A Small Fraternity … Part 1 Slim Pickens

5 Oct

Stunts to Stars

Men like Richard Farnsworth, Slim Pickens and Ben Johnson were all legitimate cowboys and horsemen who got lassoed into Stunt work. Then via fluke, luck or Gift of God – plus some undeniable Charisma – became well known Actors/Stars.

Who knew?

Not them.

Surely none of ‘em would have thought less of themselves – or their lives – if they had stayed in the esteemed profession of Cowboy/Horsemen/Stunt work.

This being said, the fraternity of Stunt Artists has always somewhat of a shadow industry/profession in film making. We know these Stunt guys (and gals) are there – (Stunt Artists work in nearly every film and and in many TV shows) – but Movie Makers shine as little light on these necessary Artists as possible. Why? Because they don’t want to spoil the grand illusion that it really isn’t Robert Redford and Paul Newman jumping off that cliff – or John Wayne smashing through that bar room window – not to mention the thousand of other perilous acrobatics we witness in nearly every movie – and have been for a long, long time.

Yet the respect accorded Stunt Artists is also evident – as when Stars perform their own stunts – it is always well publicized as a daring (if not foolhardy) feat – discouraged by those who fund the films.

A Small Fraternity: 

Slim Pickens

Wikipedia: “Born, Louis Burton Lindley, Jr. (June 29, 1919 – December 8, 1983), known by the stage name Slim Pickens, was an American rodeo performer and film and television actor who epitomized the profane, tough, sardonic cowboy, but who is (possibly) best remembered for his comic roles, notably in Dr. Strangelove and Blazing Saddles.

Pickens … was an excellent rider from age 4. After graduating from High School he joined the rodeo. He was told that working in the rodeo would be “slim pickings” (very little money), giving him his name, but he did well and eventually became a well-known rodeo clown.

After twenty years on the rodeo circuit, his distinctive Oklahoma-Texas drawl (even though he was a lifelong Californian), his wide eyes and moon face and strong physical presence gained him a role in the western film, Rocky Mountain (1950) starring Errol Flynn. He appeared in many more Westerns, playing both villains and comic sidekicks to the likes of Rex Allen, John Wayne, Steve McQueen, … many many other Stars.”

The rest is history … Hollywood style.

Slim Pickens

Slim Pickens 2

Young Pickens … slim and trim.

Slim Pickens 4

 … and faster than he looks

Slim Pickens 5

Pickens and Allen … Rex

Slim Pickens 6

Slim Pickens in “The Glory Guys’ 1965

Slim Pickens 7

???

Slim Pickens 8Slim Pickens 9

Slim Pickens 10

‘One Eyed Jacks’ / Katy Jurado, Marlon Brando, Pickens, Pina Pellicer, and Karl Malden 1961

Slim Pickens 11

Slim ‘takes one’ for Sam (Pekinpah) in ‘Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid’ 1973

Slim Pickens 12

A lecture for the Duke ‘The Cowboys’ 1972

Slim Pickens 13

Camp side in ‘The Sacketts’ 1979

Slim Pickens 15

‘Major Dundee’ 1965

Slim Pickens 14

A chat with Clint


Stunt Tips from My Favorite Westerns

Cannon Stunts

Tip 14: Never stand in front of the cannon

CCR revisited and Yellow River

27 Sep

1970

1971


“… shining down like water … “

jcalberta

Where we come from.

Farnsworth Awards …

23 Sep

Richard Farnsworth favorite Song: Skyball Paint
Performed by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers

The Straight Story Award

“No I didn’t audition, I didn’t even know David Lynch till the week before I started the film.”

Comes a Horseman Awards

“I worked with Cecil B. DeMille quite a few times.”

The Grey Fox Award

“I worked for John Ford, Howard Hawks, Henry Hathaway, Raoul Walsh – I worked for some real good directors.”

Gemini Award Richard Farnsworth

“I worked for Sam Peckinpah on quite a bit of action in his films, and he got excited once in a while.”

Bronze Wrangler

“I was a stunt man for 35 years.”

Richard Farnsworth Golden Boot

Richard Farnsworth Winchester Rifle

Richard Farnsworth Belt Buckle

Richard Farnsworth 14

See ya Rich. 

Richard Farnsworth Filmography …

20 Sep

Richard Farnsworth Movies

Richard Farnsworth in Tom Horn (1980)

Richard Farnsworth in Tom Horn (1980)

‘Still waters run deep’ they say.

Richard Farnsworth has proven to be well with no bottom.

Incredibly, though Richard Farnsworth film history was somewhat overwhelming, much/most information about his first 37 years in the film industry as Stuntman/Stunt rider/Extra is almost unknown and “uncredited”.

Another amazing feature of Farnsworth’s work is the number of Film Classics he worked in, including Gone with the Wind, Spartacus, The Ten CommandmentsPapillon … and several Classsic/Popular Westerns: Red River. Arrowhead, The Outlaw Jose WalesMonte Walsh. The Cowboys … others.

When I normally do a Filmography on somebody, it’s usually just cover their Westerns. But Farnsworth appeared in so many other notable movies that I felt compelled to post his other work as well – despite scant information.

Another interesting truth arises: many Support Actors / Extras / Stuntmen often participate or appear in more Films that most Movie Stars themselves. They don’t get the Top Bill – or money – but there they are.

Note: these images below are only PART of Farnsworth Film and TV history. I was unable to find several images or posters.

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 1

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 2

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 3

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 4

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 5

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 6

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 7

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 8

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 9

Richard Farnsworth Filmography 10

1937

Richard Farnsworth 12

Rose …

14 Sep

Happy Birthday Rose 2014

Rose's Birthday 2014

A Magnificent 7 remake ____ here we go again …

13 Sep

The Magnificent Seven: Denzel and Fuqua to Remake Classic

By Point of Geekson September 10th, 2014 at 4:31pm

One of the greatest westerns ever made, The Magnificent Seven, will be remade for the big-screen. The western which featured many of the biggest stars of its time, was actually a remake itself of Akira Kurosawa’s epic, Seven Samurai. An important point to make before there are cries from film purists claiming it is blasphemy to remake this classic. The project has gone through many hands in the past few years as multiple producers and stars have looked to repackage the film for the current generation. Most recently there was a version to star Tom Cruise, according to ScreenRant, other veteran actors such as Morgan Freeman and Kevin Costner were sought after to make up the posse.

 

The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)

The project is now in the hands another director and actor team, who have found a high level of comfortability and teamwork. Director Antoine Fuqua and Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington, first forged their partnership on the film Training Day, where Washington won his second Oscar. After their second pairing in this month’s upcoming thriller, The Equalizer, they are more energized than ever to keep their professional partnership going. After confirming that the duo are indeed remaking The Magnificent Seven ….

…. It will be interesting to see how the remake is handled. With Washington assumably taking over the role previously held by Yul Brynner, it will be fascinating to see how race is handled in the film. It would be hard to not acknowledge how the additional hardship of being black in the wild west America would affect the character(s).

Even of more interest is whom Fuqua and Washington (who seems to be in a producing capacity as well judging by Fuqua’s comments) choose as the other six members of the legendary posse. The search for backup is a huge part of the original film and finding six other actors that won’t be overshadowed by Washington may not be a simple task. Not to mention Westerns certainly are not the dominant film genre any longer. It will take a quite a dynamic cast to drum up a buzz, since the original came out over fifty years ago. It should be a delight watching this project come together.

Top 10 Movie Ensemble Casts: The Magnificent Seven

MFW comment:

Am I against a remake of M7? No.
Would I say M7 fans wouldn’t like to see one? Of course they would.
I would also say that it’s a daunting task – especially the casting – as is mentioned.
Over the years we have already seen several attempts to remake M7 – even a TV show.
None of them fared too well – compared to the original.
The problem is simple: On any such remake of a Classic Film there are going to be inevitable comparisons – as what happened with Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger.
So it’s a tough deal.
And the only thing that saves some remakes (to any degree) is that there is a whole new audience that holds no allegiance or knowledge of the Original. They don’t care – and don’t know – about the incredible Star Power and charisma of Yul Brynner – not to mention the other members of the cast – most of whom went on to long an illustrious success in filmdom.
Yes ..we all hope that somehow Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua can come up with something that rekindles the inspired work of John Sturges original movie …
But we are ready to be disappointed as well.

M7 boothill

[Chris (Yul Brynner) is driving the hearse up to Boot Hill; Vin (Steve McQueen) is riding shotgun]

Chris: We’ll get there.

Vin: It’s not getting up there that bothers me. It’s staying up there that I mind.

Richard Farnsworth … Western Icon

11 Sep

Laurens Walking – from Soundtrack of The Straight Story

Richard Farnsworth

Richard Farnsworth / 1920 – 2000

- IMDB Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net> (qv’s & corrections by A. Nonymous)

An American stuntman who, after more than 30 years in the business, moved into acting and became an acclaimed and respected character actor, Richard Farnsworth was a native of Los Angeles. He grew up around horses and as a teenager was offered an opportunity to ride in films. He appeared in horse-racing scenes and cavalry charges unbilled, first as a general rider and later as a stuntman. His riding and stunting skills gained him regular work doubling stars ranging from Roy Rogers to Gary Cooper, and he often doubled the bad guy as well. Although. like most stuntmen, he was occasionally given a line or two of dialogue, it was not until Farnsworth was over 50 that his natural talent for acting and his ease and warmth before the camera became apparent. When he won an Academy Award nomination for his role in Comes a Horseman (1978), it came as a surprise to many in the industry that this “newcomer” had been around since the 1930s. Farnsworth followed his Oscar nomination with a number of finely wrought performances, including The Grey Fox (1982) and The Natural (1984). In 1999 he came out of semi-retirement for a tour-de-force portrayal in The Straight Story (1999).

Richard Farnsworth Trivia (IMDB)

Was a stunt man for 40 years before becoming an actor.

He was 43 years old when he received his first acting credit.

Doubled for Kirk Douglas, Henry Fonda, Montgomery Clift, Steve McQueen and Roy Rogers ….

Co-founder of Stuntmen’s Association in 1961 using his considerable clout in his field to co-create the Stuntman’s Association, a group which would fight to safeguard the rights and working conditions of the men and women who risked life and limb for Hollywood.

Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1997.

Shortly before his death, when asked by film critic Roger Ebert what he was most proud of in regard to his acting career, he replied that it was the fact that in over 60 movies he never says one cuss word.

Billy Crystal singled out Farnsworth at the 72nd Academy Awards telling everyone it was “great to see him, and his nomination was a great story.”

Is the oldest ever person to receive a Best Actor Oscar Nomination (79 at the time).

Richard Farnsworth - Award

Richard Farnsworth 11

Tragic End / Richard Farnsworth Suicide

BY STEPHEN M. SILVERMAN 07/16/1998
“The Straight Story” Oscar nominee Richard Farnsworth, 80, shot and killed himself on Friday. The actor reportedly had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer and earlier this year underwent hip replacement surgery, which left him partially paralyzed and unable to walk. Police said Farnsworth was found dead at the home near Lincoln, N.M., that he shared with his fiancee, Jewel Van Valin. He apparently left behind a suicide note, though police have not disclosed its contents. “This was an obvious self-inflicted gunshot,” Sheriff Tom Sullivan told reporters. This year, at the age of 79, Farnsworth was the oldest best actor nominee in Academy history for his role as Alvin Straight, a senior citizen who drove his lawnmower from Iowa to Wisconsin to visit his ailing brother. Farnsworth’s previous Oscar nomination was for the 1982 Canadian film, “The Grey Fox.” The weathered-looking actor with the arresting blue eyes, who began his career as a stunt-riding double for Roy Rogers and Henry Fonda, also appeared in “The Natural,” with Robert Redford, and “Comes a Horseman,” with Jane Fonda, among other movies.


Coming up: Richard Farmsworth Western Filmography …

Richard Farnsworth Movies

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