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Robert Mitchum on TV: How His Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen

Image: Robert Mitchum on TV: How His Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen
Promotional photograph of actor Robert Mitchum. (wikimedia/commons)

By    |   Monday, 16 Mar 2015 07:26 PM

Robert Mitchum worked in Hollywood films for more than five decades, but channeled his star power and talents to move into TV when his career began winding down on the big screen.

Mitchum made the move into television in the 1980s, appearing in several star-studded miniseries and made-for-TV movies until his death in 1997.

One of earliest television appearances came in "The Winds of War" (1983). Based on a World War II novel by Herman Wouk, "The Winds of War" depicted the life a military family as the world faces imminent war.

The miniseries was so successful that the saga's second installment was adapted for the small screen — "War and Remembrance" (1989). Mitchum resumed his character, Capt. Victor 'Pug' Henry, for the continuing saga. The sequel earned 11 awards from a total of 19 nominations.

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Mitchum was awarded a People's Choice award for "War and Remembrance," given to him backstage by Charlton Heston during the Beverly Hills show in 1989.

Other television appearances by Mitchum include:
  • Television movie "One Shoe Makes It Murder" (1982)
  • Television movie "A Killer in the Family" (1983)
  • Television movie "Promises to Keep" (1985)
  • Television movie "Reunion at Fairborough" (1985)
  • Television movie "The Hearst and Davies Affair" (1985)
  • Miniseries "North and South"
  • Television movie "Thompson's Last Run" (1986)
  • Two appearances on CBS's "The Equalizer" (1987)
  • Guest host on "Saturday Night Live" (1987)
  • Miniseries "Brotherhood of the Rose"
  • Television movie "Eyes of War" (1989), Narrator
  • Television movie "Jake Spanner, Private Eye" (1989)
  • Television movie "A Family for Joe" (1990)
  • Television series "African Skies" (1992-1995)
  • Television series "The Marshal" (1995)
  • Television movie "James Dean: Race With Destiny" (1997)
In 1992, Mitchum used his star power to move into politics. His manager convinced him to work in campaigning for George H. Bush's White House aspirations. Mitchum also took on work narrating a biographical film of the President for the Republican National Convention, even attending fundraisers at Bob Hope's Hollywood home.

One of the most unknown facts about Mitchum was his singing ability. Throughout his career, his voice was used on musical tracks in his films rather than professional singers. He even went so far as to release an album of his own music. His song, "The Ballad of Thunder Road" reached No. 62 on the Billboard pop singles chart.

Near the end of his career Mitchum used his talents to become a voiceover artist. He worked in commercials, most notably the "Beef. It's what's for dinner" campaign.

In the late 1990s, Mitchum's health began to fail him, putting a halt to his acting career. His last film was a biopic, "James Dean: Race with Destiny." The film attempted to go beyond the myths of Dean's life and portray the true story of the superstar.

In 1997, Mitchum succumbed to emphysema and cancer, just a month shy of his 80th birthday.

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Robert Mitchum worked in Hollywood films for more than five decades, but channeled his star power and talents to move into TV when his career began winding down on the big screen.
robert mitchum, tv, star, power
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2015-26-16
Monday, 16 Mar 2015 07:26 PM
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