Cabot in Sinners in Paradise (1938)
Etienne Pelissier Jacques de Bujac
April 20, 1904
Carlsbad, New Mexico, U.S.
|Died||May 3, 1972 (aged 68)|
Gracy Mary Mather Smith
(m. 1926; div. 1930)
(m. 1933; div. 1937)
Francesca De Scaffa
(m. 1950; div. 1957)
Bruce Cabot (born Étienne de Pelissier Bujac Jr., April 20, 1904 - May 3, 1972) was an American film actor, best remembered as Jack Driscoll in King Kong (1933) and for his roles in films such as The Last of the Mohicans (1936), Fritz Lang's Fury (1936) and the western Dodge City (1939). He was also known as one of "Wayne's Regulars", appearing in a number of John Wayne films beginning with Angel and the Badman (1947), and concluding with Big Jake (1971).
Cabot was born in Carlsbad, New Mexico to a prominent local lawyer, Major Étienne de Pelissier Bujac, Sr. and Julia Armandine Graves, who died shortly after giving birth to her son. Étienne, Sr., was the son of John James Bujac, a lawyer and mining expert in Baltimore, Maryland. Étienne, Sr., graduated from Cumberland School of Law near Nashville, Tennessee, and served in the United States army during the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War before settling in Carlsbad.
Cabot graduated from Sewanee Military Academy in 1921 and briefly attended the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, but left without graduating. He worked at many jobs, including as a sailor, an insurance salesman, oil worker, surveyor, and prize fighter; he also sold cars, handled real estate, and worked at a slaughterhouse. A meeting with David O. Selznick at a Hollywood party led to his acting career.
Cabot appeared in nearly one hundred feature films. He made his debut in an uncredited bit part in an episode of the serial Heroes of the Flames (1931). In Ann Vickers (1933), he portrays a soldier who seduces a naive woman (Irene Dunne) and gets her pregnant as he leaves for the war. He then appeared in King Kong (also 1933), which became an enormous success and established Cabot as a star.
He also portrays villains in several productions, appearing as a gangster boss in Let 'Em Have It (1935) and as the Huron warrior Magua opposite Randolph Scott in The Last of the Mohicans (1936). He costars with Spencer Tracy in Fritz Lang's first Hollywood film, Fury (1936), playing the leader of a lynch mob. He also appears with Errol Flynn in Michael Curtiz's epic Western Dodge City, which in 1939 was one of Warner Bros.'s biggest hits.
He tested for the lead role of The Ringo Kid in John Ford's Stagecoach (1939), but John Wayne was cast in the part. A consistent box office draw, Cabot appeared in many movies at many studios before leaving Hollywood to serve in World War II.
Cabot enlisted in December 1942 and, after Officer Training School in Miami Beach, became a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Force.
Cabot headed back to Hollywood and fell in with John Wayne (whose career was then in the ascendant) on the set of Angel and the Badman (1947) and became part of Wayne's circle, this relationship paying off in the 1960s when Wayne cast him in ten more of his films: The Comancheros (1961), Hatari! (1962), McLintock! (1963), In Harm's Way (1965), The War Wagon (1967), The Green Berets (1968), Hellfighters (1968), The Undefeated (1969), Chisum (1970), and Big Jake (1971).
He was inducted into the New Mexico Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2012.
He also appeared on other television series such as:
Cabot was married three times, in Florida to Mary Mather Smith with whom he divorced prior to moving to Hollywood, and to actresses Adrienne Ames and Francesca De Scaffa.
He was one of Errol Flynn's social pack for several years but they fell out during the production of the unfinished The Story of William Tell. Flynn was producing the film and asked Cabot, whom he described as "an old, old pal," to appear in it, knowing that Cabot was having difficulty finding work in Hollywood at that time. However, when Flynn's production partners went broke, production on the film halted leaving Flynn stranded in Rome facing financial ruin. Cabot, in an attempt to get paid when other cast members were working for no money, had Flynn's and his wife Patrice Wymore's personal cars and clothing in their Rome hotel seized. Flynn wrote angrily in his autobiography of what he termed Cabot's "betrayal."