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Robert Mitchum, Bridgeport’s Bad Boy, Turns 100

August 6th, 2017 · 1 Comment · Analysis and Comment, Best of Bridgeport, News and Events

He’d be 100 years old today. Robert Mitchum, who died in 1997, was raised on Logan Street in the East End and noted for his poetry while at McKinley School. His father, a railroad worker, was killed in a switching accident when Robert was two years old. His mother became a Linotype operator at the Bridgeport Post to support the family. As an adult his poetic persona plied numerous roles, the crazed evangelist in Night of the Hunter with the words love and hate tattooed on hands; the sturdy marine shipwrecked on an island with a nun in Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison; the sinister omnipresent Max Cady who torments Gregory Peck in Cape Fear. “Hello counselor, remember me?” in southern drawl, snatching keys from car.

Mitchum got into all kinds of trouble when he was a kid and at 12 was sent off to a variety of places to be reformed: Delaware one year, New York the next, shortly after that Georgia. He moved so often it would cause most to suffer whiplash. His penchant for poetry led to a lyrical talent that found its way into show business and then an extra in films. In 1946 he was Oscar-nominated for his role in The Story of G.I. Joe.

Even as an adult Mitchum was a rebel enduring a two-month stint in the joint on a marijuana possession charge in California in the 1940s. At the time it would have ruined most acting careers. For Mitchum it was a credential feeding his maverick persona.

In 1983 Mitchum starred in the television mini-series Winds of War that was produced and directed by Bridgeport native Dan Curtis. Later in life he’d say in an interview “I’m just a boy from Bridgeport.”

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