Real Facts - Marshall Thompson - A Lifetime Portrait

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Real Facts

  • Real Facts
  • Born, James Marshall Thompson, November 27, 1925, Peoria, Illinois.
  • Died, May 18, 1992, Congestive Heart Failure.
  • Survived by his wife Barbara, daughter Janet, and grandson Jackson.
  • Direct descendent of the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Marshall.
  • Educated at Fairburn Elementary, Emerson Junior High, University High School, and Occidental College (his major was Pre-Med), all in the Los Angeles area.
  • At Occidental he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity, The Occidental Players, and the Cross Country Team.
  • Height: 6 feet 1 inches.
  • Weight: A consistent 175 pounds.
  • Features: Brownish/Blond hair and blue eyes.
  • He married Barbara Long, January 21, 1949.
  • Recreations: He loved sailing, horse back riding, tennis, archaeology, and playing the guitar.
  • He was an avid Photographer.
  • Favorite Food: His mom's beef and noodles, his wife's fried chicken, tuna casserole, sardines, any pasta dish, escargot, Japanese cuisine.
  • Favorite Los Angeles Restaurants: Casa Escobar, Yamato's, Bob Burns, Chasen's.
  • Ambitions: To Write, To direct, and lastly, to act.
  • His Passion: Africa - and virtually all the animals in the world; to be an active conservationist which he began in earnest after his television series, Daktari ended.
  • He studied World Affairs and Military History.
  • Most admired: General Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan.
  • Favorite Sports Teams: The Los Angeles Dodgers, The Dallas Cowboys.
  • Inaccuracies from other biographies: He was a man who carried his church in his heart and never aspired to become a minister. His wife is very much alive. He enjoyed cocktail parties and social gatherings. He was never a "cow puncher" in high schoo. He did, however, visit a   cattle ranch once and learned to ride horses while the cattle watched. Hedda Hopper would disagree that he was an "unassuming player both on and off the screen and that he failed to stand out in a crowd".
  • What he was: A voracious writer, a natural mimic and comedian, a focused man whose love of nature, travel, exploration and wildlife outweighed his interest in pursuing "stardom", though he was proud of his acting talents. He spoke fluent French, German, and Swahili. He taught himself to play the guitar. His favorite song for guitar was "Blood on the Saddle".
  • What you might not know: He was fearless would go anywhere and try anything, from mountain-climbing, safaris, deep sea diving, beriberi to chocolate covered ants. He always did all of his own stunts, and he gave Elizabeth Taylor her first off-screen kiss though the real relationship was much more an MGM concoction than a real romance. They were, however, great friends.
  • Favorites: His MG with its leopard skin dashboard; his jaguar; Sherman Cigarettes; Land Rovers; fireplaces, horse back riding in Palm Springs; foreign films; his zebra skin rug; African sculpture; his guitar; his dog Cappy; Bushveldt Shirts; the lions of the Matopi Rocks; and Sailing.
  • Memorable moments: Riding in the Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500 with Mario Andretti; meeting Richard Burton who told him "Ah, so you are Marshall - the one who keeps my wife up late at night watching your films"; being chased by a white rhino and living to tell about it; witnessing the Serengeti migration.
  • Regrets (very few): He was a member of his school militia, before there was an ROTC, and regretted that his flat feet kept him from enlisting during World war II.

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