In 1971, Chris Mitchum won Photoplay’s Gold Medal Award and was picked by Box Office magazine as one of the top five stars of the future along with Ryan O’Neal.
But everything came to a screeching halt after a major role in John Wayne’s “Big Jake.”
“I went 11 months without one interview, “ Mitchum remembers, despite the fact that the film industry was booming at the time. Finally, the casting director on the comedy “Steelyard Blues” gave Mitchum the heads up.
“You worked with John Wayne, I can’t even interview you.”
Looking back at those times, it all falls into place. The Vietnam War was still a very raw wound and Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland, two of Hollywood’s biggest, unapologetic far left-wingers, were the film’s stars with Sutherland serving as an executive producer.
The far left had finally made their move and were taking over Hollywood with critical box office successes like “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), “Easy Rider” (1969), “M*A*S*H” (1970) and “Klute” (1971).
“Duke was very outspoken about his views on the Vietnam War and how the returning troops had been treated, being spit on and insulted. He made so much money for the studios that he couldn’t be affected, but liberal Hollywood never forgave him for making ‘The Green Berets,'” Mitchum recalls.