Robert Duvall

born on 5/1/1931 in San Diego, CA, United States

Robert Duvall

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Robert Duvall
Birth name Robert Selden Duvall
Born January 5 1931
Years active 1959–present
Spouse(s) Barbara Benjamin (1964–1975)
Gail Youngs (1982–1986)
Sharon Brophy (1991–1996)
Luciana Pedraza (2004–present)

Robert Selden Duvall (born January 5, 1931) is an American actor and director. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards.

He began his career appearing in theatre during the late 1950s, moving into small to supporting television and film roles during the early 1960s in such works as To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and Captain Newman, M.D. (1963). He started to land much larger roles during the early 1970s with movies like MASH (1970) and THX 1138 (1971). This was followed by a series of critical successes: The Godfather (1972), The Godfather Part II (1974), Network (1976), The Great Santini (1979), Apocalypse Now (1979), and True Confessions (1981).

Since then Duvall has remained an important presence in both film and television with such productions as Tender Mercies (1983), The Natural (1984), Colors (1988), Lonesome Dove (1989), Stalin (1992), The Man Who Captured Eichmann (1996), The Apostle (1997), A Civil Action (1998), Gods and Generals and Broken Trail (2006).

Early life

Duvall was born in San Diego, California, the son of Mildred Virginia (née Hart), an amateur actress and relative of American Civil War General Robert E. Lee, and William Howard Duvall, a Virginia-born U.S. Navy admiral.[1][2] Duvall's father was a Methodist and his mother was a Christian Scientist, and Duvall was reared in the Christian Science religion.[3] Duvall grew up in a military family, living for a time in Annapolis, Maryland, near the United States Naval Academy. He attended Severn School in Severna Park, Maryland and The Principia in St. Louis, Missouri and graduated, in 1953, Principia College in Elsah, Illinois. He served in the United States Army (service number 52 346 646) from 19 August 1953 to 20 August 1954, leaving as Private First Class. While stationed at Camp Gordon (now known as Fort Gordon) in Georgia, Duvall acted in an amateur production of the comedy "Room Service" in nearby Augusta.

After leaving the Army, Duvall studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York under Sanford Meisner. While working to become an actor, he worked as a Manhattan post office clerk. Duvall is friends with actors Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman whom he knew during their years as struggling actors.[4] At one point, Duvall roomed with Hoffman while they were looking for work.

Early career: 1958-1969

Duvall began his career in the theatre, making his professional debut Off-Broadway at the Gate Theatre as Frank Gardner in George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession on June 25, 1958. Other notable early theatre credits include the role of Doug in the premiere of Michael Shurtleff's Call Me By My Rightful Name in 1961 and the role of Bob Smith in the premiere of William Snyder's The Days and Nights of BeeBee Fenstermaker in 1962, both at Off-Broadway theatres. He won an Obie Award in 1965 for his performance of Eddie in Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge at the Sheridan Square Playhouse; a production directed by Ulu Grosbard and Dustin Hoffman. The following year he made his Broadway debut as Harry Roat, Jr in Frederick Knott's Wait Until Dark.

In 1959, Duvall made his first television appearance on Armstrong Circle Theatre in the episode The Jailbreak. He appeared regularly on television as a guest actor during the 1960s, often in action, suspense, detective, or crime dramas. His appearances during this time include performances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Naked City, The Untouchables, Route 66, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Fugitive, T.H.E. Cat, and The Mod Squad to name just a few.

Duvall's screen debut was as Boo Radley in the critically acclaimed To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). He was cast in the film on the recommendation of screenwriter Horton Foote, who met Duvall at Neighborhood Playhouse during a 1957 production of Foote's play, The Midnight Caller. Foote, who would collaborate with Duvall many more times over the course of their careers, said he believed Duvall had a particular love of common people and ability to infuse fascinating revelations into his roles. Foote has described Duvall as "our number one actor."[5]

After To Kill a Mockingbird, Duvall appeared in a number of films during the 1960s, mostly in mid sized parts but also in a few larger supporting roles. Some of his more notable appearances include the role of Capt. Paul Cabot Winston in Captain Newman, M.D. (1963), Chiz in Countdown (1968), Gordon in The Rain People (1969), and the notorious malefactor "Lucky" Ned Pepper in True Grit (1969), in which he engaged in a climactic shootout with John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn on horseback.

Mid career: 1970-1989

Duvall became an important presence in American films beginning in the 1970s. He drew a considerable amount of attention in 1970 for his portrayal of Major Frank Burns in the film MASH and for his portrayal of the title role in the cult classic THX 1138 in 1971. His first major critical success were came portraying consigliere (family counsel) Tom Hagen in The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather Part II (1974). The former film earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

He received another Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and won both a BAFTA Award and Golden Globe Award for his role as Lt. Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now (1979). His line "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" from Apocalypse Now is now regarded as iconic in cinema history. The full text is as follows:

You smell that? Do you smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for twelve hours. When it was all over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. But the smell! You know - that gasoline smell... the whole hill! Smelled like... victory.
Some day this war is going to end...

Duvall received a BAFTA Award nomination for his portrayal of television executive Frank Hackett in the critically acclaimed film Network (1976) and garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role in The Great Santini (1979) as the hard-boiled Marine and overbearing parent Lt. Col. "Bull" Meechum. The latter role was loosely based on a world-famous Marine aviator, Colonel Donald Conroy. He also portrayed United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower is the television miniseries Ike (1979).

In 1977 Duvall returned to Broadway to appear as Walter Cole in David Mamet's American Buffalo. For his performance he received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Play. To date, Duvall has not returned to the New York stage.

"You can't concoct or push ahead something other than what you have at that moment as yourself, as that character. It's you at that moment in time. ... Between action and cut, it's a nice world, but you can't force that any more than you can force it in life.."
Robert Duvall on acting[5]

Duvall continued to appear in important films during the 1980s, including the roles of cynical sportswriter Max Mercy in The Natural (1984) and Los Angeles police officer Bob Hodges in Colors (1988). He won an Oscar for Best Actor as country western singer Mac Sledge in Tender Mercies (1983). Foote was rumored to have written the part for Duvall, who had always wanted to play a country singer and contributed ideas for the character. Foote denied this, claiming he found it too constraining to write roles for specific actors, but he did hope Duvall would be cast. Duvall was said to have written the music, but the actor said he wrote only a few "background, secondary songs." Duvall did do his own singing, insisting it be added to his contract that he sing the songs himself; Duvall said, "What's the point if you're not going to do your own (singing)? They're just going to dub somebody else? I mean, there's no point to that."[5]

Actress Tess Harper, who co-starred, said Duvall inhabited the character so fully that she only got to know Mac Sledge and not Duvall himself. Director Bruce Beresford, too, said the transformation was so believable to him that he could feel his skin crawling up the back of his neck the first day of filming with Duvall. Beresford said of the actor, "Duvall has the ability to completely inhabit the person he's acting. He totally and utterly becomes that person to a degree which is uncanny."[5] Nevertheless, Duvall and Beresford did not get along well during the production and often clashed during filming, including one day in which Beresford walked off the set in frustration.[5]

In 1989, Duvall appeared in the landmark mini-series Lonesome Dove in the role of Augustus "Gus" McCrae. He has stated in several forums, including CBS Sunday Morning, that this particular role was his personal favorite. He won a Golden Globe Award and earned an Emmy Award nomination. For his role as a former Texas Ranger peace officer, Duvall was trained in the use of Walker revolvers by the Texas marksman Joe Bowman.

Later career: 1990-present

Duvall has maintained a busy film career, sometimes appearing in as many as four in one year. He received Oscar nominations for his portrayals of evangelical preacher Euliss "Sonny" Dewey in The Apostle (1997) a film he also wrote and directed and lawyer Jerome Facher in A Civil Action (1998).

He directed Assassination Tango (2002), a thriller about one of his favorite hobbies, tango. He portrayed General Robert E. Lee in Gods and Generals in 2003 and is actually a relative of the Confederate general.

Other roles during this period that displayed the actor's wide range included that of a retiring cop in Falling Down (1992), a Hispanic barber in Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993), a New York tabloid editor in The Paper (1994), a rural doctor in Phenomenon (1996), an astronaut in Deep Impact (1998), a trail boss in Open Range (2003), a soccer coach in the comedy Kicking & Screaming (2005), a Las Vegas poker champion in Lucky You and a New York police captain in We Own the Night (both 2007).

He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 18, 2003.

Duvall has periodically worked in television during the last two decades. He won a Golden Globe and garnered an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in the 1992 television movie Stalin. He was nominated for an Emmy again in 1997 for portraying Adolf Eichmann in The Man Who Captured Eichmann. In 2006, he won an Emmy for the role of Prentice "Print" Ritter in the revisionist Western miniseries Broken Trail.

In 2005, Duvall was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President George W. Bush at the White House.[6]

Personal life

Duvall has been married four times, first to Barbara Benjamin from 1964 until 1975. He then married Gail Youngs (1982-1986) (temporarily being the brother-in-law of John Savage and Robin Young) and Sharon Brophy (1991-1996).

In 2005, Duvall wed Luciana Pedraza, granddaughter of famous Argentine aviator Susana Ferrari Billinghurst. He met Pedraza on a street in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They were both born on January 5, but Duvall is 41 years older. They have been together since 1997. Duvall and Luciana have been active supporters of Pro Mujer, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Latin America's poorest women help themselves through micro-credit, business training and health care linkages.

Duvall's political views are variously described as libertarian or conservative.[4] He was personally invited to Republican President George W. Bush's inauguration in 2001. In September 2007, he announced his support for Republican Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.[7] Duvall worked the floor at the GOP's 2008 national convention[8] and, according to a 29 August 2008 MSNBC article, Duvall narrated most of the videos for the convention. In September 2008, he appeared on stage at a John McCain-Sarah Palin rally in New Mexico, and he told an October 2008 GOP fundraiser that "As far as I'm concerned, we've got to keep this guy Barack Obama out of the White House."[9]

Duvall is related to former President Harry S. Truman, former Vice-President Dick Cheney and Wallis, Duchess of Windsor through the same common ancestor.[10]


Year Film Role Notes
1959 Armstrong Circle Theatre Berks Season #10, Episode #2, "The Jailbreak"
1960 Armstrong Circle Theatre Season #10, Episode #16, "Positive Identification"
Playhouse 90 Season #4, Episode #8, "John Brown's Raid"
1961 The Defenders Al Rogart Season #1, Episode #12, "Perjury"
Great Ghost Tales William Wilson Season #1, Episode #1, "William Wilson"
Shannon Joey Nolan Season #1, Episode #10, "The Big Fish"
Cain's Hundred Tom Nugent Season #1, Episode #6, "King of the Mountain"
Route 66 Roman Season #1, Episode #25, "The Newborn"
Route 66 Arnie Season #2, Episode #4, "Birdcage on My Foot"
Naked City Lewis Nunda Season #2, Episode #13, "A Hole in the City"
1962 To Kill a Mockingbird Arthur "Boo" Radley
Naked City L. Francis 'Frank' Childe Season #3, Episode #23, "The One Marked Hot Gives Cold "
Naked City Johnny Meigs Season #4, Episode #6, "Five Cranks for Winter... Ten Cranks for Spring"
Naked City Barney Sonners Season #4, Episode #8, "Torment Him Much and Hold Him Long "
1963 The Untouchables Eddie Moon Season #4, Episode #17, "Blues for a Gone Goose"
The Defenders Luke Jackson Season #2, Episode #24, "Metamorphosis"
Route 66 Lee Winters Season #3, Episode #18, "Suppose I Said I Was the Queen of Spain"
The Twilight Zone Charley Parkes Season #4, Episode #8, "Miniature"
The Virginian Johnny Keel Season #1, Episode #24, "The Golden Door"
Stoney Burke Joby Pierce Season #1, Episode #23, "Joby"
Arrest and Trial Morton Ware Season #1, Episode #10, "The Quality of Justice"
The Fugitive Eric Christian Season #1, Episode #4, "Never Wave Goodbye"
Captain Newman, M.D. Capt. Paul Cabot Winston
1964 The Lieutenant Season #1, Episode #25, "Man with an Edge"
Kraft Suspense Theatre Harvey Farnsworth Season #1, Episode #22, "Portrait of an Unknown Man"
The Outer Limits Adam Ballard Episodes #42, 43, "The Inheritors"
The Outer Limits Louis Mace Episode #31, "The Chameleon"
1965 Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Zar Season #1, Episode #20, "The Invaders"
Combat! Karl Season #3, Episode #16, "The Enemy"
The Defenders Bill Andrews Season #4, Episode #30, "Only a Child"
The Fugitive Leslie Sessions Season #2, Episode #16, "Brass Ring"
Nightmare in the Sun Motorcyclist
1966 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Frank Reeser Season #3, Episode #15, "Guilty or Not Guilty"
The F.B.I. Johnny Albin Season #2, Episode #5, "The Scourge"
Combat! Peter Halsman Season #5, Episode #14, "Cry for Help"
Hawk Dick Season #1, Episode #6, "The Theory of the Innocent Bystander"
Felony Squad Albie Froehlich Season #1, Episode #8, "Death of a Dream"
Shane Tom Gary Season #1, Episode #9, "Poor Tom's A-Cold"
T.H.E. Cat Laurent Season #1, Episode #9, "Crossing at Destino Bay"
Fame Is the Name of the Game Eddie Franchot
The Chase Edwin Stewart
1967 The Time Tunnel Raul Nimon Season #1, Episode #24, "Chase Through Time"
Cimarron Strip Joe Wyman Season #1, Episode #18, "The Roarer"
The Wild Wild West Dr. Horace Humphries Season #3, Episode #10, "The Night of the Falcon "
The F.B.I. Ernie Milden Season #2, Episode #25-26, "The Executioners"
T.H.E. Cat Laurent Season #1, Episode #24, "The Long Chase"
Combat! Michel Season #5, Episode #25, "The Partisan"
Cosa Nostra, Arch Enemy of the FBI Ernie Milden
1968 Flesh and Blood Howard
CBS Playhouse Dr. Margolin Season #2, Episode #1, "The People Next Door"
Run for Your Life Richard Fletcher Season #3, Episode #19, "The Killing Scene"
Judd, for the Defense Raymond Cane Season #1, Episode #24, "Square House"
The F.B.I. Joseph Troy Season #4, Episode #9, "The Harvest"
The Detective Nestor
Countdown Chiz
Bullitt Weissberg
1969 The Mod Squad Matt Jenkins Season #1, Episode #23, "Keep the Faith, Baby"
The F.B.I. Gerald Wilson Season #5, Episode #2, "Nightmare Road"
True Grit Ned Pepper
The Rain People Gordon
1970 M*A*S*H Frank Burns
The Revolutionary Despard
1971 THX 1138 THX 1138
Lawman Vernon Adams
1972 The Godfather Tom Hagen New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid Jesse James
Tomorrow Jackson Fentry
Joe Kidd Frank Harlan
1973 The Outfit Earl Macklin
Badge 373 Eddie Ryan
Lady Ice Ford Pierce
1974 The Conversation The Director uncredited
The Godfather: Part II Tom Hagen
1975 The Killer Elite George Hanson
Breakout Jay Wagner
1976 The Eagle Has Landed Oberst Max Radl
The Seven-Per-Cent Solution Dr. Watson
Network Frank Hackett Nominated BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1977 The Greatest Bill McDonald
1978 Ike: The War Years Dwight D. Eisenhower
Invasion of the Body Snatchers Priest on swing uncredited
The Betsy Loren Hardeman III
1979 Ike Dwight D. Eisenhower TV mini-series
Apocalypse Now Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor Motion Picture
Nominated Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
The Great Santini Bull Meechum Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated Academy Award for Best Actor
1981 True Confessions Thomas Spellacy Venice Film Festival Pasinetti Cup for Best Actor
The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper Gruen
1983 Tender Mercies Mac Sledge Academy Award for Best Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor Motion Picture Drama
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
The Terry Fox Story Bill Vigars Nominated CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Dramatic Presentation
Angelo My Love n/a Director
1984 The Stone Boy Joe Hillerman
The Natural Max Mercy
1986 Let's Get Harry Norman Shrike
Belizaire the Cajun The Preacher
Waylon Jennings: America Doctor
The Lightship Calvin Caspary Venice Film Festival Pasinetti Cup for Best Actor
1987 Hotel Colonial Roberto Carrasco
1988 Colors Officer Bob Hodges
1989 Lonesome Dove Augustus "Gus" McCrae Golden Globe Award for Best Actor Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor Miniseries or a Movie
1990 A Show of Force Howard
Days of Thunder Harry Hogge
The Handmaid's Tale The Commander
1991 Rambling Rose Daddy Hilyer Nominated Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
Convicts Soll
1992 Stalin Josef Stalin Golden Globe Award for Best Actor Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor Miniseries or a Movie
Newsies Joseph Pulitzer
La Peste Joseph Grand
1993 Falling Down Prendergast
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway Walter
Geronimo: An American Legend Al Sieber
1994 The Paper Bernie White
1995 Something to Talk About Wyly King
The Stars Fell on Henrietta Mr. Cox
The Scarlet Letter Roger Chillingworth
1996 Sling Blade Karl's father Nominated Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Man Who Captured Eichmann Adolf Eichmann Nominated Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
A Family Thing Earl Pilcher Jr.
Phenomenon Doc Brunder
1997 The Apostle Euliss 'Sonny' Dewey The Apostle E.F. Writer/Director
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
Independent Spirit Award for Best Director
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Society of Texas Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Nominated Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay

Deep Impact

1998 The Gingerbread Man Dixon Doss
A Civil Action Jerome Facher Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor Motion Picture
Nominated Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Deep Impact Capt. Spurgeon 'Fish' Tanner
Saturday Night Live various Season #23, Episode #14, hosted by Garth Brooks
2000 Gone in 60 Seconds Otto Halliwell
The 6th Day Dr. Griffin Weir
A Shot at Glory Gordon McLeod
2002 John Q Lt. Frank Grimes
Assassination Tango John J. Anderson Writer/Director
2003 Gods and Generals Gen. Robert E. Lee
Secondhand Lions Hub
Open Range Boss Spearman
2005 American Experience Narrator Season #17, Episode #10, "The Carter Family: Will the Circle"
Kicking & Screaming Buck Weston
Thank You for Smoking Doak "The Captain" Boykin
2006 Broken Trail Prentice "Print" Ritter Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor Miniseries or a Movie
Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries
Nominated Golden Globe Award for Best Actor Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2007 Lucky You Mr. Cheever
We Own the Night Albert Grusinsky
2008 Four Christmases Howard
2009 Crazy Heart Wayne Kramer (post-production)
The Road Old Man (post-production)
2010 Get Low (post-production)


  1. Roberts, Gary Boyd. A Third Set of Ten Hollywood Figures (or Groups Thereof), with a Coda on Two Directors. New England Historic Genealogical Society. Archived from the original on 2008-01-21. Retrieved on 2008-01-03.
  2. "The Novak Zone: Interview With Robert Duvall." Saturday Morning News. CNN. 2003-02-15.
  3. The Religious Affiliation of Robert Duvall.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Charlie Rose, Robert Duvall Does The Tango, CBS News, 8 September 2004.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 {{{People}}}. ([[{{{ReleaseYear}}}]]). "{{{Title}}} [{{{Medium}}}]." {{{DistributorsLocation}}}:{{{DistributorsName}}}.
  6. "Home > News & Policies > November 2005." George W. Bush White House Archives. November 10, 2005.
  7. Academy Award-Winning Actor Robert Duvall Supports Rudy Giuliani,, September 5, 2007.
  8. So get out and vote already, Toronto Globe and Mail, 2008-10-16. URL accessed on 2008-10-20.
  9. Oh Goody! Celebs Ramp Up Political Rhetoric, The Washington Post, 2008-10-16. URL accessed on 2008-10-20.
  10. Notable Descendants of Mareen Duvall. Duvall Society. Retrieved on 2009-06-14.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Robert Duvall

  • Robert Duvall at the Internet Movie Database
  • Robert Duvall at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Robert Duvall at the Internet off-Broadway Database
  • Political contributions of Robert Duvall
  • 'Napalm' speech tops movie poll The BBC
  • Artículo Star Pulse 19/6/2006- "Hollywood legend Robert Duvall discovers he married into a family of great Argentinean aviators".
  • Robert Duvall photos at
This page was last modified 11.10.2009 04:58:29

This article uses material from the article Robert Duvall from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.