Monday, August 3, 2009

Out of Hollywood by Robert Dix

Robert Dix. Out of Hollywood: An Autobiography. Chatsworth, Ca.: Ernest Publishing Company, 2008.

The author was born into an acting family He grew up studying acting, learned the importance of practicing one’s craft, demonstrating emotions through body language, and improved with the Method school of acting, He has also learned the importance of inner peace.

The authors’ actor father, Richard Dix, died when the author was 14 in 1949. He recalls the large amount of mail his father received and he, with help from secretaries, answered them.

Dix majored in English with a Theater Arts minor at U.C. at Santa Barbara. He mentioned his interest in acting a wedding whereupon the Assistant Talent Head of MGM asked him to call. Dix took a screen test and was offered a six month contract, optioned twice after six month intervals, and then optioned annually for up to seven years. Being under 21, his mother signed consent. Dix received $75 a week for the first six months and then received a $125 a week.

Dix had a publicist who also represented another young star, Debbie Reynolds. The two did publicity appearances together. He was presented to the world as her boyfriend, he fell for her in real life, but their relationship never went beyond kissing.

Dix received a role in “Forbidden Planet”. This remains a cult favorite film.

The popularity of TV made movie executives worried about the future profitability of movies. They cut costs in anticipation of a financial downturn. Among those MGM cut was Dix, who had been there a year and a half.

Dix took a job at Universal Studios dubbing squeaking noises at Universal. He was paid $80 for two hours work.

Dix studied acting from Seymour Malkin. Malkin also introduced Dix to the Baha’I faith and its foundations of spirituality based on love and fellowship. Dix joined the faith.

Dix received a role in the movie “Forty Guns”. Legal difficulties over rights to the Wyatt Earp story required changing the characters’ names. Dix is proud of a 150 foot dolly shot he was in that required just one take.

Dix received a lead role in the movie “The 11th Commandment”. It was filmed in Taiwan and Hong Kong. The movie was shown on WPIX in New York City. Dix began the show with a plea for public reaction and then led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. WPIX received thousands of phone calls and hundreds of mail supporting the movie. The movie played in a third run (i.e. small) theater in New York followed by some Texas theaters. A Baptist group objected to a scene where two soldiers toast with alcoholic drinks. The movie won the Freedom Foundation’s Best Picture Award in 1960.

Dix starred in a movie whose title kept audiences away from a good movie, “Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come”.

Dix was stunned to see a screenplay he wrote was done by someone else. He couldn’t afford an attorney to sue. He tried to forget about it.
Dix fought and overcame alcoholism. He found Alcoholics Anonymous helpful. He became himself again

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