March 3rd, 2015
Cameron Mitchell, who plays hard-bitten Buck Cannon in Western hit High Chaparral, yearns to own an island where he can get away from the pressures of the TV world.
An old-style Hollywood individualist, he longs for the freedom he gave up to make the long-running television series.
“Honestly, I’m so serious about an island that I would literally do it right now if I could swing it,” Cameron told Peter McDonald, TV WEEK’s man in Hollywood.
“The most important thing in life is to live it. All these years I’ve been alive, I’ve never lived. Now I want to enjoy it. I’ve got a thing about flying at the moment.”
“I’ve flown maybe two milling miles in my life, but I’m not going to any more. Jesus walked the earth and, why then, right or wrong, do we have to skim over it at 600 to 700 mph in a jet? To enjoy life you have to taste it, and how can you do that today?”
Despite his vehemence it would be wrong to say that Cameron Mitchell finds nothing palatable about his life.
Hoe, his wife Lissa and their three children (he has four by a previous marriage) is one haven.
The other escape is golf, which to him is more than simply a game. He has more clubs scattered around his home than he can count.
“For me it is the last frontier,“ he said. “It’s probably one of the few places left on this earth where you can stand alone against the elements.
“My wife may beef at times, but she doesn’t stop me. That’s a big mistake women make. Every man goes through a ‘destructive’ age, 35-45, gambling, sex and so on. I think golf is a better alternative.”
Today, at 50, Cameron Mitchell has mellowed, but not altogether. Buck Cannon, otherwise, would not have been the grubby, two-fisted, whiskey-swigging man’s man he is today.
“I had had to fight hard for Uncle Buck, right down to his bad grammar,” he recalled. “They wanted him educated, strong and silent. The cliché type. I don’t’ know if it was intuitive or what, but we did the pilot (episode) in primitive country, and it wasn’t Buck, he just didn’t equate.”
Cameron Mitchell pushed. Uncle Bucks’ scattered hat on to the back of his head and wiped his mouth on his sleeve to weigh it all up and to suddenly recall a Zen Buddhist monk he had once met in Japan.
“Wede-Sen had gold teeth and he was only about 4ft. 10ins,” he said. “We’d describe him as ugly, but he was beautiful. He helped me and I remember one thing he taught: ‘A full cup absorbs nothing, only an empty cup may be filled.” I believe that the greatest prayer is: ‘O Lord, fill me with emptiness.”
“Sometimes I think I’m on the track but sometimes I get turned aside.”
May 10, 1969, TV Week