erik lundegaard

Sunday August 16, 2015

The Rise of Ty Cobb and the Fall of Ron Shelton

Can you rehabiliate the reputation of one man without tarnishing the rep of someone else? Here's an excerpt from Charles Leerhsen's bio, “Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty”:

“It is well known that Ty Cobb may have killed as many as three people,” Ron Shelton, the director of the 1994 movie Cobb, told me in the course of an email conversation. Really? Who were his victims? What were his motives? When did these crimes happen? Shelton declined to say, beyond repeating “All this is well known.” He was more forthcoming, though, about a squirm-inducing scene in his film in which Tommy Lee Jones, playing the sickly old Cobb, attempts to rape a cigarette girl at a Nevada casino but fails because of impotence. “What was that based on?” I asked. “That actually was not in the original screenplay,” he said—proudly, I thought. “That is something that Al and I came up with during the shoot. It felt like the sort of thing that Cobb might do.” “Al” of course was Al Stump, upon whose True story the movie was based, and who served as a consultant during the shoot and even made a cameo appearance. His first and last movie role, it would turn out. He died a few months later.

Here's my review of “Cobb.” Back then, I thought it was a bad movie about a bad man. If Leerhsen is correct, and Stump made up most of the bad things he said Cobb did? And Shelton helped him along per the above? It just dropped down even further on my list.  

Posted at 04:55 PM on Sunday August 16, 2015 in category Baseball  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard