February 25

This Day in History

Crime

Feb 25, 1949:

Actor Robert Mitchum is released after serving time for marijuana possession

Actor Robert Mitchum is released from a Los Angeles County prison farm after spending the final week of his two-month sentence for marijuana possession there.

In the fall of 1948, Mitchum, the star of classics such as Cape Fear and Night of the Hunter, was smoking a joint at a small party in the Laurel Canyon area of Los Angeles when detectives burst in and arrested him. Mitchum reportedly said at the time, "Well, this is the bitter end of everything—my career, my marriage, everything." In fact, it wasn't really that bad. Mitchum was separated from his wife Dorothy at the time, but the two reconciled when she returned to support him through the scandal. And the public didn't mind much either; Rachel and the Stranger, the first movie released after his troubles, was a box-office hit.

There is some reason to believe that Mitchum's arrest was less than fair and designed to bring publicity to the Los Angeles Police Department's anti-drug efforts. Although high-priced studio lawyers questioned irregularities in the case, it was later agreed that Mitchum would accept 60 days in jail and several years' probation.

Mitchum died in July 1997.

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