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Why is Bloody Bill Anderson always portrayed older in movies?


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Answered 2011-09-13 14:39:58

Bloody Bil Anderson was killed when he was only 24 years old, but had seen many of his family members killed and maimed by th flagrant union occupation. He lead his men on savage raids of union men and is probably portrayed as older because of his charisma and machismo in leading a band of southern guerillas. How else would anyone follow a 24- 24 year old into battle? check out my artwork of bloody bill Anderson at

AnswerI've heard two different years for Bill Anderson's birth--either 1837 or 1840 (although his grave says 1840). So he was either 24 or 27 when he was killed.

I agree people don't perceive violent or battle hardened men as being handsome and in their mid-twenties. It's just typical for movies to potray a leader of a group of soldiers as a grizzled older male, rather than a young man who witnessed and took part in violence early on. One of Anderson's men, Archie Clements, was actually very baby faced.

Movies, for some reason, almost always portray historical characters as olderthan they were. If you saw John Wayne's THE Alamo, you'll remember LaurenceHarvey, who was in his late 40s at the time, playing William Barrett 'Buck' Travis. (Nobody who knew him called him anything but Buck.) Buck Travis was actually about 28 when he died in the Alamo. Wes Hardin is always portrayed as a man in his 40s, but he committed his last known killing in 1874. He was born in 1853. Until the movie TOMBSTONE, Doc Holliday--who was in his early 30s in 1881--was almost always portrayed by people much older. Kirk Douglas played him in THE GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL, & Douglas was in his mid-40s by then. Victor Mature played him in MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, & while he was close to the right age, Doc was a consumptive who stood about 5'10" & weighed less than 125 lbs. Mature was a body builder. In HOUR OF THE GUN Jason Robards, who was by then in his 50s, played him. Val Kilmer was the first one to be the right age & manage to look the part in TOMBSTONE. While it was a reasonably accurate historical portrayal, one scene showed Doc drunk. According to Wyatt Earp, Doc would "consume a pint of whiskey" to get going in the morning & upwards of a quart of whiskey a day, but Earp reports that he "never saw him stagger with intoxication." One thing they did get dead on was Doc's sense of humor. Earp called him "A philosopher of whom life & disease had made a caustic wit."



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