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albatros1 ( 2007-10-04 )
American actor Russell Simpson is another of those character players who seemed to have been born in middle age. From his first screen appearance in 1910 to his last in 1959, Simpson personified the grizzled, taciturn mountain man who held strangers at bay with his shotgun and vowed that his daughter would never marry into that family he'd been feudin' with fer nigh on to forty years. It was not always thus. After prospecting in the 1898 Alaska gold rush, Simpson returned to the States and launched a career as a touring actor in stock -- most frequently cast in romantic leads. This led to a long association with Broadway impresario David Belasco. Briefly flirting with New York-based films in 1910, Simpson returned to the stage, then chose movies on a permanent basis in 1917. Of his hundreds of motion picture and TV appearances, Russell Simpson is best known for his participation in the films of director John Ford, most memorably as Pa Joad in 1940's The Grapes of Wrath.
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