Sam Peckinpah

Director, Screenwriter, Actor
A paradox who both cultivated and disdained his own legend as one of Hollywood's most notoriously difficult directors, Sam Peckinpah evoked varied responses to his often violent films that typically existed on a skewed ... Read more »
Born: 02/21/1925 in Fresno, California, USA

Filmography

Director (18)

The Osterman Weekend 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

Convoy 1978 (Movie)

(Director)

Cross of Iron 1977 (Movie)

(Director)

The Killer Elite 1974 (Movie)

(Director)

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia 1973 (Movie)

(Director)

Junior Bonner 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid 1972 (Movie)

(Director)

Straw Dogs 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

The Getaway 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

The Ballad of Cable Hogue 1970 (Movie)

(Director)

The Wild Bunch 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Major Dundee 1965 (Movie)

(Director)

Route 66 1956 - 1964 (Tv Show)

Director

The Dick Powell Show 1956 - 1963 (Tv Show)

Director

The Rifleman 1956 - 1963 (Tv Show)

Director

Ride the High Country 1962 (Movie)

(Director)

The Deadly Companions 1961 (Movie)

(Director)

Broken Arrow 1956 - 1960 (Tv Show)

Director
Writer (8)

Straw Dogs 2011 (Movie)

(from adapted screenplay: "Straw Dogs") (Source Material)

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia 1973 (Movie)

(From Story)

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia 1973 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Straw Dogs 1971 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Wild Bunch 1969 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Villa Rides 1968 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Major Dundee 1965 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Glory Guys 1964 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Actor (5)

Hollywood Mavericks 1990 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The Visitor 1980 (Movie)

Sam (Actor)

China 9, Liberty 37 1977 (Movie)

(Actor)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 (Movie)

Gas Man (Actor)

Edge of Outside (TV Show)

Actor
Producer (2)

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid 1972 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Ballad of Cable Hogue 1970 (Movie)

(Producer)
Music (1)

Biography

A paradox who both cultivated and disdained his own legend as one of Hollywood's most notoriously difficult directors, Sam Peckinpah evoked varied responses to his often violent films that typically existed on a skewed moral plane between eras and cultures, with ambiguous quests for identity and redemption undertaken by hopelessly lost outcasts and enemies. Sometimes Peckinpah's search for meaning in film was a reflection of his own tattered life, which was cut short after years of serious alcohol and later drug abuse, leading to numerous quarrels with stars and studio executives that left him ostracized from the industry more than once. After receiving his start on television, Peckinpah made a powerful statement with only his second film, "Ride the High Country" (1962), a revisionist Western that presaged the greatness that came later in the decade. But he had a disaster on his hands with his next film, "Major Dundee" (1965), which was plagued by his increased onset drinking and a penchant for verbally abusing his cast. Practically banished from Hollywood, Peckinpah emerged triumphant with "The Wild Bunch" (1969), a classic revisionist Western that marked the true high point of his creative powers. From there, the director seemed to court controversy with every move, whether it was from the gruesome violence of "Straw Dogs" (1971) to the onset fights with Steve McQueen on "The Getaway" (1972) to the abstract minimalism of the confusing "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" (1973). All throughout the decade, Peckinpah's health rapidly deteriorated brought on by serious alcohol abuse and later a cocaine addiction that flared up with "The Killer Elite" (1975). His final movies, "Cross of Iron" (1976), "Convoy" (1978) and "The Osterman Weekend" (1983) showed few flashes of the genius on display in the 1960s. Still, Peckinpah had already established his reputation as a great filmmaker able to elicit strong emotional responses with his kinetic and often operatic imagery, no matter how hard he tried to destroy it behind the scenes.

Relationships

Fern Peckinpah

Mother

Denver Church

Grandfather
maternal became District Attorney of Fresno County, then Congressman and finally Superior Court judge

Joey Gould

Wife

Begona Palacios Actor

Wife

David Peckinpah

Father
worked on Church ranch in 1914 founded Fresno Humane Society became Superior Court judge

Kristin Peckinpah

Daughter
born in November 1953 mother Marie Selland

Lupita Peckinpah

Daughter
mother, Begonia Palacios

Sharon Peckinpah

Daughter
born in July 1949 mother Marie Selland

Matthew Peckinpah

Son
born in 1962 mother Marie Selland appeared in several of father's films

Denver Peckinpah

Brother
born in September 1916 became Superior Court judge

Fern Peckinpah

Sister
born in 1931

David Peckinpah

Nephew
born in 1951

Marie Selland Actor

Wife
Met at Fresno State College

EDUCATION

Fresno High School

Fresno , California
was member of football team

University of Southern California

Los Angeles , California 1950
for master's thesis, wrote adaptation of a one-act play by Tennessee Williams which he filmed (movie was destroyed)

San Rafael Military Academy

San Rafael , California
transferred there for his senior year

California State University

Fresno , California 1949
met Marie Selland there and changed major to drama

Milestones

1983

Directed final film, "The Osterman Weekend"

1967

Taught writing and directing at UCLA

1963

Joined Walt Disney Productions as writer-director; left after disagreement with producer (date approximate)

1961

Directed first feature film, "The Deadly Companions"

1958

Directed first TV episode, "The Knife Fighter" on series "Broken Arrow"

1958

Debut as TV producer on NBC series, "The Westerner" (also directed five episodes and co-wrote four)

1958

Reworked an original script rejected by "Gunsmoke"; sold to Dick Powelll at Four Star Productions as "The Sharpshooter" (1958) which served as pilot for series, "The Rifleman" (also directed four episodes)

1957

Sold first original feature script, ("The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones" (later in altered form it was filmed by Marlon Brando as "One-Eyed Jacks")

1954

First job in the film industry; hired by Walter Wanger as third assistant casting director (gopher) at Allied Artists; first assignment on Don Siegal's "Riot in Cell Block 11" (date approximate)0

1953

Hired by CBS as an assistant editor on basis of short films he had made on his own time at KLAC

1950

Began career as director-producer in residence at the Huntington Park Civic Theatre for a year and a half

1942

Enlisted in the Marines; sent to China in 1945 and began studies of Zen

Wrote first scripts for TV series, "Gunsmoke" (most were adaptations of "Gunsmoke" radio scripts)

Worked as "dialogue director" (in reality personal assistant to Don Siegal) on "Private Hell 36" (1954), "An Annapolis Story" (1955), "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Crime in the Streets" (both 1956)

Joined KLAC-TV in Los Angeles as a stagehand, propman and floor-sweeper; stayed two years; lost job after row with studio executive (dates approximate)00

Returned to TV as producer-director of two hour-long films for "The Dick Powell Theatre" ("Pericles on 31st St Street" 1962 and "The Losers" 1963)

Worked as dialogue director on some of Jacques Tourneur's films for Allied Artists

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