. It was the wedding of music and history that brought him to create the recording "Our Land, Our Heritage" with Dan Blocker; big "Hoss" from "Bonanza", in 1964. Mitchum had some recurring roles throughout his television career; such as "Pickalong" from "Riverboat", or "Hoffenmueller" from "F-Troop", over 150 appearances in all during the span of a half-century career. The brothers Mitchum legacy has been well-preserved in his often hilarious autobiography, "Them Ornery Mitchum Boys", published in 1989. The subjects range from brother Robert escaping a Georgia chain-gang to his "poontang" interview; from John surviving an attacking whale on a three-masted schooner to his adventures riding the rails, developing a great love and respect for the people of the United States.

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Sep 6, 1919 In Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
Series Christy 1994-04-03
Latest Project:
In the movie The Prairie 1947-11-27
Known For
Poster of Bloody Trail
Poster of Perils of the Wilderness
Poster of The Pace That Thrills
Poster of The Devil's Sleep
Series Christy Unknown
Movie Robert Mitchum: The Reluctant Star Himself
Movie Escapes Mr. Olson
Movie Where's Willie? Unknown
Movie Telefon Harry Bascom
Movie The Enforcer DiGiorgio
Series Quincy, M.E. Unknown
Movie The Outlaw Josey Wales Al
Movie The Hanged Man Eubie Turpin
Series Kolchak: The Night Stalker Unknown
Series Little House on the Prairie Unknown
Movie Magnum Force DiGiorgio
Movie High Plains Drifter Warden
Movie Savage Motel Manager
Series The Waltons Unknown
Movie Bloody Trail Hoss
Movie Dirty Harry Insp. Frank DiGiorgio
Movie Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate Mr. Tubbs
Movie Chandler Rudy, Bartender
Movie Bigfoot Elmer Briggs
Series The Young Rebels Unknown
Movie Paint Your Wagon Jacob Woodling
Movie The Way West Little Henry
Series Ironside Unknown
Series Mr. Terrific Harry
Movie El Dorado Elmer - Jason's Bartender
Series Pistols 'n' Petticoats Unknown
Series Batman Unknown
Series Laredo Unknown
Series F Troop Unknown
Series The Legend of Jesse James Unknown
Series The Munsters Unknown
Series Bewitched Unknown
Movie Cattle King Tex
Movie Hitler Hermann Goering
Series The Virginian Unknown
Series Thriller Unknown
Series The Clear Horizon Unknown
Series The Twilight Zone Unknown
Series Laramie Unknown
Series Riverboat Pickalong
Movie The Gunfight at Dodge City Rowdy Drunken Cowboy
Series Rawhide Unknown
Movie Guns Girls and Gangsters Armored Car Guard (uncredited)
Series Bronco Unknown
Movie Cole Younger, Gunfighter Rand City Bartender
Movie Cool and Lam Bartender
Series Panic! Unknown
Series Richard Diamond, Private Detective Unknown
Series Have Gun, Will Travel Unknown
Series The Thin Man Unknown
Series M Squad Unknown
Series Maverick Unknown
Series Trackdown Unknown
Movie Up In Smoke Desk Sergeant
Series Perry Mason Unknown
Movie Nightmare Onlooker at Stan's Suicide Attempt (Uncredited)
Movie Perils of the Wilderness Brent
Series State Trooper Unknown
Movie The Man Is Armed Officer
Movie 5 Steps to Danger Bud--Deputy Sheriff
Series Sergeant Preston of the Yukon Unknown
Series Gunsmoke Unknown
Series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp Unknown
Series I Led Three Lives Unknown
Movie The Pace That Thrills Blackie Myers
Series Dragnet Unknown
Movie Born to Be Bad Guest
Movie The Devil's Sleep Doctor
Movie The Prairie Asa Bush