Christopher Mitchum is an American actor, writer and politician, born on 16 October 1943, in Los Angeles, California USA. He’s probably best known for his roles in movies such as “Chisum”, “Big Jake” and “Rio Lobo”.

Early Life

Christopher Mitchum is the second son of Dorothy and iconic actor Robert Mitchum. He matriculated from Webb School in California, then started studying in the University of Pennsylvania, transferring to Trinity College in Dublin for his second year abroad, and then graduated from the University of Arizona as a Bachelor in Literature in 1966. When asked about his childhood, he said it was his father who disciplined him: ‘My father was the one who took care of that. With Mom it was, “Wait ’til your father gets home”.’

During his teens, Mitchum’s family moved from California to Maryland, where he was gifted a horse named Cap Gun by his parents. He began competing in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), winning various championships. Christopher has two siblings: His older brother is actor James “Jim” Mitchum and his younger sister is writer Trina Mitchum.

Career

First Jobs

By the end of his studies at University of Arizona, Christopher was already married and had two children. Looking for ways to sustain his family, he began working as an extra in films and television, finding his first job at the film studio “Old Tucson”, being paid approximately $13.80 daily.

On set he met the director of “Dundee and the Culhane”, Sam Maners, who offered him a role in the series if Mitchum moved to Los Angeles.

So Mitchum moved to California along his family, contacting Maners once again: ‘I was hired for a part on the show, one day’s work, $150. I was very excited, until I read the script. I died before the opening credits, off screen! I played a dead man. Well, it turned into two day’s work. $300 was a lot of money in 1967.’

Mitchum then worked in “Danny Thomas Hour”, acting in a minor role with Bo Hopkins. After that, he found other jobs in Hollywood as an errand boy and then as a production assistant, working his way to become Associate Producer.

He didn’t have another acting job for two years, until he was offered an unaccredited role in “Young Billy Young”.

Mitchum’s motivation to become an actor was for economic reasons: ‘Acting paid more’. (…) ‘It wasn’t my choice (to become actor), at least at the start. I was never encouraged. In fact, it wasn’t until 1973 that my father even acknowledged that I was an actor.’

Debut as Actor and Foreign Movies

In 1970 Mitchum was offered the role of Tom O’Folliard in “Chisum” starring iconic actors John Wayne and Forrest Tucker. While working with “The Duke” Mitchum was introduced to director Howard Hawks, who gave him the role of Rick in the film “Bigfoot”.

Christopher recalled in an interview how big Hawks’ influence was over him: ‘I will say that it wasn’t until I worked with Hawks that I appreciated the profession, and began to love my work.’ Also in 1970, Mitchum appeared as Alturi in “Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came”, before landing a main role in another Hawk movie, “Rio Lobo” in 1971, which was the last film of the director and the second time Mitchum worked with John Wayne. The same year he appeared in The Duke’s movie “Big Jake”. As part of the movie’s promotion tour, Mitchum appeared in Johnny Carson’s show, and was interviewed by various famous magazines.

In 1972 he was offered a role in the Spanish movie “Summertime Killer”, which became popular in various European countries as well in Asia.

However, after Mitchum’s return to his home-country he realized his career had abruptly taken a downturn: ‘suddenly, I couldn’t get a job in Hollywood and even my agent didn’t know why’.

He didn’t receive job interviews for films in almost a year, finally discovering the reason for the dry-spell in his career when he tried to audition for “Steelyard Blues”: ‘The casting director took one look at me and said “Oh, you’re THAT Chris Mitchum, I can’t hire you”.’

The reason Mitchum was being black-listed in Hollywood was his involvement with John Wayne. At the time, Wayne was regarded as a supporter of the Vietnam War, and he along with people who worked with him, were the subjects of a backlash by various parts of Hollywood and anti-war groups.

After this rejection, Mitchum went back to work in Europe and Asia, finding many job opportunities but in B-class movies, including “Master Samurai” in Hong Kong, “Ricco” in Italy, and “Faceless” in Spain. He starred or had major roles in most of the foreign movies he worked in.

Return to America

Despite his fame in foreign film markets, Mitchum actually returned to America years later to appear in various movies such as “Stingray” of 1978, “The One Man Jury” and “The Day Time Ended”. He also appeared in the acclaimed 1993 movie “Tombstone”, starring Kurt Russell and Val Kilmer. Mitchum spend the rest of his career filming movies in the US, Europe and Asia.

I'm in DC for some meetings. Had a chance to speak at the Senate building. BEAUTIFUL weather here!

Posted by Christopher Mitchum on Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Career as Writer

Although Mitchum’s main career has been as an actor, his biggest passion is writing. In 1992 he was credited as screenwriter for the movie “Angel of Fury”, and is author of the book “Victoria Falls”.

Politician

Christopher belongs to the Republican Party, running his first candidacy in 1998 for the California State Assembly, which he lost to his Democrat opponent Hannah-Beth Jackson. In 2012 he was a candidate for the US House of Representatives, but he was positioned as third in the election. Two years later in 2014, he ran his candidacy once again for the same seat in the Congress, coming in second to Lois Capps.

Romantic Relationships

Marriage

On 18 September 1964 Christopher married his longtime girlfriend Cynthia Davis, who is also an actress and appeared in the 1969 movie “Changes”. The couple’s marriage, which ended in 1996, resulted in four children: Caroline “Carrie”, Christopher Robert “Bentley”, Jennifer “Jenny” and Kian.

New Relationship

In 2000 Christopher met Doreen Corkin in Santa Barbara County through a common friend. The two started dating and spend their time between Massachusetts and California. In 2019 Mitchum declared that the two were engaged, though the wedding date hadn’t been set at the time.

Family

Christopher’s children – except for Jenny – became actors. His grandchildren –Cappy and Grace Van Dien- have also made themselves a name in Hollywood.

Christopher Mitchum

Christopher’s uncle John Mitchum was also an actor who appeared in movies such as “Dirty Harry” and “The Enforcer”. However, Christopher’s most famous relative was his father Robert Mitchum.

Famous Father

Born on 6 August 1917 in Connecticut, Robert Mitchum was born the first of three sons of Ann Harriet and James Thomas Mitchum. He faced some difficulties growing up, as his father died when he was two years old in a work-related accident. Moving with his family to New York at an early age, he was undisciplined and used to adventure alone, which resulted in him being charged for vagrancy at 14 years old. Robert began working on movies in 1943, when he briefly appeared in “The Human Comedy”. He kept landing various minor roles in movies, until he was cast in “When Strangers Marry”, his first starring role.

Robert Mitchum

However, Robert’s rise to fame came when he acted as Lt. Walker in “The Story of G.I. Joe”, winning him a nomination for The Academy Awards. He continued appearing in dozens of movies such as “Out of the Past”, “The Night of the Hunter”, and “Cape Fear”. Not only was he famous for his acting skills and ability, his “bad boy” demeanor was one of his attractive traits as well. His career as actor is often regarded as underrated, because despite his legendary-star status in Hollywood, he never won an Oscar.

Due to Robert’s astronomic fame, things weren’t easy for Christopher: ‘Growing up as ‘Robert Mitchum’s son’ was a pain in the ass. In grade school, older kids would beat me up. As a young man, I never knew if someone liked me just because I was my father’s son.’

Robert Mitchum

Posted by Classic Movies Digest on Friday, August 28, 2015

Beside Christopher’s personal problems for being a Hollywood star’s son, he also faced some challenges for this in his career: ‘I had to be ten times better than anyone else tested, so that if the film bombed, whoever cast me could not be accused of putting me in because they knew my father.’ (…) ‘However, today, despite my own career of over 30 years and my father being dead for over ten years, I’m still referred to as “Robert Mitchum’s son.” I have always been treated as my own person on the set.’

Net Worth

Christopher Mitchum has an estimated net worth of $10 million, a result of his long career as an actor and writer.

Appearance

Christopher Mitchum is a man of white ethnicity, frequently regarded as his father’s “look-alike”, with a clearly defined jaw-line, blue eyes and handsome countenance. During his youth he had blond hair, which he stylized middle length.

Nowadays he has a mature appearance, characterized by his white hair. He is 6ft 1ins (1,85 m) tall, though his weight is unknown.

Interesting Facts

Christopher recalls the only career advice his father gave him: ‘”Don’t ever get caught acting”.’ Which in other words, don’t act the part, just be the character.’ Reportedly, Robert Mitchum had many extra-marital affairs during his marriage to Christopher’s mother, Dorothy. However, the marriage lasted almost 60 years until 1997, when Robert died of cancer.

Christopher’s immense fame in Asia caused one of his father’s favorite experiences, which happened in Japan after filming the movie “The Yakuza” in 1974: ‘During that trip, a girl came up to him and asked “Are you Chris Mitchum’s father? Can you get me his autograph?” He loved telling that story’.

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