John Mitchum, veteran character actor of countless films and TV shows, was also the younger brother of the legendary Robert Mitchum. He once wrote a book in the late 1980s about his life and experiences in Hollywood that’s overflowing with anecdotes and sometimes bawdy tales.

Paperback cover of John Mitchum’s memoir, THEM ORNERY MITCHUM BOYS.

I discovered the book, titled Them Ornery Mitchum Boys after my book, Lee Marvin: Point Blank, had already been published. It concerned me at first as I had always been a fan of his “Big Brother Bob,” and thought there may be something therein I may have missed out on for my research. Luckily, I had interviewed John Mitchum during a visit to the Lone Pine Film Festival and was able to get some wonderful quotes from the man at the time.
Since that time, I purchased a copy of the book on Ebay and was happy to discover it was also signed by the author!

Signature of John Mitchum.

That said, I was able to enjoy reading the tales of John and “Big Brother Bob” without trepidation that I had missed out on any important talking points John may have included, since he did indeed work with Lee Marvin on M Squad and also Point Your Wagon.  By the way, if you want to see some of “Big Brother Bob’s” best work, check out his astounding trilogy of films fro the early 70s: The Yakuza (produced by my agent, the late Mike Hamilburg) The Friends of Eddie Coyle & Farewell My Lovely. if they don’t make you a fan of his world-weary cynicism, then nothing will.
Anyway, below is the section of tales John wrote about Lee that includes thoughts on Jean Seberg, Ty Cabeen, and more. Enjoy…
– Dwayne Epstein

John Mitchum’s take on working with Lee Marvin.

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  1. Wow, thanks Dwayne for sharing that with us. I always look forward to your postings. Have you read what Claude Jarman Jr. wrote of Lee in his memoir? There’s one part that’s a little risqué, but I burst out laughing 😂.

  2. Hi Dwayne. The chapter is called “Life Lessons From Lee Marvin”. Here’s what I thought was funny from page 109, verbatim: “Whenever I was in Los Angeles, we would get together and go cruising around Hollywood in his Thunderbird. I remember one time we were rolling down Hollywood Boulevard. Lee had been married to his first wife for about a year. With the air of a Zen master imparting a sacred piece of wisdom to his student, he said, “You know, when I got married, thought I’d stop j—— off. But it hasn’t happened.” Much of what Lee said could be classified as “too much information,” but he was authentic, unfiltered—-a true original.” Sorry Dwayne, I felt uncomfortable typing it all out. I’m a woman raised in a modest household, but it still made me burst!

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