Alex Cord became best known in Hollywood for his 60s and 70s work in action adventure. Born Alexander Viespi in Long Island, New York in 1933, he was riding horses from the age of 2. Stricken with polio at the age of 12, he was confined to a hospital and iron lung for a long period of time before he overcame the illness after being sent to a Wyoming ranch for therapy. He soon regained his dream and determination of becoming a jockey or professional horseman.
A high school dropout at the age of sixteen, he was too tall to become a jockey so he joined the rodeo circuit and earned a living riding bulls and bareback horses. During another extended hospital stay, this time after suffering serious injuries after being thrown by a bull at a rodeo in New York City's Madison Square Garden, he contemplated again the direction of his life and decided to finish his high school education by way of night school. A voracious reader during his long convalescence, he later studied and received his degree in literature at New York University.
Prodded by an interest in acting, Alex received dramatic training at the Actors Studio and began his professional career in summer stock (The Compass Players in St. Louis, Missouri) and at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut where he played 'Laertes' in a production of "Hamlet". A British producer saw his promise and invited him to London where he co-starred in four plays ("Play With a Tiger", "The Rose Tattoo", "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Umbrella"). He was nominated for the "Best Actor Award" by the London Critics' Circle for the first-mentioned play.
The strapping, light-haired, good-looker eventually sought a Hollywood "in" and found one via his equestrian prowess in the early 60s. Steady work came to him on such established western TV series as "Laramie" and "Branded" and that extended itself into roles on crime action series ("Route 66" and "Naked City"). Gaining a foothold in feature films within a relatively short time, Alex starred or co-starred in more than 30 movies, a number of them opposite Hollywood's loveliest of lovelies. He peaked at the very beginning as a dope addict in "Synanon" with Stella Stevens, as a cowboy in the remake of John Wayne's "Stagecoach" with Ann-Margret, as a jet-setting hitman in "Stiletto" with Britt Ekland and as a cryogenic test case trapped in suspended animation for more than a century by which he awakes more than a century in the future in "Genesis II". Co-starring with Kirk Douglas in the mafia drama "The Brotherhood".
When his American filmload sharply declining in the late 60s and 70s, he turned to action adventure overseas with the 'spaghetti western' "Un minuto per pregare, un istante per morire" [A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die] and the British war drama "The Last Grenade" with Stanley Baker and Richard Attenborough. Around that time as well, he played the murderer opposite Sam Jaffe's old man in Edgar Allan Poe's dramatic short, "The Tell-Tale Heart".
It was TV, however, that provided more career stability for Alex, appearing in more than 300 shows, among them: "Hotel", "Fantasy Island", "Simon & Simon", "Jake and the Fatman", "Mission: Impossible", "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Murder, She Wrote". He also situated himself in a number of series, notably "Airwolf", in which he co-starred with Jan-Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine as the mysterious white-suited, eye-patched, cane-using "Michael Archangel".
Later interest in Alex was drawn from his title role in "Grayeagle", a viable remake of the John Wayne film, "The Searchers", in which he played the Indian kidnapper of Ben Johnson's daughter. Lana Wood, sister of star Natalie Wood (who appeared in the original), also co-starred in this film. Alex can still be seen from time to time in lowbudget film entries and a TV episode or two, but other interests have now taken up his time.
Outside of the entertainment field, his ultimate love for horses extended itself into work for numerous charities and benefits. He was a regular competitor in the Ben Johnson Pro-Celebrity Rodeos that raised money for children's charities, and he is one of the founders of the Chukkers for Charity Celebrity Polo Team which has raised more than $3 million for worthy causes. He also chairs "Ahead with Horses", an organization that provides therapeutic riding programs for the physically and emotionally challenged. Alex and his second wife, Susannah, are both actively involved on their horse ranch in north Texas where she is a dressage trainer and he ropes and rides cutters. Alex also turned to writing, thus far publishing two novels: "Sandsong" and "A Feather in the Rain". A third book, "Harbinger", was never printed. He has written and sold three screenplays, as well.
For more information on Alex click: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0179376/
Stunt Coordinator / Stuntman
Diamond Farnsworth is an accomplished stuntman, serving as stunt coordinator on the show "NCIS" (pictured above with Michael Weatherly), and before that working on "Jag" and "Quantum Leap". Diamond is the son of Academy Award winning actor/stuntman Richard Farnsworth, who was also a one-time guest of the Festival. Diamond began his stunt career in 1968 and has been serving as a stunt coordinator since 1980. He began with "Paint Your Wagon" and served as a stunt double for Sylvester Stallone in "First Blood", "Rambo" and "Rhinestone". He has also doubled Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid and Jeff Bridges. He has loaned a pair of chaps to the museum, which belonged to Ken Maynard and given to his father Richard by the famous western star.
He was seriously injured in an accident while doing a stunt for "Rollercoaster" when a roller coaster car he was in jumped the tracks.
For more information about Diamond click: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0267889/
ONCE GUESTS ARE SCHEDULED THEY WILL BE ADDED TO THIS PAGE
Christopher Mitchum was destined to follow in the footsteps of his famous father, Robert Mitchum.
Chris grew up avoiding the limelight and was educated at the University of Pennsylvania (1962-1966), attending Dublin's Trinity College as part of his Junior Year Abroad program. He attained a BA at the University of Arizona before developing a serious interest in filmmaking. He began as an extra while at the University of Arizona working in westerns at Old Tucson (1966-1967). That led to to acting jobs on the TV shows "Dundee and the Culhane" starring Britisher John Mills and "The Danny Thomas Hour", which featured Sammy Davis Jr.. Chris worked as a "gofer" in two of his father's westerns in 1969 before receiving his big acting break. He auditioned for John Wayne and won a small role in the western "Chisum" as Billy the Kid's sidekick. Duke introduced him to director Howard Hawks, who screen-tested Chris and gave him a starring roles in Hawks' last film, "Rio Lobo". Chris saddled up one more time with the Duke in "Big Jake" before striking out on his own.
With such a strong foundation now formed and fully equipped with his father's laid-back good looks and adventurous nature, Chris proved to be an assured action lead. After a long dry spell, however, he was told by the casting director of "Steelyard Blues" that she could not interview him because he had worked with Wayne. In those highly political times, Chris' career took a downturn and he went to Europe to find work. The films he found, however, were of a lesser grade and quite violent in comparison to his father's sturdy work, with such obvious titles as "Death Feud", "SFX Retaliator", "Aftershock", "Striking Point" and "Lycanthrope". He was popular in such foreign markets as Spain, Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Phillipines, so he continued to churn out products there including "Master Samurai", "Chinese Commandos", "American Commandos" and "Final Score".
Chris actually prefers writing these days and co-penned the screenplay for "Angel of Fury". After a noticeable absence, he filmed a role in son Bentley Mitchum's horror yarn "The Ritual". Chris' son, who also produced, wrote and directed, is part of a third generation of acting Mitchums, which includes older daughter Carrie Mitchum.
Mitchum appeared in more than 60 films in 14 countries. He was cited by Box Office magazine as one of the top five stars of the future and the recipient of Photoplay's Gold Medal Award for 1972. He won both The Golden Horse Award (1981) and The Golden Reel, Best Actor award (1988, Indonesia). He has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1978. He was the Screen Actors Guild national first vice president, in 1987–89 and a member of the SAG board of directors, in 1983–89.
Mitchum has resided in the Santa Barbara, California, area (Central Coast) since 1984. He ran for the California State Assembly in 1998 and the U.S. House of Representatives, 24th Congressional District, in 2012 and 2014.
For more information about Chris click: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0593844/
Robert Fuller was born in Troy, New York. He and his mother moved to Florida when he was 5 years old where he later attended Miami Military Academy. After his mother remarried, the family moved to Key West, Florida where he attended high school. After completing school he moved to Hollywood with his parents.
Robert began working in films as an extra and eventually wound up doing stunt work, doubling such actors as Steve McQueen and Jerry Lewis. However, his career was put on hold while he served in the army infantry during the Korean Conflict. After completing his tour of duty, Robert returned to the states where he joined Richard Boone’s acting class. Boone eventually convinced Robert to continue his studies in New York with Sanford Meisner, at the Neighborhood Playhouse. After completing his studies in New York, Robert returned to Hollywood.
Robert began to get the attention of the industry with appearances in numerous television shows, including LUX PLAYHOUSE OF THE STARS, ALCOA PREMIER, KRAFT SUSPENSE, and BOB HOPE CRYSLER THEATER. Robert’s big break came in 1959 with the starring role of Jess Harper, in the hit series "Laramie". During "Laramie's" four year run, Robert’s career skyrocketed, not only in the USA, but also in Germany, where he won five Golden Otto Awards (Germany’s equivalent to the Emmy Award) and in Japan, where he won Japan’s Best Actor’s award in 1961. Robert also received the highest award ever given to an American at that time: “The Golden Order of Merit”, awarded under the direction of the Emperor of Japan and presented by the Japanese Red Cross for his work with physically challenged and orphaned Japanese children.
At the conclusion of "Laramie", Universal Studios offered Robert the role of the scout Cooper Smith on the long running series "Wagon Train". Robert also did a number of guest star appearances on TV and worked in such films as "Return of the Magnificent Seven", "Whatever Happened to Aunt Alice", "Incident at Phantom Hill", "Sinai Commandoes" and "The Hard Ride". It was his performance in this movie as a veteran Marine, returning home from Vietnam that prompted Jack Webb to cast Fuller as Dr. Kelly Brackett in the NBC series "Emergency".
Robert has not limited himself to one medium, having done some stage work, which he really enjoyed. He had lead roles in plays including "Wait Until Dark", "Mr. Roberts", "Boeing, Boeing, Boeing" and Neil Simon's "Chapter Two".
Robert’s distinctive voice has been heard on many promotional announcements and commercials, both voice over and on camera. Robert was also the National Spokesperson for seven years for Teledyne Water-Pik and for Budweiser Malt Liquor.
An avid outdoorsman, Robert has been able to put his skills to good use. His love of fishing made his job as the on-camera host of the syndicated sport shows "Fishing Fever", "Blue Water Challenge" and "Colorado River Adventure" one of the most enjoyable of his career.
On April 12, 2008, Robert was inducted into the NATIONAL COWBOY AND WESTERN HERITAGE MUSEUM in Oklahoma City where he received THE WESTERN HERITAGE AWARD and a plaque in the HALL OF GREAT WESTERN PERFORMERS. This along with three long running television series, films, and awards and seeing his star included on the HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME, just blocks from the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater where he worked as a young man, are some of his personally most satisfying experiences.
Today Robert makes his home on a ranch in North Texas with his wife, actress Jennifer Savidge Fuller.
For more information about Robert click: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0298333/
The 2019 Memphis Film Festival will be paying tribute to the great TV shows and movies of the past. To fit that theme, we have invited guests who have direct connections to those wonderful programs!
Additional guests will be added as they are confirmed.
All guests appear on the condition of their availability.
Patrick Wayne is a veteran of over thirty-five motion pictures, four television series, numerous television shows and commercials.
Son of famed Academy Award winning actor, John Wayne, and godson of Oscar winning director, John Ford, Patrick found this to be a double advantage when starting out in this highly competitive business.
Patrick Wayne has won star billing on his own right, accepting roles which have taken him clear around the world from Mexico to the Philippines, to Europe and Africa.
Wayne was born in Los Angeles, California, and attended Cathedral Chapel Grammar School, and upon graduation applied to Loyola High School where he ranked in the top ten of a thousand applicants. While there, he became president of the freshman class and was treasurer during his sophomore year. As a student, he also earned life membership in the California Scholarship Federation, an honorary organization in which members are selected on the basis of scholastic achievement. In addition to his accomplishments as a student, he participated in track and played two years of varsity football and was honored by being elected captain of the football team in his senior year.
Upon graduation, Wayne entered Loyola University in California, joined Alpha Delta Gamma fraternity in his sophomore year and he became its president as a senior. He received his B.S. degree in Biology and a minor in Philosophy.
Shortly after graduation from college, he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard where he spent eight years on active duty and in the reserves.
Wayne began his acting career at the age of eleven and, with the exception of active duty in the Coast Guard, he's been at it ever since. "I had reservations about becoming an actor from the time that I entered college," he says, "I thought I would get a better perspective about a career if my major were something apart from acting. College years and time in the Coast Guard gave me a more objective slant and I finally decided that I wanted a career in the entertainment business."
Many of the films Wayne has appeared in have become memorable examples of American motion picture making. His credits include "The Long Grey Line", "Mister Roberts", "The Searchers", "The Alamo" and "McLintock!" to name but a few.
In television, Wayne has been equally active having starred in two dramatic series, "Shirley" and "The Rounders" and made a number of other pilots for series including "Susie Mahoney" a Norman Lear-CBS TV situation comedy starring Suzanne Somers. He has guest starred on episodes of such well known series as "Charlie's Angels", "The Love Boat", "Fantasy Island", "Police Woman", "Marcus Welby, M.D.", "Love American Style", "Murder She Wrote", "Frank's Place", "Sledge Hammer" and "Matt Houston".
He has also starred on such movies for TV as "Flight to Holocaust", "Yesterday's Child", "The Last Hurrah", "Three on a Date" and "The Grizzly Adams Easter Special." He was also host of the variety series, "The Monte Carlo Show".
He made his debut in the theatre in 1981 and whenever his schedule permits he pursues "work on the boards."
He has been the Chairman of the Board of the John Wayne Cancer Institute since 2003.
Wayne lives in the lovely Toluca Lake section of Los Angeles and is the father of three children, Michael, Melanie and Anthony. His son. Matthew, is a freshman at York University in England.
For more information about Patrick click: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0915618/