The Workingman’s Actor: Warren Oates

By James Calemine

…Just a few words on Warren Oates today…

Born on July 5, 1928, in Depoy, Kentucky, Warren Oates represented an actor’s actor. The heavies respected him. The filmmaker Sam Peckinpah (read his story in my new book Insured Beyond The Grave Vol. 2) utilized Oates in classic films such as Ride The High Country, The Wild Bunch, Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia and Major Dundee

You also know Oates from films and TV shows such as Two-Lane Blacktop, Race with the Devil, Dillinger, Cockfighter and Stripes as well as Gunsmoke, Have Gun–Will Travel, Rawhide, The Westerner, The Rifleman, The Twilight Zone, The Virginian, Big Valley and a long list of others.

Oates often portrayed killers, ornery scoundrels, or a kind-hearted man in bad company. But, he also played humorous characters with brilliance. He died at 53 of a heart attack. I suggest you seek out Tom Thurman’s 1993 documentary titled Warren Oates: Across The Border.

Oates once told a reporter: “I don’t intentionally set out to be a villain. I do what is given me to do and from there I evolve my attitude and comment. Heavies are closer to life than leading men. The heavy is everyman–everyman when he faces a tough moment in life. It’s the heavy that has to do with the meat of life.”

Enough said.

www.jamescalemine.com

Insured Beyond The Grave
Insured Beyond The Grave Vol. 2
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