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Where Are They NOW?

What Happened to the Cast of Giant?
By KIRBY F. WARNOCK |

Elizabeth Taylor Only 24 years old when she starred as Leslie Benedict, Ms. Taylor went on to become a Hollywood legend, making several movies after Giant, including Cleopatra, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as well as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Butterfield8, for which she won Academy Awards. Her last movie appearance was, believe it or not, in The Flintstones as Fred’s mother-in-law. Shestart-ed Giant married to Michael Wilding, divorced him during production of the film, and by the release date was married to Mike Todd. To date, she’s been married eight times. Today she promotes her own line of perfume and does work on behalf of her AIDS foundation,

Rock Hudson Created by Hollywood’s studio system as the new leading man in line to replace Gable and Cooper, Hudson made more movies after Giant (The Sun Also Rises, Ice Station Zebra) but felt that Giant was his best performance, His biggest claim to fame came on the small screen, in the popular television series, “McMillan and Wife.” The first big-name Hollywood star to die from an AIDS-related illness, he kept his homosexuality a secret from his fans.

James Dean He made only three films-East of Milan, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant-but his untimely death in a car crash on Sept. 7,1955, cemented his place as a teen idol and cult figure. At least six films examine his life and early death, and he recently was honored with his own stamp from the U.S. Postal Service.



Chill Wills After Giant, he went on to a career, in his words, as a “professional Texan.” He appeared in several films {The Alamo, The Wheeler Dealers) playing a lovable, hard-drinking personification of Uncle Bawley, his character in Giant. He died on Dec. 15,1978.



Carroll Baker Her appearance in Giant made her a hot property, and for a while she seemed to be the next blond bombshell, with roles in Harlow ma baby Doll. But something happened and she moved to Europe to live as an expatriate. She’s resurfaced in a few recent films, including Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Kindergarten Cop.



Dennis Hopper when he portrayed young Jordan Benedict, Hopper has lived the life of a Hollywood movie script. After Giant he was cast in several westerns (Sons of Katie Elder, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral) until he made Busy Rider with Peter Fonda. What followed was a descent into drugs, a near-ban from the movie business and ever-smaller roles in films like Apocalypse Now. Hopper’s resurrection began with Hoosiers and Blue Velvet, followed by his major success as the deranged terrorist in Speed. He’s dried out now and remarried.



Earl Holliman

He was Hopper’s roommate in Marfa during Giant, and for a while their careers paralleled each other, with both of them appearing in Sons of Katie Elder and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. While Hopper headed for the drug culture in Easy Rider, Holliman stayed more in the cinematic main -stream with roles in Forbidden Planet, Train Train From Gun Hill and The Rainmaker. Best known for his role on television’s “Police Woman” as Angie Dickinson’s partner, today he lives in Southern California and works with the organization, Actors for Animals.



Fran Bennett Born Francis Bene- dum, she grew up in Fort Worth, attended Hockaday School, then went to the University of Miami where she was Orange Bowl Queen. She headed for Hollywood, landed the role of Judy Benedict in Giant, then appeared on a few television series (“Perry Mason,” “Highway Patrol”) and the last movie serial produced, King of the Carnival. Retired from films, she lives today in Fort Worth.



Mercedes McCambridge

A respected actress of film and stage, McCambridge did not enjoy her summer stay in Marfa. The heat from Texas’ seven-year drought, a battle with alcoholism and the endless burned landscape caused her to remark that Giant was filmed, ” in a large part of the ugliest landscape on the face of the earth.” Since Giant she has performed numerous roles, including Agnes of God on Broadway and the voice of the devil in The Exorcist.



Jane Withers She made dozens of B westerns before taking the role of Vashti Hake, Bick’s “next door neighbor.” Oddly enough, she is most remembered by baby boomers as Josephine the Plumber in the Comet commercials. She has a daughter in Dallas, the caterer Wendy Moss, and visits the city often.



The Reata When Stevens was finished filming, he left the gigantic Reata facade standing on the Evans Ranch. For years it loomed as a reminder of Marfa’s brush with fame, a magnet for curiosity seekers willing to make the long drive- nearly 10 hours from Dallas-and for writers or reporters looking for pieces of Texana. Texas Film Commission staffer Carol Pirie says that the Reata ruins “are the closest thing Texas has to Jerusalem.” The pilgrims still come, even though it is now just a pile of rubble. To this day some people swear that the Reata actually existed as a working ranch-the final triumph of myth over reality. 03