Mitch Mitchell’s story in this morning’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram was sad and surprising. Who’d a thunk an actor with so many great roles and credits such as Fort Worth’s Barry Corbin would be so strapped for cash?
Sometimes you see people on TV and movies or listen to their albums for years and then you find out they don’t have a pot to piss in.
A dozen years ago I interviewed one of my favorite Texas Music entertainers, Rusty Wier. I was excited to talk to him, and certainly caught off guard when he mentioned that times were tough and he wondered if I knew of any jobs available.
The news about Corbin’s financial struggles caught me the same way. He was memorable as the bumbling, kindly deputy Roscoe Brown in the greatest TV Western miniseries of all time, Lonesome Dove. The miniseries was adapted from the novel by Archer City native Larry McMurtry.
Being a writer, I’ve often been asked over the years to name my favorite book. People sometimes laugh when I tell them Lonesome Dove, but it’s the truth. I feel the same way about the movie adaptation.
Here’s how Corbin described getting the role as Roscoe Brown: “When I first read the book, I called my agents and told them I had to be in it when (not if) they made the miniseries. I told them I’d play anything just to be a part of the show. Fortunately for me, Simon Wincer, Bill Witliffe, and Suzanne De Passe thought I was right for Roscoe.”
It’s hard to fathom the number of Texas-based, pop-culture classics in which the 69-year-old Corbin appears.
He was John Travolta’s beloved Uncle Bob in Urban Cowboy (1980). Sheriff Washburn on the Dallas TV series (1979-84). Clint Eastwood used Corbin in numerous movies, but my favorite was his mean-as-a-snake depiction of Durwood Arnspriger in Honkytonk Man (1982).
And you know you’re a celebrity when you’ve received the ultimate honor of guest voicing on King of the Hill (1999).
Mitchell’s story quotes Corbin’s attorney saying the actor is trying to downsize and sell his 9-acre mini-ranch on Greta Lane for about $700k.
Here’s a funny Raisin Nut Bran commercial that Corbin appeared in a while back: