Sam Peckinpah

About Sam Peckinpah

Who is it?: Writer, Director, Producer
Birth Day: February 21, 1925
Birth Place:  Fresno, California, United States
Cause of death: Heart failure
Alma mater: California State University, Fresno, B.A. 1948 University of Southern California, M.A. 1952
Occupation: Film director and screenwriter
Years active: 1957–1984
Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Spouse(s): Marie Selland (1947–1960) Begoña Palacios (1965–1984) Joie Gould (1971–1972)

Sam Peckinpah

Sam Peckinpah was born on February 21, 1925 in  Fresno, California, United States, is Writer, Director, Producer. "If they move", commands stern-eyed William Holden, "kill 'em". So begins The Wild Bunch (1969), Sam Peckinpah's bloody, high-body-count eulogy to the mythologized Old West. "Pouring new wine into the bottle of the Western, Peckinpah explodes the bottle", observed critic Pauline Kael. That exploding bottle also christened the director with the nickname that would forever define his films and reputation: "Bloody Sam".David Samuel Peckinpah was born and grew up in Fresno, California, when it was still a sleepy town. Young Sam was a loner. The child's greatest influence was grandfather Denver Church, a judge, congressman and one of the best shots in the Sierra Nevadas. Sam served in the US Marine Corps during World War II but - to his disappointment - did not see combat. Upon returning to the US he enrolled in Fresno State College, graduating in 1948 with a B.A. in Drama. He married Marie Selland in Las Vegas in 1947 and they moved to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in the graduate Theater Department of the University of Southern California the next year. He eventually took his Masters in 1952.After drifting through several jobs -- including a stint as a floor-sweeper on The Liberace Show (1952) -- Sam got a job as Dialogue Director on Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954) for director Don Siegel. He worked for Siegel on several films, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), in which Sam played Charlie Buckholtz, the town meter reader. Peckinpah eventually became a scriptwriter for such TV programs as Gunsmoke (1955) and The Rifleman (1958) (which he created as an episode of Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theater (1956) titled "The Sharpshooter' in 1958). In 1961, as his marriage to Selland was coming to an end, he directed his first feature film, a western titled The Deadly Companions (1961) starring \Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara. However, it was with his second feature, Ride the High Country (1962), that Peckinpah really began to establish his reputation. Featuring Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott (in his final screen performance), its story about two aging gunfighters anticipated several of the themes Peckinpah would explore in future films, including the controversial "The Wild Bunch". Following "Ride the High Country" he was hired by producer Jerry Bresler to direct Major Dundee (1965), a cavalry-vs.-Indians western starring Charlton Heston. It turned out to be a film that brought to light Peckinpah's volatile reputation. During hot, on-location work in Mexico, his abrasive manner, exacerbated by booze and marijuana, provoked usually even-keeled Heston to threaten to run him through with a cavalry saber. However, when the studio later considered replacing Peckinpah, it was Heston who came to Sam's defense, going so far as to offer to return his salary to help offset any overages. Ironically, the studio accepted and Heston wound up doing the film for free.Post-production conflicts led to Sam engaging in a bitter and ultimately losing battle with Bresler and Columbia Pictures over the final cut and, as a result, the disjointed effort fizzled at the box office. It was during this period that Peckinpah met and married his second wife, Mexican actress Begoña Palacios. However, the reputation he earned because of the conflicts on "Major Dundee" contributed to Peckinpah being replaced as director on his next film, the Steve McQueen film The Cincinnati Kid (1965), by Norman Jewison.His second marriage now failing, Peckinpah did not get another feature project for two years. However, he did direct a powerful adaptation of Katherine Anne Porter's 'Noon Wine" for ABC Stage 67: Noon Wine (1966)). This, in turn, helped relaunch his feature career. He was hired by Warner Bros. to direct the film for which he is, justifiably, best remembered. The success of "The Wild Bunch" rejuvenated his career and propelled him through highs and lows in the 1970s. Between 1970-1978 he directed The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970), Straw Dogs (1971), Junior Bonner (1972), The Getaway (1972), Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), The Killer Elite (1975), Cross of Iron (1977) and Convoy (1978). Throughout this period controversy followed him. He provoked more rancor over his use of violence in "Straw Dogs", introduced Ali MacGraw to Steve McQueen in "The Getaway", fought with MGM's chief James T. Aubrey over his vision for "Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid" that included the casting of Bob Dylan in an unscripted role as a character called "Alias." His last solid effort was the WW II anti-war epic "Cross of Iron", about a German unit fighting on the Russian front, with Maximilian Schell and James Coburn, bringing the picture in successfully despite severe financial problems.Peckinpah lived life to its fullest. He drank hard and abused drugs, producers and collaborators. At the end of his life he was considering a number of projects including the Stephen King-scripted "The Shotgunners". He was returning from Mexico in December 1984 when he died from heart failure in a hospital in Inglewood, California, at age 59. At a standing-room-only gathering that held at the Directors Guild the following month, Coburn remembered the director as a man "who pushed me over the abyss and then jumped in after me. He took me on some great adventures". To which Robert Culp added that what is surprising is not that Sam only made fourteen pictures, but that given the way he went about it, he managed to make any at all.
Sam Peckinpah is a member of Writer

Does Sam Peckinpah Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Sam Peckinpah has been died on December 28, 1984(1984-12-28) (aged 59)\nInglewood, California, U.S..

🎂 Sam Peckinpah - Age, Bio, Faces and Birthday

When Sam Peckinpah die, Sam Peckinpah was 59 years old.

Popular As Sam Peckinpah
Occupation Writer
Age 59 years old
Zodiac Sign Pisces
Born February 21, 1925 ( Fresno, California, United States)
Birthday February 21
Town/City  Fresno, California, United States
Nationality United States

🌙 Zodiac

Sam Peckinpah’s zodiac sign is Pisces. According to astrologers, Pisces are very friendly, so they often find themselves in a company of very different people. Pisces are selfless, they are always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back. Pisces is a Water sign and as such this zodiac sign is characterized by empathy and expressed emotional capacity.

🌙 Chinese Zodiac Signs

Sam Peckinpah was born in the Year of the Ox. Another of the powerful Chinese Zodiac signs, the Ox is steadfast, solid, a goal-oriented leader, detail-oriented, hard-working, stubborn, serious and introverted but can feel lonely and insecure. Takes comfort in friends and family and is a reliable, protective and strong companion. Compatible with Snake or Rooster.

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The Peckinpahs originated from the Frisian Islands in the North West of Europe. Both sides of Peckinpah's family migrated to the American West by covered wagon in the mid-19th century. Peckinpah and several relatives often claimed Native American ancestry, but this has been denied by surviving family members. Peckinpah's great-grandfather, Rice Peckinpaugh, a merchant and farmer in Indiana, moved to Humboldt County, California, in the 1850s, working in the logging Business, and changed the spelling of the family name to "Peckinpah."


The film detailed a gang of veteran outlaws on the Texas/Mexico border in 1913 trying to survive within a rapidly approaching modern world. The Wild Bunch is framed by two ferocious and infamous gunfights, beginning with a failed robbery of the railway company office and concluding with the outlaws battling the Mexican army in suicidal vengeance prompted by the brutal torture and murder of one of their members.


When The Wild Bunch was re-released for its 25th anniversary, even though it received an NC-17 rating from the MPAA, the depiction of violence, especially in the opening robbery sequence, had been significantly edited to soften its impact. Peckinpah received his only Academy Award nomination (for Best Original Screenplay) for this film.


In 1943, he joined the United States Marine Corps. Within two years, his battalion was sent to China with the task of disarming Japanese Soldiers and repatriating them following World War II. While his duty did not include combat, he claims to have witnessed acts of war between Chinese and Japanese Soldiers. According to friends, these included several acts of torture and the murder of a laborer by sniper fire. The American Marines were not permitted to intervene. Peckinpah also claimed he was shot during an attack by Communist forces. Also during his final weeks as a Marine, he applied for discharge in Peking, so he could marry a local woman, but was refused. His experiences in China reportedly deeply affected Peckinpah, and may have influenced his depictions of violence in his films.


After being discharged in Los Angeles, he attended California State University, Fresno, where he studied history. While a student, he met and married his first wife, Marie Selland, in 1947. A drama major, Selland introduced Peckinpah to the theater department and he became interested in directing for the first time. During his senior year, he adapted and directed a one-hour version of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.


After graduation in 1948, Peckinpah enrolled in graduate studies in drama at University of Southern California. He spent two seasons as the Director in residence at Huntington Park Civic Theatre near Los Angeles before obtaining his master's degree. He was asked to stay another year, but Peckinpah began working as a stagehand at KLAC-TV in the belief that television experience would eventually lead to work in films. Even during this early stage of his career, Peckinpah was developing a combative streak. Reportedly, he was kicked off the set of The Liberace Show for not wearing a tie, and he refused to cue a car salesman during a live feed because of his attitude towards stagehands.


Invasion of the Body Snatchers, in which Peckinpah appeared as Charlie the meter reader, starred Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. It became one of the most critically praised science fiction films of the 1950s. Peckinpah claimed to have done an extensive rewrite on the film's screenplay, a statement which remains controversial.


In 1954, Peckinpah was hired as a dialogue coach for the film Riot in Cell Block 11. His job entailed acting as an assistant for the movie's Director, Don Siegel. The film was shot on location at Folsom Prison. Reportedly, the warden was reluctant to allow the filmmakers to work at the prison until he was introduced to Peckinpah. The warden knew his family from Fresno and was immediately cooperative. Siegel's location work and his use of actual prisoners as extras in the film made a lasting impression on Peckinpah. He worked as a dialogue coach on four additional Siegel films: Private Hell 36 (1954), An Annapolis Story, (1955, and co-starring L. Q. Jones), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and Crime in the Streets (1956).


On the recommendation of Don Siegel, Peckinpah established himself during the late 1950s as a scriptwriter of western series of the era, selling scripts to Gunsmoke, Have Gun – Will Travel, The Rifleman, Broken Arrow, Klondike, and Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre. He wrote one episode "The Town" (December 13, 1957) for the CBS series, Trackdown, starring Robert Culp as the Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman. The script is about a cowardly town afraid to resist the clutches of an outlaw gang.


In 1958, Peckinpah wrote a script for Gunsmoke that was rejected due to content. He reworked the screenplay, titled The Sharpshooter, and sold it to Zane Grey Theater. The episode received popular response and became the television series The Rifleman, starring Chuck Connors. Peckinpah directed four episodes of the series (with guest stars R. G. Armstrong and Warren Oates), but left after the first year. The Rifleman ran for five seasons and achieved enduring popularity in syndication.


During this time, he also created the television series The Westerner, starring Brian Keith and in three episodes also featuring John Dehner. Peckinpah wrote and directed a pilot called Trouble at Tres Cruzes, which was aired in March 1959 before the actual series was made in 1960. Peckinpah acted as Producer of the series, having a hand in the writing of each episode and directing five of them. Critically praised, the show ran for only 13 episodes before cancellation mainly due to its gritty content detailing the drifting, laconic Cowboy Dave Blassingame (Brian Keith). Especially noteworthy are the episodes Jeff and Hand on the Gun, extraordinary in their depiction of violence and their imaginative directing, forerunners of his later feature films. Despite its short run, The Westerner and Peckinpah were nominated by the Producers Guild of America for Best Filmed Series. An episode of the series eventually served as the basis for Tom Gries' 1968 film Will Penny starring Charlton Heston. The Westerner, which has since achieved cult status, further established Peckinpah as a talent to be reckoned with.


Throughout much of his adult life, Peckinpah was affected by alcoholism, and, later, other forms of drug addiction. According to some accounts, he also suffered from mental illness, possibly manic depression or paranoia. It is believed his drinking problems began during his Service in the military while stationed in China, when he frequented the saloons of Tianjin and Beijing. After divorcing Selland, the mother of his first four children, in 1960, he married Mexican Actress Begoña Palacios in 1965. A stormy relationship developed, and over the years they married on three separate occasions. They had one daughter together. His personality reportedly often swung between a sweet, softly-spoken, artistic disposition, and bouts of rage and violence during which he verbally and physically abused himself and others. An experienced hunter, Peckinpah was fascinated with firearms and was known to shoot the mirrors in his house while abusing alcohol, an image which occurs several times in his films.


After cancellation of The Westerner, Brian Keith was cast as the male lead in the 1961 Western film The Deadly Companions. He suggested Peckinpah as Director and the project's Producer Charles B. Fitzsimons accepted the idea. By most accounts, the low-budget film shot on location in Arizona was a learning process for Peckinpah, who feuded with Fitzsimons (brother of the film's star Maureen O'Hara) over the screenplay and staging of the scenes. Reportedly, Fitzsimons refused to allow Peckinpah to give direction to O'Hara. Unable to rewrite the screenplay or edit the picture, Peckinpah vowed to never again direct a film unless he had script control. The Deadly Companions passed largely without notice and is the least known of Peckinpah's films.


His second film, Ride the High Country (1962), was based on the screenplay Guns in the Afternoon written by N.B. Stone, Jr. Producer Richard Lyons admired Peckinpah's work on The Westerner and offered him the directing job. Peckinpah did an extensive rewrite of the screenplay, including personal references from his own childhood growing up on Denver Church's ranch, and even naming one of the mining towns "Coarsegold." He based the character of Steve Judd, a once-famous lawman fallen on hard times, on his own father David Peckinpah. In the screenplay, Judd and old friend Gil Westrum are hired to transport gold from a mining community through dangerous territory. Westrum hopes to talk Judd into taking the gold for themselves. Along the way, following Judd's Example, Westrum slowly realizes his own self-respect is far more important than profit. During the final shootout, when Judd and Westrum stand up to a trio of men, Judd is fatally wounded but his death serves as Westrum's salvation, a Catholic tragedy woven from the cloth of the Western genre. This sort of salvation became a major theme in many Peckinpah's later films. Starring aging Western stars Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott in their final major screen roles, the film initially went unnoticed in the United States but was an enormous success in Europe. Beating Federico Fellini's 8½ for first prize at the Belgium Film Festival, the film was hailed by foreign critics as a brilliant reworking of the Western genre. New York critics also discovered Peckinpah's unusual Western, with Newsweek naming Ride the High Country the best film of the year and Time placing it on its ten-best list. By some critics, the film is admired as one of Peckinpah's greatest works.


Peckinpah was next signed to direct The Cincinnati Kid, a gambling drama about a young Prodigy who takes on an old master during a big New Orleans poker match. Before filming started, Producer Martin Ransohoff began to receive phone calls about the Major Dundee ordeal and was told Peckinpah was impossible to work with. Peckinpah decided to shoot in black and white and was hoping to transform the screenplay into a social realist saga about a kid surviving the tough streets of the Great Depression. After four days of filming, which reportedly included some nude scenes, Ransohoff disliked the rushes and immediately fired him. Eventually directed by Norman Jewison and starring Steve McQueen, the film went on to become a 1965 hit.


Peckinpah caught a lucky break in 1966 when Producer Daniel Melnick needed a Writer and Director to adapt Katherine Anne Porter's short novel Noon Wine for television. Melnick was a big fan of The Westerner and Ride the High Country, and had heard Peckinpah had been unfairly fired from The Cincinnati Kid. Against the objections of many within the industry, Melnick hired Peckinpah and gave him free rein. Peckinpah completed the script, which Porter enthusiastically endorsed, and the project became an hour-long presentation for ABC Stage 67.


It was quickly decided that The Wild Bunch, which had several similarities to Goldman's work, would be produced in order to beat Butch Cassidy to the theaters. By the fall of 1967, Peckinpah was rewriting the screenplay into what became The Wild Bunch. Filmed on location in Mexico, Peckinpah's epic work was inspired by a number of forces—his hunger to return to films, the violence seen in Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde, America's growing frustration with the Vietnam War, and what he perceived to be the utter lack of reality seen in Westerns up to that time. He set out to make a film which portrayed not only the vicious violence of the period, but the crude men attempting to survive the era. During this period, Peckinpah said that his life was changed by seeing Carlos Saura's La Caza (1966), which profoundly influenced his subsequent oeuvre.


Irreverent and unprecedented in its explicit detail, the 1969 film was an instant success. Multiple scenes attempted in Major Dundee, including slow motion action sequences, characters leaving a village as if in a funeral procession and the use of inexperienced locals as extras, were perfected in The Wild Bunch. Many critics denounced its violence as sadistic and exploitative. Other critics and filmmakers hailed the originality of its unique rapid editing style, created for the first time in this film and ultimately becoming a Peckinpah trademark, and praised the reworking of traditional Western themes. It was the beginning of Peckinpah's international fame, and he and his work remained controversial for the rest of his life. The film was ranked No. 80 on the American Film Institute's top 100 list of the greatest American films ever made and No. 69 as the most thrilling, but the controversy has not diminished.


Defying audience expectations, as he often did, Peckinpah immediately followed The Wild Bunch with the elegiac, funny and mostly non-violent 1970 Western The Ballad of Cable Hogue. Utilizing many of the same cast (L. Q. Jones, Strother Martin) and crew members of The Wild Bunch, the film covered three years in the life of small-time Entrepreneur Cable Hogue (Jason Robards) who decides to make his living by remaining in the desert after having miraculously discovered water when he had been abandoned there to die. He opens his Business along a stagecoach line, only to see his dreams end with the appearance of the first automobile on the horizon.


Despite his growing alcoholism and controversial reputation, Peckinpah was prolific during this period of his life. In May 1971, weeks after completing Straw Dogs, he returned to the United States to begin work on Junior Bonner. The lyrical screenplay by Jeb Rosenbrook, depicting the changing times of society and binding family ties, appealed to Peckinpah's tastes. He accepted the project, at the time concerned with being typed as a Director of violent action. The film was his final attempt to make a low-key, dramatic work in the vein of Noon Wine and The Ballad of Cable Hogue.


Eager to work with Peckinpah again, Steve McQueen presented him Walter Hill's screenplay to The Getaway. Based on the Jim Thompson novel, the gritty crime thriller detailed lovers on the run following a dangerous robbery. Both Peckinpah and McQueen needed a hit, and they immediately began working on the film in February 1972. Peckinpah had no pretensions about making The Getaway, as his only goal was to create a highly polished thriller to boost his market value. McQueen played Doc McCoy, a convicted robber who colludes with corrupt businessman Jack Beynon (Ben Johnson) to be released from prison and later masterminds a bank heist organized by Beynon.


It was in this state of mind that Peckinpah agreed to make Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Based on the screenplay by Rudolph Wurlitzer, who had previously penned Two-Lane Blacktop, a film admired by Peckinpah, the Director was convinced that he was about to make his definitive statement on the Western genre. The script offered Peckinpah the opportunity to explore themes that appealed to him: two former partners forced by changing times onto opposite sides of the law, manipulated by corrupt economic interests. Peckinpah rewrote the screenplay, establishing Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid as friends, and attempted to weave an epic tragedy from the historical legend. Filmed on location in the Mexican state of Durango, the film starred James Coburn and Kris Kristofferson in the title roles, with a huge supporting cast including Bob Dylan, who composed the film's music, Jason Robards, R. G. Armstrong, Richard Jaeckel, Jack Elam, Chill Wills, Katy Jurado, Matt Clark, L. Q. Jones, Rutanya Alda, Slim Pickens, and Harry Dean Stanton. From the beginning, Peckinpah began to have clashes with MGM and its President James Aubrey, known for his stifling of creative interests and eventual dismantling of the historic movie company. Numerous production difficulties, including an outbreak of influenza and malfunctioning cameras, combined with Peckinpah's growing problems with alcohol, resulted in one of the most troubled productions of his career. Principal photography finished 21 days behind schedule and $1.6 million over budget. Enraged, Aubrey severely cut Peckinpah's film from 124 to 106 minutes, resulting in Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid being released in a truncated version largely disowned by cast and crew members. Critics complained that the film was incoherent, and the experience soured Peckinpah forever on Hollywood. In 1988, however, Peckinpah's director's cut was released on video and led to a reevaluation, with many critics hailing it as a mistreated classic and one of the era's best films. Filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese, have praised the film as one of the greatest modern Westerns.


In the eyes of his admirers, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) was the "last true Peckinpah film." The Director himself claimed that it was the only one of his films to be released exactly as he intended it. A project in development for many years and based on an idea by Frank Kowalski, Peckinpah wrote the screenplay with the assistance of Kowalski, Walter Kelley and Gordon Dawson. An alcohol-soaked fever dream involving revenge, greed and murder in the Mexican countryside, the film featured Bennie (Warren Oates) as a thinly disguised self-portrait of Peckinpah, and co-starred a burlap bag containing the severed head of a gigolo being sought by a Mexican patrone for having impregnated his young granddaughter. Bennie is offered a reward of ten thousand dollars for Alfredo's death or proof thereof and Alfredo's head is demanded as proof that the contract has been fulfilled. The macabre drama was part black comedy, action film and tragedy, with a warped edge rarely seen in Peckinpah's works. Most critics were repulsed, and it was listed in the book The 50 Worst Films of All Time by Harry Medved and Randy Dreyfuss. One of the few critics to praise the film was Roger Ebert, and in fact, the film's reputation has grown in recent years, with many noting its uncompromising vision as well as its anticipation of the violent black comedy which became famous in the works of such Directors as David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino. While a failure at the box office, the film today has a cult following. In 1991, UCLA's film school organized a festival of great but forgotten American films, and included Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia in the program. It is reportedly Takeshi Kitano's favorite film. It also led a film critic to paraphrase the film's title in an attack on the Director, saying, "Bring Me the Head of Sam Peckinpah."


Still renowned in 1975, Peckinpah was offered the opportunity to direct the eventual blockbusters King Kong (1976) and Superman (1978). He turned down both offers and chose instead the bleak and vivid World War II drama Cross of Iron (1977). The screenplay was based on a novel about a platoon of German Soldiers in 1943 on the verge of utter collapse on the Taman Peninsula on the Eastern Front. The German production was filmed in Yugoslavia. Working with James Hamilton and Walter Kelley, Peckinpah rewrote the screenplay and screened numerous Nazi documentaries in preparation. Almost immediately, Peckinpah realized he was working on a low-budget production, as he had to spend $90,000 of his own money to hire experienced crew members. While not suffering from the cocaine abuse which marked The Killer Elite, Peckinpah continued to drink heavily causing his direction to become confused and erratic. The production abruptly ran out of funds, and Peckinpah was forced to completely improvise the concluding sequence, filming the scene in one day. Despite these obstacles, the film's war footage was stunning and James Coburn, in the lead role of Rolf Steiner, gave one of the finest performances of his career. Co-starring James Mason, Maximilian Schell, David Warner and Senta Berger, Cross of Iron was noted for its opening montage utilizing documentary footage as well as the visceral impact of the unusually intense battle sequences. The film was a huge box office success in Europe, inspiring the sequel Breakthrough starring Richard Burton. Cross of Iron was reportedly a favorite of Orson Welles, who said that after All Quiet on the Western Front it was the finest anti-war film he had ever seen. The film performed poorly in the U.S., eclipsed ultimately by Star Wars, though today it is highly regarded and considered the last gasp of Peckinpah's once-great talent.


Hoping to create a blockbuster, Peckinpah decided to take on Convoy (1978). His associates were perplexed, as they felt his choice to direct such substandard material was a result of his renewed cocaine use and continued alcoholism. Based on the hit song by C. W. McCall, the film was an attempt to capitalize on the huge success of Smokey and the Bandit (1977). In spite of his addictions, Peckinpah felt compelled to turn the genre exercise into something more significant. Unhappy with the screenplay written by B.W.L. Norton, Peckinpah tried to encourage the actors to re-write, improvise and ad-lib their dialogue. In another departure from the script, Peckinpah attempted to add a new dimension by casting a pair of black actors as members of the convoy, Madge Sinclair as Widow Woman and Franklyn Ajaye as Spider Mike. Filmed in New Mexico and starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw and Ernest Borgnine, Convoy turned out to be yet another troubled Peckinpah production, with the director's health a continuing Problem. Friend and actor James Coburn was brought in to serve as second unit Director, and he filmed many of the scenes while Peckinpah remained in his on-location trailer. The film wrapped in September 1977, 11 days behind schedule and $5 million over budget. Surprisingly, Convoy was the highest-grossing picture of Peckinpah's career, notching $46.5 million at the box office, but was panned by many critics, leaving his reputation seriously damaged. For the first time in almost a decade, Peckinpah finished a picture and found himself unemployed.


For the next three years, Peckinpah remained a professional outcast. But during the summer of 1981, his original mentor Don Siegel gave him a chance to return to filmmaking. While shooting Jinxed!, a comedy drama starring Bette Midler and Rip Torn, Siegel asked Peckinpah if he would be interested in directing 12 days of second unit work. Peckinpah immediately accepted, and his earnest collaboration, while uncredited, was noted within the industry. For the final time, Peckinpah found himself back in the directing Business.


By 1982, Peckinpah's health was poor. Producers Peter S. Davis and william N. Panzer were undaunted, as they felt that having Peckinpah's name attached to The Osterman Weekend (1983) would lend the suspense thriller an air of respectability. Peckinpah accepted the job but reportedly hated the convoluted screenplay based upon Robert Ludlum's novel, which he also disliked. Multiple actors in Hollywood auditioned for the film, intrigued by the opportunity. Many of those who signed on, including John Hurt, Burt Lancaster and Dennis Hopper, did so for less than their usual salaries for a chance to work with the legendary Director. By the time shooting wrapped in January 1983 in Los Angeles, Peckinpah and the producers were hardly speaking. Nevertheless, Peckinpah brought the film in on time and on budget, delivering his director's cut to the producers. Davis and Panzer were unhappy with Peckinpah's version, which included an opening sequence of two characters making love. The producers changed the opening and also deleted other scenes they deemed unnecessary. The Osterman Weekend had some effective action sequences and some strong supporting performances, but Peckinpah's final film was critically panned. It grossed $6.5 million in the United States (nearly recouping its budget) and did well in Europe and on the new home-video market.


Peckinpah was seriously ill during his final years, as a lifetime of hard living caught up with him. Regardless, he continued to work until his last months. He died of heart failure on December 28, 1984. At the time, he was working on the script for On the Rocks, a projected independent film to be shot in San Francisco. Peckinpah lived at the Murray Hotel in Livingston, Montana, from 1979 until his death in 1984.


A series of double-crosses ensues and Doc and his wife Carol (MacGraw) attempt to flee from their pursuers to Mexico. Replete with explosions, car chases and intense shootouts, the film became Peckinpah's biggest financial success to date earning more than $25 million at the box office. Though strictly a commercial product, Peckinpah's creative touches abound throughout, most notably during the intricately edited opening sequence when McQueen's character is suffering from the pressures of prison life. The film remains popular and was remade in 1994. starring Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger.


Peckinpah's last work as a filmmaker was undertaken two months before his death. He was hired by Producer Martin Lewis to shoot two music videos featuring Julian Lennon—"Valotte" and "Too Late For Goodbyes." The critically acclaimed videos led to Lennon's nomination for Best New Video Artist at the 1985 MTV Video Music Awards.

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