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Louis Clinton Kimbrough (March 8, 1933 – April 9, 1996) was an American actor born in Allen, Oklahoma.
Clint Kimbrough was born to Fred and Lucinda (Yoakum) Kimbrough in Oklahoma City. After his birth, his family moved to Allen Oklahoma where Clint, nicknamed “Scooter Bill”, attended and graduated from Allen High School (AHS) with the class of 1951.
By the age of 15, it was clear that Kimbrough had theatrical ability. As the President of Allen’s Teen Town, in 1948 he helped stage the “Gay Nineties Ball”. As a junior at AHS, he wrote, produced and directed the 1950 senior play, a full-length production entitled Broadway. After graduation from AHS, Kimbrough enrolled for a year at Oklahoma University.
He then completed a two-year stint in the U.S. Signal Corps, stationed in Korea, before the 20-year-old "Lewis Clinton Kimbrough" made his professional stage debut in Brandon Thomas' play Charley's Aunt in 1953.
American Academy of Dramatic Arts – The Actors Studio
He subsequently enrolled in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and shortly thereafter, with the help of fellow Oklahoman Lonny Chapman, secured a spot in Lee Strasberg's Actor's Studio, an incubator for many of the most promising talents of the era. Kimbrough quickly gained a reputation for his ability to understand the character he was asked to play. The Actor's Studio work resulted in his first film work in The Strange One, which used completely a cast and crew of Actor's Studio personnel. An appearance in A Face in the Crowd followed and produced a working relationship with director Elia Kazan that would span ten years.
Television and film
The late 1950s also brought numerous appearances on live television productions at a time when there were only three major networks. Literally millions of viewers tuned into weekly shows such as “Westinghouse Studio One”, “G.E. Theater” and “U.S. Steel Hour”. A feature role in Hal B. Wallis’ 1958 “Hot Spell” preceded performances in a highly acclaimed 11-month run on Broadway of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” as well as an NBC TV production of the same, both directed by Jose Quintero. The 1960s produced some of Kimbrough's most distinguished work in the theater and on Broadway, performing the works of Shakespeare, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams. Kimbrough moved from New York to Hollywood in the late 1960s and soon developed an association with Roger Corman, "King of the B Movies", with roles in several notable 1970s film productions such as “Von Richtohfen and Brown”, “Bloody Mama”, “Crazy Mama” and the “Nurse” movies.
Kimbrough died in Ada, Oklahoma, of pneumonia.
Clint Kimbrough Film Festival
Since 2007, in Allen, Oklahoma during the annual Alumni Weekend in June, a film festival has been held with the goal to provide the public with better understanding and appreciation for the amazing career of Allen's most recognized entertainer.
The McDonald twins, Joy and June, are acting Co-Directors of the CKFF.
Crazy Mama (1970) – The first scene stars Kimbrough as Daniel the father, but he is dead and out of the movie before the opening credits. The remainder of the movie is a celebration of 1950s Americana. General mayhem follows three generations of women as their crime spree races from California to their old family homestead in Arkansas. Also includes the original theatrical trailer. Starring Cloris Leachman, Stuart Whitman, Ann Sothern, Jim Backus and Donny Most. Story by Frances Doel (Kimbrough's former wife). Directed by Jonathan Demme. Produced by Roger Corman (King of the B Movies).
The Young Nurses (1973) – (as Director) – Several effective and innovative directorial techniques. For example, much higher Joe Bob Briggs Breast Count than Night Call Nurses. Innovative use of the dream sequence. Includes several scenes with great double entendre jokes. Also includes the original theatrical movie trailer. Screen appearances include Sally Kirkland, cult genius Sam Fuller and an uncredited Robert Urich. Produced by Roger Corman.
Magic Carpet (November 6, 1972) – Starring Susan Saint James, Jim Backus, Wally Cox and Nanette Fabray with Kimbrough as John Doolittle. An American language student in Rome (St. James) hires on as a tour guide and becomes involved with a handsome “stowaway” who turns out to be a fugitive from the law. Kimbrough portrays a newly-wed groom, constantly exhausted, on a honeymoon tour with his new bride. Filmed on location and first broadcast by NBC as the pilot for a weekly TV series. The project failed to post a sale and St. James went on to costar in McMillan & Wife.
The Crucible (1972) – A New Mexico State University production opening September 30, 1972. The Arthur Miller play, first produced in New York in 1955, explores the notorious witch hunts of Salem, Mass. Starring Kimbrough as NMSU guest artist, in the role of Jon Proctor and featuring Cornelia Easterling and Marcia Thomas.
Night Call Nurses (1972) – Kimbrough delivers a fantastic performance as the evil Dr. Bramlett and is featured in several memorable scenes as a devious Psychiatrist involved in a psychological experiment with one of the Night Call Nurses. Includes appearances by Patty Byrne, Alana Stewart, Felton Perry, James Milhollin and Dixie Peabody. Directed by Jonathan Kaplan. Produced by Roger Corman.
The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail (1971) – Opened October 13, 1971 at the New Mexico State University Theater starring Kimbrough in the role of Henry David Thoreau. The play, by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, was scheduled to be made into a 1972 movie produced by Hal B. Wallis with Paul Nathan, as associate producer. Kimbrough was in line for the role of Thoreau’s younger brother, but the production was apparently never completed.
Von Richthofen and Brown (1971) – An entertaining World War I recreation “starring” 2 guys (John Phillip Law and Don Stroud), “co-starring” 3 and “featuring” about 10 including Kimbrough as the German Major Von Hoeppner. Not a great deal of screen time for Kimbrough, as much of the film is aerial dog-fights and actions shots, but Von Hoeppner participates in many of the scenes when Von Richthofen is not flying. Directed and Produced by Roger Corman.
Bloody Mama (1970) – One of the highest profile movies of Kimbrough's career. A low Joe Bob Briggs Breast Count – one scene – however, liberal use of fake blood, explicit language (no F bombs), guns, violence, drugs and sexual innuendo. Fantastic low-budget movie with a big name cast including Shelley Winters, Robert De Niro, Bruce Dern, Don Stroud, Robert Walden and Diane Varsi. As Arthur Barker, the least psychotic of the Barker boys, he has many memorable scenes. Worth seeing just for a very young Robert De Niro. Directed by Roger Corman.
Marat/Sade (1966) – This is a 1967 movie version of the Peter Weiss play (the full title is “The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as performed by the inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade”), described as “one of the most daring and unusual emotional experiences ever to be put on the stage” - meaning a very weird play. In the original play opened October 24, 1966 at Theatre Co. of Boston, Kimbrough played Marat. The movie version has Ian Richardson as Marat.
Henry IV, Part One (1966) – The Milwaukee Repertory Theater’s rendition of Shakespeare’s 1597 or 1598 play opened February 27, 1966. Noted by Time Magazine as the richest of Shakespeare’s chronicle plays, Henry IV featured James Gallery in the title role with Kimbrough as his roistering son, Prince Hal. Pamela Payton-Wright and James Storm also performed as members of the repertory company.
Diary of a Scoundrel (1965) – Opened November 18, 1965. A production of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Alexander Ostrovsky’s 1910 satire on a young man who successfully utilizes the nouveau-riches’ stupidity for personal gain starred Stefan Gierasch, Virginia Payne and Kimbrough as the hero, Gloumov. Directed by Stephen Porter.
Saint Joan (1965) – The Milwaukee Repertory Theater opened a new season with George Bernard Shaw’s play of idea’s on October 29, 1965. Directed by Phillip Minor with Mary Doyle in the title role. Also included Stefan Gierasch, Bennett Sargent, Donald Gantry with Kimbrough in the role of Dunois.
Tartuffe (1965) – A production which ran January 14, 1965 through May 22, 1965 at the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center in New York City under the direction of Elia Kazan and Robert Whitehead. According to the October 3, 1971 Las Cruces Post, Kimbrough performed, in an unnamed role, in Tartuffe during his tenure as a member of the Lincoln Center Repertory Company.
Incident at Vichy (1965) – Kimbrough played Nazi Professor Hoffman in this 1965 Arthur Miller Broadway play. Set in September, 1942 at a detention room in Vichy, France the play focuses on nine men who have been picked up on suspicion that they are Jews or Jewish sympathizers. A production of the Lincoln Center Repertory Co. under the direction of Elia Kazan. The 2002 DVD is a recorded stage production directed by Stacy Keach.
The Changeling (1964) – A recently recorded (2006) adaptation of a play in which Kimbrough performed as Pedro. John Phillip Law and Barbara Loden (wife of Elia Kazan) starred in the lead roles. Faye Dunaway was also in this 1964 play. Originally written in 1653, the play is a story of desire, love, deceit and murder. A production of the Lincoln Center Repertory Co. under the direction of Elia Kazan.
But For Whom Charlie (1964) – A comedy by S.N. Behrman for the Lincoln Center Repertory Co. under the direction of Elia Kazan. Kimbrough in a leading role as Willard Prosper with Faye Dunnaway as his sister, Faith Prosper. Also with Jason Robards, Jr.
Come Blow Your Horn (1963) – Written by Neil Simon and made into a movie starring Frank Sinatra, this comedy opened August 20, 1963 performed by the Peninsula Players. Kimbrough performed in the role of the elder brother with Dal Norris, Leo Locker and Maggy Magerstadt also among the cast.
The Zoo Story (1963) – Opened off-Broadway in 1959 with Kimbrough performing in a 1963 production by the Peninsula Players of Fish Creek, Wisconsin. A one-act play written by Edward Albee. Kimbrough portrays a young hoodlum. Also featuring Ralph Waite.
Shot in the Dark (1963) – Opened July 16, 1963 at the Peninsula Players Fish Creek Theater. A mystery farce adapted by Harry Kurnitz that had an 11-month run on Broadway the previous season. Kimbrough played the young magistrate with Leo Lucker as master of the house. Pat Randall played the naive parlor maid and Jeannette Leahy performed as Kimbrough's wife. Directed by Paul Melton.
Time Remembered (1963) – A romantic comedy that opened July 9, 1963 at the Peninsula Players Garden Theatre in Fish Creek, Wisconsin. Written by Jean Anouith with successful productions both in London and New York. Featured Anna Niemela, Estelle Ritchie and Clint Kimbrough as Prince Albert.
Look, We’ve Come Through (1961) – Premiering October 25, 1961 at the Hudson Theatre, this Broadway play by Hugh Wheeler was described as “a really first rate American play” by Newsday. A comedy/drama portraying plain and vulnerable teen, Belle, who develops a hesitant friendship with another outcast – shy and sensitive Bobby. With a small cast of 4 men and 2 women, it received a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress. Opening night featured Kimbrough, along with Zohra Lampert, Ralph Williams and Burt Reynolds. Directed by Jose Quintero.
U.S. Steel Hour: Summer Rhapsody (May 3, 1961) – Season 8, Episode 18 of this popular CBS anthology series featured Kimbrough in the romantic lead opposite newcomer Abigail Kellogg. Also starring Glenda Farrell in a recurring role with Tom Tully as a guest star. Written by John Holt. U.S. Steel Hour ran from 1953 to 1963. (1953-1955 on ABC, 1955-1963 on CBS).
Laurette (1960) – Directed by Jose Quintero opening at the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, Connecticut on September 30, 1960. This production included Clint Kimbrough as Jack, son of Laurette, Joan Hackett, Judy Holliday and Patrick O’Neal. Written by Stanley Young from a biography of Laurette Taylor by Marguerite Courtney. Laurette Taylor was an American actress of the 1920s who suffered from severe alcoholism.
Camino Real (1960) – This Tennessee Williams play had its Broadway premiere on March 19, 1953 at New York’s Martin Beck Theatre. The production, which ran for 60 performances, was directed by Elia Kazan. Opening night cast included Eli Wallach, Martin Balsam and Hurd Hatfield. A September 4, 1960 Daily Oklahoman article reported that Kimbrough had performed in Camino Real off-Broadway in the role of Kilroy. This St. Marks Playhouse revival opened May 16, 1960 and was directed by Jose Quintero. This DVD is an October 7, 1966 television production starring Tom Aldredge and Martin Sheen as Kilroy.
R.C.M.P. (Royal Canadian Mounted Police): Target for the Law (May 4, 1960) – Kimbrough appears as Mattice in episode 25 of season 1, in which a man whose wife plans to divorce him is threatened by the man she intends to marry. The romantic triangle becomes a deadly affair when the husband is found shot. Corporal Jacques Gagnier (Gilles Pelletier) gathers evidence to help the court decide whether or not a man is guilty of murder. Also features Mildred Trares as Lois and John Drainie as Garneau.
General Electric Theater: The Last Dance (November 22, 1959) – Starring Clint Kimbrough, Carol Lynley, Mary Astor and Malcolm Atterbury in a story about two young people, Gene and Phyllis, in love against the wishes of their parents. The pair of high school lovers elope and quickly discover they can’t manage alone. They end up relying heavily on the boy’s parents. G.E. Theater was a half-hour CBS television anthology series broadcast every Sunday evening beginning February 1, 1953 and ending May 27, 1962. Ronald Reagan became the show’s only host on September 26, 1954 which consistently ranked in the Top Ten of the Nielsen ratings.
Our Town (November 13, 1959) – With Art Carney as the Stage manager and Kimbrough as George Gibbs. Directed by Jose Quintero. This NBC production presents Thornton Wilder’s modern classic with much of the cast, which included Kimbrough, that performed in an 11-month off-Broadway run at Circle-In-The-Square. The plot centers around the love story of two young people, neighbors since childhood, who grew up, married and parted when the young wife died in childbirth.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Appointment at Eleven (October 11, 1959) – As part of Alfred Hitchcock Presents fifth season, Kimbrough, in the starring role as Davie Logan, storms into a bar as an angry young man and shocks the patrons by announcing that someone is going to die at 11:00pm. Also startling is his assertion that he himself has been “dead” for five years, but is on the verge of being “reborn”. The outcome of the story is predicated on the fact that Davie’s no-good father deserted him and his mother…five years ago. Features Clu Gulager of Holdenville and a short appearance by a young Michael J. Pollard.
U. S. Steel Hour: Trap for a Stranger (February 25, 1959) – With George C. Scott, Dick Van Dyke and Clinton Kimbrough as Elroy Hubbard in this prestigious live dramatic anthology series on CBS. In this episode, the capture of a television comedian speeding in his sports car hardly seems a suitable exploit for an ambitious small-town marshal, but TV marshals who catch something besides cattle rustlers are a refreshing rarity. The Marshal arrests the television star and attempts to pin a hit-and-run rap on him. The Marshal’s wife realizes that it’s a ploy for re-election and publicity.
Desire Under the Elms (1959) – A Eugene O’Neill play first published in 1924, revived on stage in 1952 with a 1958 film version. The play had various later stage revivals including a 1959 stock theatre production starring Salome Jens as Abbie Putnam. The Actors Studio archive refers to a rehearsal recording of Kimbrough and Jens titled “Desire Under the Elms” dated January 6, 1959. Kimbrough likely performed in this 1959 play with Jens. Jens went on to also star in a 1963 version directed by Jose Quintero, with whom Kimbrough also worked later.
Hot Spell (1958) – Anthony Quinn and Shirley Booth play a married couple, Jack and Alma Duval, in this Hollywood melodrama set in steamy New Orleans. The children, Buddy (Earl Holliman), Virginia (Shirley MacLaine) and Billy (Clint Kimbrough) are subjected to the spousal turmoil of an unfaithful husband and a neglected wife struggling to reassemble her battered marriage. Directed by Daniel Mann. Produced by Hall Wallis.
Studio One: The Night America Trembled (September 9, 1957) – The prestigious CBS dramatic anthology, Studio One, launched its tenth season on the air with this elaborate dramatization of the nationwide panic that ensued after Orson Welles’ famous War of the Worlds radio broadcast of October 30, 1938. Kimbrough is featured as Bob, a college student on a date. Includes appearances by Ed Asner, Warren Oates, Warren Beatty, James Coburn and Vincent Gardenia. Hosted and narrated by Edward R. Murrow. Includes classic Westinghouse commercials featuring Betty Furness and John Cameron Swayze, as well as a 10-minute short highlighting future stars that had roles in the series.
Studio One: The Weston Strain (May 27, 1957) – Most likely Kimbrough’s first television appearance. Guest starring in the role of Paul along with Dick York and Conrad Nagle, among others. This was Kimbrough's first appearance on the highly regarded CBS anthology series sponsored by Westinghouse. He would later appear in the Studio One episode "The Night America Trembled".
The Strange One (1957) – According to Kimbrough's biography in the Mister Roberts program, Kimbrough had a small part in this Jack Garfein directed film based on Calder Willingham’s play “End As A Man.” It was released by Columbia in April, 1957, filmed entirely with cast and technicians from the Actors Studio. Perhaps the first film appearance of Kimbrough's career, filmed sometime prior to November, 1956. Revolving around the brutalization and corruption of young men at a Southern military academy, it launched several brilliant careers, including Ben Gazzara, Pat Hingle and George Peppard. Filmed on location in Gulfport, Florida.
South Pacific (1957) – Clint Kimbrough was included as an uncredited member of the cast (one of the sailors) and performed in such numbers as “Bloody Mary is the Girl I Love” and “There’s Nothing Like a Dame.” This production, staged during the spring 1957 season at the New York City Center by the NYCC Light Opera Company under the directed by Jean Dalrymple, also featured Harvey Lembeck, Martin Wolfson and Juanita Hall. Hall went on to star as Bloody Mary in the 1958 Academy Award-winning film version of James M. Michener’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel.
Mister Roberts (1956) – Kimbrough appeared as Payne in the December 10, 1956 New York City Center production directed by John Forsythe starring Charlton Heston. The NYCC production was Burt Reynolds’ first professional stage appearance. The DVD is a popular 1955 movie version starring Henry Fonda, James Cagney, William Powell, Jack Lemmon and Besty Palmer. Written by Thomas Heggen, the play originally debuted in 1948 at the Alvin Theatre, starring Henry Fonda, for 1,157 performances.
Dulcy (1956) – Kimbrough performed in the role of Tom Sterrett in this George S. Kaufman comedy as a senior at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Staged at the Coronet Theatre in New York City, March 29, 1956, the play had originally opened in New York on August 13, 1921. The play was made into a film at least 3 times – a silent version in 1923, a version in 1930 under the title “Not So Dumb” and a 1940 MGM version starring Ann Sothern.
Picnic (1955) - While studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Kimbrough appeared as Bomber, the paper boy, in the opening night production at the Barbizon-Plaza Theatre in New York City on October 28, 1955. The original Broadway production of this play starred Paul Newman and Eileen Heckart, winning both the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. William Holden, Rosalind Russell and Kim Novak went on to star in the Academy Award-winning film version.
Charley's Aunt (1953) – A 20-year-old “Lewis Clinton Kimbrough”, as Brassett, performed in this perennial comedy while making his stage debut as a member of the Gateway Stock Company of New York at Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 1953. This Brandon Thomas play was first performed at London’s Theatre Royal in 1892. The DVDs are a 1941 film version (82 min) starring Jack Benny in the principal role (with a 10-minute short promo about the film) and a live 1957 adaptation from Playhouse 90 with Art Carney (90 min with vintage commercials).
Broadway (March 10, 1950) – As a junior at Allen High School, 17-year-old Louis Clinton “Scooter Bill” Kimbrough wrote, directed and produced this full-length play featuring performances by Kimbrough, the McDonald Twins and other Allen High School students, included Ronald Jones singing “Valencia” and Glenna Jones singing “Alice Blue Gown”. Staged at the AHS Gymnasium. Admission – 25 cents.
Unconfirmed Stage Performances and the Actors Studio Recordings, 1957-1959 The Actors Studio Recordings, housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society, contain recorded rehearsals of plays, the dates the readings were held, and the actors and actresses that participated in them. Except for Desire Under the Elms, insufficient collaborating evidence has been discovered to reasonably determine that Clint Kimbrough performed in a stage production of the play referred to in the recordings archives.
- No. 66A Side 2 Desire Under the Elms (Salome Jens, Clint Kimbrough), January 6, 1959.
- No. 33 Side 1 La Ronde (?) (Clint Kimbrough, Bryarly Lee), December 31, 1957.
- No. 36 Side 2 La Ronde (Clint Kimbrough, Bryarly Lee) [0-116], June 7, 1958.
- No. 26E Side 1 “Exercise” (Clint Kimbrough) October 25, 1957
- No. 26G Side 1 Lucy Crown (Nan Martin, Clint Kimbrough), November 8, 1957.
- No. 57B Side 1 Mourning Becomes Electra [Director: John Stix] (Geraldine Page, Clint Kimbrough), May 27, 1958.
- No. 43 Side 1 & 2 The Sound and the Fury (Clint Kimbrough), February 4, 1958.
- No. 48 Side 1 The Sound and the Fury (Clint Kimbrough, Pat Sales), February 25, 1958.
The lost unknown episodes
- The Unknown 2nd Hal B. Wallis Production - Hollywood film producer Hal “Wallis recently placed Kimbrough under contract for a minimum of two pictures a year”. The first production was the 1958 “Hot Spell”. (Quotes from an article in the January 5, 1958 issue of The Daily Oklahoman).
- The Unknown Armstrong Circle Theater Episode – “Television mass media was in its experimental infancy when Kimbrough…performed live instead of videotaped…” Armstrong Circle Theater was among the network produced dramas listed. (Quotes from a July 23, 1984 Tulsa World article).
- Daily Oklahoman, September 26, 1948
- Ada Evening News, July 12, 1953
- Ada Evening News, December 22, 1957
- El Paso Herald Post, September 30, 1972
- Las Cruces Sun News, October 3, 1971
- The Harvard Crimson, October 29, 1966
- Sunday Post Crescent, February 27, 1966
- Sunday Post Crescent, November 21, 1965
- Fond du Lac Commonwealth Reporter, October 29, 1965
- Daily Northwestern, August 15, 1963
- Appleton Post Crescent, July 24, 1963
- Daily Northwestern, July 19, 1963
- Daily Northwestern, July 9, 1963
- Sunday Oklahoman, September 4, 1960
- Daily Oklahoman, November 15, 1959
- Actors Studio Recordings, 1956–1959, Wisconsin historical Society
- Mister Roberts, New York City Center Program, December 16, 1965
- South Pacific, New York City Center Program, April 29, 1957
- Dulcy, American Academy of Dramatic Arts Program, March 29, 1956
- Picnic, American Academy of Dramatic Arts Program, October 28, 1955