He seriously considered retiring from acting in 1968 due to concerns over the quality of his recent movies. After a year's absence, during which he spent much of the time driving around America visiting old friends and staying in motels, he was lured back to star in Ryan's Daughter (1970/I).
He was a huge fan of Elvis Presley's early music, and wanted Presley to star with him in Thunder Road (1958). Unfortunately, Tom Parker's demands for Presley's salary could not be met in this independent production, which Mitchum was financing himself.
He was cremated and his ashes scattered at sea by wife Dorothy Mitchum and neighbor Jane Russell. At Mitchum's insistence, no memorial service was held.
He was fired from Blood Alley (1955), allegedly for getting drunk and arguing with a crew member whom he then proceeded to throw into a nearby river, a charge Mitchum has always denied.
He was of Scottish, Norwegian, Irish, and possibly Native-American descent.
He was persuaded by his manager Antonio Consentino, a die-hard Republican, to campaign for George Bush in the 1992 presidential election. He also narrated a biographical film of the President for the Republican National Convention, and attended a fund-raiser at Bob Hope's house in Hollywood.
He was voted the 61st Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
His arrest for marijuana possession in the late 1940s was one of the first times a major actor had been jailed for this crime. According to Lee Server's 2001 biography, "Robert Mitchum: Baby I Don't Care," he was still smoking pot into his old age.
His driving license from 1950 gave his height as 6' even, one inch less that was always reported.
His mother was Norwegian and his father was Scots-Irish on his father's side and Native American Blackfoot on his mother's side.
His performance as Rev. Harry Powell in The Night of the Hunter (1955) is ranked #71 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
His vocal support for the Vietnam War failed to affect his appeal with American youth, and in 1968, a poll of teenagers declared him the coolest celebrity. Mitchum responded that they must have missed his recent films.
In 1947 he and Gary Gray recorded the songs from Rachel and the Stranger (1948) for Delta Records' soundtrack album. In 1968 he recorded another album, entitled "That Man Robert Mitchum . . . Sings". It included the track "Little Old Wine Drinker Me", which later became a hit for Dean Martin. In 1998 these songs were released on CD as "Robert Mitchum Sings.".
In 1959 the Mitchums moved out of Hollywood and into a farm they had bought on the Maryland shore of Chesapeake Bay, near the town of Trappe. In 1965 the family returned to Hollywood, largely at wife Dorothy Mitchum's insistence, and moved into a modest, ivy-covered mansion in Bel Air. Mitchum also purchased a 76-acre ranch near Los Angeles, mostly as a home for his growing collection of quarter horses.
In 1981, he fired his secretary, Reva Frederick, when he closed his office. Mitchum was subsequently sued as she claimed he owed her a pension back-dated to 1961. There was no paperwork to support this claim, and she dropped her suit when evidence was discovered that she had stolen millions of dollars from Mitchum over the years. As part of the "deal," he agreed not to prosecute. During the course of these events, Ms. Fredrick suffered a stroke from which she never fully recovered.
In the 1950s he was selected by Howard Hughes to appear in a series of films he was producing. Hughes considered Mitchum a "friend," but (as a paranoid recluse) hardly met the actor. Mitchum was halfway put off and halfway amused by the "crazy old man" and clearly saw that he was a surrogate for Hughes as the strapping actor "romanced" young starlets on screen.
Is mentioned in Queens of the Stone Age's song "The Fun Machine Took a Shit and Died," off their 2007 album "Era Vulgaris".
Is the subject of the song "Robert Mitchum" by Swedish singer [['Olle Ljungström']], available on his album "Världens Räddaste Man" (translates "The World's Most Terrified Man").
Many critics were unconvinced by the 65-year-old Mitchum winning World War II in "The Winds of War" (1983). When the producers made a sequel, "War and Remembrance" (1988), they worried that a 70-year-old Mitchum would be even less convincing and considered replacing him with James Coburn. Eventually they decided that what they would gain in fewer wrinkles, they would lose in Mitchum's formidable screen presence and charisma.