logo     Updated 14 July 2005  URL is http://our.tentativetimes.net/dean/hinkle.html

Robert Hinkle,
a Biography

UPDATE: Bob Hinkle  co-starred with Chuck Norris in a two hour Walker, Texas Ranger show. Because it is the first two hour episode, it was released as a film in Europe as well as on video  at Blockbuster, where you can buy it or rent it.   Way to go, Bob!! Congratulate him at his new email address, texasbobhinkle@msn.com

Bob Hinkle

      Another legend from Hollywood has again delighted us at the Fairmount Museum Days (James Dean festival.)  Bob Hinkle is the man who taught James Dean to use a lasso. He was the dialogue director and technical director for Giant and helped create Dean's role. On the last day of shooting, at a cast and crew party, Dean gave Bob an Oscar for his help. That's another story!

      In January, 1998, I asked Mr. Hinkle to tell me the story of his Oscar from James Dean. It seems that at the end of filming Giant, the cast and crew members exchanged gifts. Ancient Hollywood custom. Dean's gift to Bob was an actual Oscar statue, purchased blank but later engraved by someone for James Dean to present to Bob. This Oscar statue is now at the Fairmount Historical Society Museum in Fairmount, Indiana, where you can see it for yourself.

      Bob runs the rock lasso contest at the festival. This year I learned what it's all about. You use a supple rope with just the right rock knotted onto the end. Adam Pelletier taught some of us how to whip it about so the rope makes a knot in itself.


      I used to work for an ex-rodeo man, grooming horses, and I know from experience that these guys move slowly, because everything in their body has been broken at least once. This didn't seem to be the case with Bob!

Bob Hinkle has a new email address as of January 1, 2000. Write to him at texasbobhinkle@msn.com



      We all enjoyed Bob greatly at the '97 James Dean Festival in Fairmount (properly called Fairmount Museum Days.) Here's his updated bio from Universal Studios.

Motion Picture News, from Universal Studios:

Robert Hinkle, a biography.

      From the rodeo to the studio, Robert Hinkle's career has spanned the latter half of the 20th century. Whether acting, directing or producing, "Texas Bob" has touched the lives of many of the entertainment industry's marquee names. His own eclectic accomplishments can be attributed to a passion for living, a talent for entertaining others, and a flair for the dramatic.

      In 1952 Hinkle left behind a future calf-roping, steer wrestling career to try his hand at acting in Hollywood. As for foresaking rodeo lights for studio lights, Hinkle confesses: "I didn't really have that little extra something that it takes to be a world-champion cowboy like my friend Larry Mahan." His acting debut came after crashing the Universal Pictures lot during the filming of Bronc Busters. Bob's western appearance and demeanor caught the director's eye and landed him a role as a cowboy extra. Hinkle's authentic screen presence led to many other cowboy roles over the years, including acting alongside Paul Newman in Hud. His roles in well-known TV westerns such as Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, Wyatt Earp, Wells Fargo and Tombstone Territory.

      The 1955 production of the classic movie Giant marked a turning point for Hinkle. Bob was the movie's dialogue director and technical director, and as such helped create the roll of Jett Rink for James Dean. Bob's easy-going manner and down-home drawl made him the perfect candidate to coach Dean to "talk Texan." (Dean later presented his friend Hinkle with an Oscar for his contribution to the film's towering success.) On the production end, Hinkle's most notable inspiration was director George Stevens, whom Hinkle studied for many, many hours. Bob particularly admired Steven's ability to elicit extraordinary performances from the cast of Giant, which included James Dean, Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.

      In 1960 Universal Pictures released the motion picture Old Rex, a family movie about a boy and his dog, which Hinkle wrote, directed and produced. Other notable productions included Born Hunters, a short subject which led to a contract with Universal Studios, and then Mr. Chat, a live-action short subject which won Hinkle an Academy Award nomination.

      Hinkle brought his experience from Giant as well as from his own productions to the set of Hud in 1962. Not only did Bob do for Paul; Newman what he had done for James Dean in dialogue coaching, but Hinkle also received critical acclaim for creating and directing a scene in Hud. At various times he wore the hats of technical advisor, second-unit director and associate producer, positions which he enjoyed as much or more than acting.

      Beginning in the 1960s Hinkle's talents branched out to other facets of the entertainment industry. In 1964 he signed an unknown singer named Glen Campbell to a series of country music specials, with Jeannie Seely and Henson Cargill. The same year he became the personal manager for character actor Chill Wills. In 1968 a young unknown stunt performer named Robert Craig Knievel asked Hinkle to help make him a household name on the magnitude of Elvis Presley. For the next 3 years, Hinkle developed and promoted "Evel" Knievel, the worlds best known showman-daredevil. In 1970, Hinkle became the Personal Manager for Marty Robbins who first dubbed Hinkle "Texas Bob."

      In 1972, Hinkle combined his film-production roots with his country music background by producing and directing Country Music for Universal Studios, starring Robbins and Sammy Jackson. This was followed in 1973 by Guns of a Stranger starring Robbins and Chill Wills. In 1982, Hinkle pulled out all the stops when he directed and produced the motion picture Atoka, in which 100,000 people got together for a picnic with Willie Nelson, Larry Gatlin, Don Williams, Freddy Weller, Red Steagall, host Marty Robbins and others. Later, as General Manager of Network One in Nashville, Hinkle produced numerous TV shows, music videos and national commercials.

      Amid Hinkle's entertainment pursuits, he managed to find time to become a licensed pilot, dabble as a realtor in California and open a restaurant in Tacoma, Washington. His most memorable achievement, however, was winning a bet with a buddy in 1950. Hinkle bet $20.00 that he couldn't get a date with the Queen of the Rodeo at Moses Lake, Washington. After introducing himself to Sandra Larson and dedicating his bull ride to her, complete with a tip of his hat from the center of the arena, Sandra not only went to the dance with him that night but married Hinkle a year and a half later! The Hinkles raised three children and now live back home in Texas. Although Bob is semi-retired, his pace continues as he helps disaster victims through his work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.


      All righty then, that is some long and varied career! We enjoy Bob every year and look forward to many more Rock Lasso contests and lessons from Bob each September in Fairmount, Indiana. Anyone who wants to send reminiscences about Bob is welcome to email us.


Bob Hinkle has email now!! Write to him at texasbobhinkle@msn.com


Here's the promised link back to the opening page of the '97 James Dean festival in Fairmount, Indiana.

You can always turn to the index of James Dean Pages on this site. Thanks for stopping in!


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