Sunday, June 29, 2014

Remembering Slim Pickens

Slim Pickens was born Louis Burton Lindley, Jr. on June 29, 1919 in Kingsburg, California. He was an excellent rider from age 4. Lindley graduated from Hanford High School, Hanford, California and was a member of the FFA. After graduating from school he joined the rodeo. He was told that working in the rodeo would be "slim pickings" (very little money), giving him his name, but he did well and eventually became a well-known rodeo clown.
After twenty years on the rodeo circuit, his distinctive Oklahoma-Texas drawl, his wide eyes and moon face and strong physical presence gained him a role in the western film, “Rocky Mountain” (1950) starring Errol Flynn. He quickly found a niche in both comic and villainous roles in that genre. With his hoarse voice and pronounced western twang, he was not always easy to cast outside the genre, but when he was, as in "Dr. Strangelove", the results were often memorable. He died on December 8, 1983 in Modesto, California, after a long and courageous battle against a brain tumor. His brother has acted under the name Easy Pickens [1921-2001]. Slim was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame [1982], Pro Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame [2005].
Slim appeared in one Euro-western: “The Deserter” (1971) as Sergeant Tattinger. He also appeared as Sheriff McKay in the “The Magnificent Stranger” (1966) that was made by editing two “Rawhide” TV episodes together and released in Italy to capitalize on the success of Clint in “Fistful of Dollars”.
Today we remember Slim Pickens on what would have been his 95th birthday.

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