Cameron Mitchell (actor)

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Cameron Mitchell
Cameron Mitchell in Love Me or Leave Me trailer.jpg
Mitchell in the trailer for Love Me or Leave Me (1955)
Born November 4, 1918
Dallastown, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died July 7, 1994(1994-07-07) (aged 75)
Pacific Palisades, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1945–1994
Spouse(s) Johanna Mendel (m. 1940–60)
Lissa Mitchell (m. ?–1973)
Margaret Mozingo Mitchell (m. 1973–76)

Cameron Mitchell (November 4, 1918 – July 7, 1994[1]) was an American film, television, and Broadway actor with close ties to one of Canada's most successful families, and considered by Lee Strasberg to be one of the founding members of The Actor's Studio in New York City.

Early life and career[edit]

Born Cameron McDowell Mitzell in Dallastown, Pennsylvania to Rev. Charles and Kathryn Mitzell, young Cameron moved to Chicora, Pennsylvania in 1921 when his father was accepted as pastor of the St. John's Reformed Church, Butler PA (Donegal Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania).[2]

Between the first and second world wars, during his years as a young actor in Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne's National Theater Company, Fontanne suggested that Cameron's surname sounded "a bit too much like the Hun" and insisted he change it to "Mitchell".

Mitchell served as a bombardier with the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.

His film career began with minor roles in films dating back to 1945, including They Were Expendable (with John Wayne and Robert Montgomery), but Mitchell quickly rose to leading man status. He co-starred with Wallace Beery in The Mighty McGurk, with Doris Day and James Cagney in Love Me or Leave Me, with Gary Cooper, Susan Hayward and Richard Widmark in Garden of Evil, with Lana Turner and Spencer Tracy in Cass Timberlane, with Clark Gable, Robert Ryan and Jane Russell in The Tall Men, with Marlon Brando, Merle Oberon and Jean Simmons in Désirée, and with Joanne Woodward and Sheree North in No Down Payment.

Some of his best known films were the 1951 adaptation of Death of a Salesman (he originated the role of Happy on Broadway), the 1952 version of Les Miserables (as Marius), the 1953 comedy How to Marry a Millionaire (with Marilyn Monroe), and 1956's film version of the stage musical Carousel. He voiced Jesus of Nazareth in The Robe. Mitchell also played a Police Detective in the 1983 film, Dixie Ray, Hollywood Star.[3]

During the 1960s, Mitchell starred in numerous Italian sword and sandal, horror, fantasy, and thriller films, several of which were directed by Mario Bava, including Erik the Conqueror (1961), Blood and Black Lace (1964), and Knives of the Avenger (1966). He also participated in Spaghetti westerns, like Minnesota Clay by Sergio Corbucci. Mitchell played the leader of a white gang in the 1972 film Buck and the Preacher, also starring Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte.

Mitchell with Patricia Barry in The High Chaparral

Mitchell achieved success on television during the latter part of his career, where he is best remembered for starring as Buck Cannon in the 1960s/1970s NBC western series, The High Chaparral. He also appeared on an episode of Bonanza and ABC's S.W.A.T.. He guest starred on the brief Swiss Family Robinson TV series and the 'Landslide' episode of "Movin' On" in 1975. He appeared on Gene Evans's short-lived Spencer's Pilots on CBS in the fall of 1976. He also had roles in horror films and in many exploitation films such as the 1978 The Toolbox Murders, the 1978 creature feature The Swarm, the 1979 slasher film The Demon, the 1980 slasher Silent Scream, and the 1987 anthology film From a Whisper to a Scream.

He played a small comedic role as a 1950s era gangster in the 1982 comedy My Favorite Year and portrayed right-wing General Edwin A. Walker in Prince Jack (1985).

In 1979, he became the national spokesman for Ziebart in a series of television commercials that ran for several years.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In 1940, Mitchell married Johanna Mendel, the daughter of self-made Canadian business tycoon Fred Mendel. The Mendel family was based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where Fred Mendel founded Intercontinental Packers, a major family-owned meat packing operation.

Johanna Mitchell gave birth to their first son, Robert Cameron Mitchell, in New York on July 4, 1941. Although Mitchell and Johanna divorced in 1960, he maintained close ties to Canada. Their daughter, Camille Mitchell, and son, Cameron Mitchell, Jr., are both actors. Another son, Fred Mitchell, was president of Intercontinental Packers for many years working alongside his mother, Johanna Mitchell, who was Chairwoman of the Board. Today the company is known as Mitchell's Gourmet Foods and still operates out of Saskatoon, now owned by Maple Leaf Foods.


Mitchell died of lung cancer, aged 75, on July 7, 1994, in Pacific Palisades, California.[5] He is buried in Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.[1][6]

In popular culture[edit]

Mitchell's film roles have been a focal point on RedLetterMedia's web series, "Best of the Worst". Jay Bauman has referred to Mitchell as "our mascot" and his appearance in films is always celebrated by those who appear on the show. Panelists on the show have made allusions to Mitchell possibly battling alcoholism in later life. His performances in low-quality B-movies such as Deadly Prey, Terror in Beverly Hills, Space Mutiny, Low Blow and Killpoint are considered by fans of the "so bad it's good" B-movie culture to be highly awkward, as Mitchell frequently seems unprepared and/or uninterested when on screen.[citation needed]

Selected filmography[edit]


  • Colt.45 - episode - Point of Honor - Dr. Allen McMurdo (1958)
  • Wagon Train (1959) The Duke LeMay Story
  • The Untouchables - episode - Ain't we Got Fun - Johnny Paycheck (1959)
  • Bonanza - episode - A House Divided - Fredrick Kyle (1960)
  • Daniel Boone - episode - The Fifth Man - George Rogers Clark (1966)
  • Daniel Boone - episode - The Loser's Race - James Dorsey (1966)
  • McCloud - episode - Somebody's Out to Get Jennie - Robert Devlin (1971)
  • The F.B.I. - episode - Bitter Harbor - Unknown (1971)
  • Mod Squad - episode - Home is the Streets - Karl Milligan (1971)
  • McMillan & Wife - episode - Night of the Wizard - Harry Hastings (1972)
  • Night Gallery - episode - Finnegan's Flight - Pete Tuttle (1972)
  • Night Gallery - episode - Green Fingers/The Funeral/The Tune in Dan's Cafe - Michael J. Saunders (1972)
  • Ironside - episode - Buddy Can you Spare a Dime? - Kent (1972)
  • Alias Smith and Jones - Which Way to the O.K. Corral? - Wyatt Earp (1972)
  • The Magician - episode - Illusion in Terror - Walter C. Marsh/Canfield (1973)
  • Hawkins - episode - Murder in Movieland - Jake Parkins (1973)
  • Mission Impossible - episode - The Fountain - Matthew Drake (1973)
  • Ironside - episode - The Helping Hand - Graham (1973)
  • Police Story - episode - Line of Fire - Arnie Holcombe (1973)
  • Hawaii Five O - episode - Welcome to our Branch Office - Bowman (1974)
  • Ironside - episode - What's New with Mark - Kincaid (1974)
  • Amy Prentiss - episode - The Desperate World of Jane Doe - Satin Charlie (1974)
  • Gunsmoke - episode - The Iron Man - Chauncey Demon (1974)
  • The Swiss Family Robinson - TV movie - Jeremiah Worth (1975)
  • S.W.A.T. - episode - Jungle War - Bo Pritchard (1975)
  • Cannon - episode - The Investigator - Peter DeAba (1975)
  • Movin' On - episode - Landslide - Casey's Father (1975)
  • The Swiss Family Robinson - 20 episodes - Jeremiah Worth (1975-1976)
  • Bronk - episode - The Vigilante - Mankowski (1976)
  • Testimony of Two Men - miniseries - Jeremiah Hadley (1977)
  • Hunter - episode = UFM 13 (1977)
  • Quincy, M.E. - episode - Last of the Dinosaurs - Dan Granger (1977)
  • Police Story - episode - Stigma - Taggart (1977)
  • Fantasy Island - episode - Return to Fantasy Island - Raoul (1978)
  • Fantasy Island - episode - The Big Dipper/The Pirate - Sgt. Broylan (1978)
  • Vega$ - episode - Lady Ice - Willie 'Sparrow' Salter (1978)
  • How the West Was Won - Mini series - episodes - #1.1-1.3 - Coulee John Brinkerhoff (1978)
  • Vega$ - episode - Lady Ice - Willie 'Sparrow' Salter (1978)
  • Greatest Heroes of the Bible - episode - Joshua and the Battle of Jericho - Assurabi (1978)
  • Fantasy Island - episode - Eddie Collins - The Chain Gang/The Boss (1979)
  • Hawaii Five O - episode - A Very Personal Matter - Tom Riorden (1979)
  • Charlie's Angels - episode - Avenging Angel - Frank Desmond (1979)
  • Vega$ - episode - Siege of the Desert Inn - Zinberg (1980)
  • Charlie's Angels - episode - To See An Angel Die - Tom Granger (1980)
  • Mrs. Columbo - episode - Love, On Instant Replay - Unknown (1980)
  • Magnum, P.I. - episode - Adelaide - Captain Charles Cathcart, U.S.N. Retired (1981)
  • Fantasy Island - episode - Devil and Mr. Roarke/Ziegfeld Girls/Kid Corey Rides Again - Sheriff Matt (1981)
  • The Incredible Hulk - episode - Goodbye Eddie Cain - Eddie Cain (1981)
  • Kenny Rogers as The Gambler: The Adventure Continues - TV movie/mini-series - Colonel Greeley (1983)
  • Knight Rider - episode - Diamonds Aren't a Girls Best Friend - Bernie Mitchell (1984)
  • Hardcastle and McCormick - episodes - The Homecoming: PARTS One and Two - Mayor Broadmore (1984)
  • Partners in Crime - episode - Duke - Duke (1984)
  • Murder, She Wrote - episode - Murder to a Jazz Beat - Dr. Aaron Kramer (1985)
  • Simon & Simon - episode - Something for Sarah - Ben Coffield (1986)
  • Dream West - TV mini-series - Commander Robert Stackton (1986)
  • Matlock - episode - The Network - Lane Lockletter (1987)


  1. ^ a b )"Palm Springs Cemetery District "Interments of Interest"" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  2. ^ Rev. Mitzell Served St. John's Reformed Church from December 1, 1921 to November 30, 1922.
  3. ^ "dixie ray hollywood star - porn movie - - internet adult film database". Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Grimes, William (July 9, 1994). "Cameron Mitchell, 75, Actor; Created Role in 'Salesman'". Retrieved July 2, 2010. 
  6. ^ Brooks, Patricia; Brooks, Jonathan (2006). "Chapter 8: East L.A. and the Desert". Laid to Rest in California: a guide to the cemeteries and grave sites of the rich and famous. Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press. p. 238. ISBN 978-0762741014. OCLC 70284362. 

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