IRON EYES: My Life as a Hollywood Indian by Iron Eyes with Collin Perry Cody

IRON EYES: My Life as a Hollywood Indian

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An autobiography that's lots of fun from a Hollywood Indian famed for his stoic stare. Iron Eyes Cody is the nephew of Buffalo Bill Cody and the son of Thomas Longplume Cody and a Cree named Frances. He got into movies in the hazy past when a Famous Players Lasky company, scouting around Oklahoma for a location to shoot Back to God's Country, rented Longplume's cornfield and slipped Iron Eyes into some shots. The director was so impressed by Longplume's expertise in Indian matters that he invited him to come to Hollywood and work as an advisor. After several drunken fiascos, Longplume took his family to Hollywood and soon Iron Eyes, now twelve, was appearing regularly as an unbilled Indian. After some misadventures, he married the well-named Bertha Dark Cloud, a tough youngster (they were 15) who wouldn't give in on their wedding night despite a real earthquake in the midst of the wrestling--and so Iron Eyes went off alone on a world tour for the film epic The Covered Wagon. The marriage wasn't consummated for four years; meanwhile, Birdie went to college, then became an archaeologist famous for discovering the bones of a giant prehistoric sloth. Iron Eyes, soon a famed advisor and actor, worked on all the great Western epics--C. B. DeMille's The Plainsman and others, in particular--up to A Man Called Horse and Greyeagle. He was also John Ford's right-hand Indian, a buddy of John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn, and other great topers. More recently, involved with Indian causes, he was seen as the Crying Indian on a nationwide Keep America Beautiful campaign. Much of the fun is just vulgar horsing around and hell-raising pranks, but Iron Eyes' humor never zaps his dignity. Appealing movie memorabilia, especially for its days in Gower Gulch and Poverty Row.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1982
Publisher: Everest