Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Pop History Moment: Robert Mitchum Arrested

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIt was in the wee hours of this day in 1948 that one of the original Hollywood tough guys, actor Robert Mitchum, and starlet Lila Leeds were arrested during a drug raid at a house party in Los Angeles' Laurel Canyon; they were each found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana.

Both went on to serve time in jail: in Mitchum's case, 43 days (out of a possible 60) at a prison farm in Castaic, California (well-documented by a photographer from Life magazine); Mitchum's conviction would eventually be overturned by the District Attorney's office when, in 1951, it was revealed that the sting had been a set-up. Lila Leeds received the same jail time as Mitchum plus five years' probation; while in jail she became a heroin addict.

Mitchum's career flourished in the wake of the scandal - thanks to the intervention of RKO studio head Howard Hughes - as it seemed to reinforce the image he'd been cultivating. Leeds' career, on the other hand, foundered - although she did later star in the exploitation B-movie She Shoulda Said No! (1949). Mitchum's death in July 1997 was mourned by le tout Hollywood, while Leeds' died, forgotten, in September 1999.
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