Mine is Ben Johnson. I think he was a stunt man too.
Would Slim Pickens be classed as cowboy. His family may have been involved in ranching, but the obituary I read for him stated he used that name when he decided to become engaged in rodeos so his father would not find out. Apparently his father did not approve of rodeos, and the term Slim Pickens is a form of rodeo jargon. I have never heard that he was engaged in cowboying himself and I do not remember his correct name. I do know that I enjoyed watching him--especially when he was a lunatic who left a jet plane riding a you-know-what as if it were a bucking horse!
The first time I remember seeing Slim was on an
Louis Lindley was his real name. I guess that brings to mind.....is a person who depends on rodeo wins considered a cowboy or does he have to had worked on a ranch? Hmmm
If I remember correctly, Tom Mix may have been a true cowboy at one time.
A rodeo champion has to have some cowboy skills or he could never become a champion, but, that does not necessarily mean that he has ever worked as a cowboy. Some time ago, I saw a movie from the 1960s about a man who was one of his state's greatest experts on fishing, but who, it turned out, had never gone fishing! It was a scream. He was an expert with no practical experience. There are those who are called book experts because they know all there is to know about a subject even though they have never had any hands-on experience. I know Ben Johnson had been a stunt man and he did rodeoing, but whether or not he had experience as a cowboy, I don't know.
There's cowboys -- and then there's cowboys. For the people who grew up in the 30's it was Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tom Mix, Lash Larue, Bob Steele, and of course, Gabby Hayes and Smiley Burnette. For the modern "thinking man's cowboy" Clint Eastwood wins hands down. But ..... then there's Robert Duvall as Gus McCrae in Lonesome Dove, and Kevin Costner as Charlie in Open Range.
Slim Pickins and I shared a fence line for many years up in the foothills of the Mother Lode Country, here in California. I have fond memories afternoons drinking a cold beer in his barn, sitting on a bale of hay, chewing tobacco, and listening to his tales. My personal vote goes to him. He was not only fine actor, and a small rancher, he was a real gentleman ( he and his wife were both completely unimpressed by his film-fame). Slim told me his favorite roles were in two off beat movies: "1941" in which he played the part of Holly Wood, a junkman kidnapped to a japanese submarine off the California Coast on 12/7/41. If you haven't seen this comedy, you should rent it. The other role he claimed as one of his favorites was as the pilot of a B-52 during the cold war in -- In which he rode an atomic bomb out the bombay door of his plane, cowboy hat in hand, boots pounding on the haunches of the bomb, yelling Yahoooo.
Slim wouldn't have anything to do with smokers - he hated tobacco smoke. He and I both dipped "Cope" at the time. He had some business cards printed up that said:
"If you don't blow your smoke my way, I Won't spit your way." My wife just about died the first time we were out to breakfast and I laid one of those cards on the table of some neighboring smokers. I thought it was funny but ... perhaps that was the one of the reasons she finally divorced me ... but that's another story.
Ben was born and raised on a ranch in Oklahoma, Slim wasn't from Texas or Oklahoma as many assume. He was born and raised in California, and rode horses regularly as a young buck. He ran away from home to join the rodeo, without his fathers approval.
When Louis Lindley decided to pursue a career on the rodeo circuit his father told him 'You'll have mighty slim pickin's." That was the basis for his stage name. He was not a rodeo 'cowboy,' he was a rodeo clown/bullfighter--the single most dangerous job in the entertainment industry. He spent 20 yrs as a rodeo clown/bullfighter before he got into the movies. He's in the PRCA Hall of Fame. When he quit the circuit he was the highest-paid rodeo clown on the circuit.
Tom Mix was never a cowboy. He was born on a horse farm at Mix Run, Pennsylvania. He eventually wound up, after a series of misadventures too long & complicated to relate here, as a trick-rider with the 101 Ranch Wild West show. From there he went to the movies. He was also never a Texas Ranger nor a lawman of any sort,; though he did spend a couple of years as a part-time barkeep & full-time janitor in the Blue Bell Saloon--saloon downstairs, brothel upstairs--in Guthrie, OT, in the late 1890s.
Thanks for your information Charley. I had heard he was a lawman at one time or another.
When we first saw Slim on Death Valley Days, my mother was certain he was probably from Texas. He certainly sounded like it. Do you know if his family originated in Texas?
His mother's maiden name was Turk. There is a Turk family in Texas. There may be a connection but there's no way to make sure.