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Gordon Mitchell
Born Charles Allen Pendleton
July 29, 1923(1923-07-29)
Denver, Colorado
Died September 20, 2003 (aged 80)
Marina Del Rey, California
Occupation Film actor, bodybuilder

Gordon Mitchell (born Charles Allen Pendleton; July 29, 1923 – September 20, 2003) was an American actor and bodybuilder.

Biography

Charles Allen Pendleton was born in Denver, Colorado, and began working out in his Denver neighbourhood to deal with his tough companions. Following U.S. Army service in World War II in the Battle of the Bulge where he was taken prisoner of war. He later obtained a degree at the University of Southern California under the G.I. Bill. He became a high school teacher and guidance counselor in Los Angeles where[1] due to his physique he was given classes containing many delinquent students.[2]

Following a return enlistment in the Korean War he found film extra work in movies such as Prisoner of War, The Man with the Golden Arm and Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments where he and his friend Joe Gold dragged Charlton Heston's Moses to Pharaoh Yul Brynner. Mae West chose him to appear in her nightclub act.

He was one of the American bodybuilder-actors who migrated to Italy in the wake of Steve Reeves after he sent a photo to an Italian producer who signed him on a contract. Prior to going to Italy, he saw a clairvoyant who asked him if he had ever been known by the name of Gordon Mitchell.[3] He replied no, but on arrival in Rome, Mitchell was given his new name.[4] He found work first in sword and sandal films such as Sinbad, Seven Slaves Against Rome, Treasure of the Petrified Forest (1965), then in Spaghetti Westerns.

From the early 1970s onwards, his career started to diversify into everything from horror (Dr. Frankenstein's Castle Of Freaks) (1974), Nazi exploitation (Achtung! The Desert Tigers!) (1977), Sexploitation ("Porno-Erotic Western"), (1979), French criminal comedy The Umbrella Coup (1980), and post-apocalyptic films (Endgame (1983). Mitchell appeared (as Hector) in the bizarre 1982 Israeli adaptation, directed by Avi Nesher, of H. Rider Haggard's She, which starred Sandahl Bergman. Mitchell also appeared in Satyricon (1969), directed by Federico Fellini.

Mitchell was close friends with fellow American expatriate actors Richard Harrison, Mike Monty (he appeared in a number of films with both and shared an apartment with Monty in Italy during the 1960s), and John P. Dulaney. Like Monty, Harrison and Dulaney, Mitchell acted in low-budget action films in the Philippines during the 1980s, having roles in Commando Invasion and SFX Retaliator for director John Gale.

He returned to the United States in the late 1980s and retired from acting but kept making occasional film appearances until his death from undisclosed causes in Marina Del Rey, California, aged 80.

References

  1. ^ L.A. Times obituary
  2. ^ Biodata
  3. ^ Tyler, Dick & Drapaer, Dave, West Coast Bodybuilding Scene: The Golden Age, p. 266, 2004 On Target Publications
  4. ^ Cinema Nocturna website

External links

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