Bitten with the bug, he made a 1943 film debut as a villain in Hoppy Serves a Writ, the first of 18 film roles that year. A natural for Westerns and war films, Mitchum earned raves and his first and only Oscar nomination for The Story of G.I. Joe (1945).
He played a career-defining, film noir antihero in Out of the Past (1947), and despite a notorious 1948 jail stint for marijuana possession, his star continued to rise with films such as Night of the Hunter, Thunder Road, The Sundowners (1960), Cape Fear, Ryan's Daughter, Farewell, My Lovely and TV's The Winds of War miniseries. He died July 1, 1997.