MOVIE CAST: AUDIE MURPHY, CHILL WILLS, LEE VAN CLEEF, LORI NELSON, and LEE VAN CLEEF This 10¼x8 printed color photograph is signed by four of the stars of the 1953 western film Tumbleweed

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MOVIE CAST: AUDIE MURPHY, CHILL WILLS, LEE VAN CLEEF, LORI NELSON, and LEE VAN CLEEF This 10¼x8 printed color photograph is signed by four of the stars of the 1953 western film Tumbleweed. Extremely rare! Printed Photograph Signed in Ink: "Good luck / Lee Van / Cleef", "Sincerely, / Lori Nelson", "My best / Audie Murphy", and "Chill Wills". 10¼x8. Actual image 9½x7 with a white border (one surface). The colorized image depicts five stars of the 1953 western film Tumbleweed. Lee Van Cleef stands in the background to the left, while, from left to right, Lori Nelson, Russell Johnson (did not sign), Chill Wills, and Audie Murphy stand in the foreground. All four signers had major parts in this western film, where Jim Harvey (played by Murphy) is framed by a group of ruffians. Audie Murphy (1924-1971) was born to a poor Irish sharecropper in Kingston, Texas. He would become the most decorated United States soldier in World War II and a successful movie star. Having always dreamed of joining the military he changed his birthdate to join The United States Army when he was only seventeen. During the war Murphy was promoted several times and eventually took command of his own company. On January 26, 1945, his unit was part of the battle at Holtzwihr, France. After his unit was reduced to the strength of nineteen men he sent all of his men to the rear while he covered. After running out of ammunition Murphy climbed into a burning tank destroyer and began cutting down German infantry with its .50 caliber machine gun. He fought back the Germans for over an hour. For his valor on the day he was awarded the Medal of Honor. His service during the war gained him thirty three U.S. medals, every medal available at the time. After the war he suffered from various mental illnesses and became very outspoken about his own problems with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. In 1945, actor James Cagney invited Murphy to come work in Hollywood. The same year he released his bestselling ghostwritten autobiography To Hell and Back, he starred in Bad Boy (1949). To Hell and Back was turned into a 1955 film that featured the actor as himself. He spent twenty one years in Hollywood, making 44 feature films. He also appeared on television and became a successful country music songwriter. On May 28, 1971, Murphy died when his private plane crashed in Virginia. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Chill Wills (1902-1978) began his career as a child performer in tent shows, stock and vaudeville in the Southwest. In the 1930s he formed a band, Chill Wills and the Avalon Boys, which appeared in several Westerns until they disbanded in 1938. Known primarily as a character actor, Wills appeared in films like Giant (1956), The Alamo (1960) and McLintock! (1963). He also voiced Francis the Talking Mule, a comical talking mule that starred in six films from 1951-1955. Wills was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award in 1960 for The Alamo. Lori Nelson (1933-2020) began acting in local theatre productions when she was just two years old; by the age of five she had won the title of Little Miss America, after which she took up modeling. It was in 1950 that Nelson signed a 7-year contract with Universal-International and appeared in many movies including Bend of the River (1952), Revenge of the Creature (1955), and Hot Rod Girl (1956). She is also well known for her role in the sitcom How to Marry a Millionaire, in which she had a starring role. Nelson also appears in the movie The Naked Monster (2005), her last role to date. Lee Van Cleef (1925-1989) made his film debut just a year before this film was released; he would rack up over 170 film and television credits by the time his career was over. Born as Clarence Leroy Van Cleef Jr., he was well-known for his portrayal of antagonists, especially in westerns. He made his debut in High Noon (1952), cast as one of the gunmen who tried to kill Gary Cooper's character. That same year, he was paired with all-star bad guy team Jack Elam and Neville Brand in the film noir classic, Kansas City Confidential. After many successful film and television Western roles, Van Cleef was seriously injured in a 1958 car crash that slowed his career. He bounced back after Sergio Leone cast him in several of his Westerns, most notably Clint Eastwood's "Bad" adversary in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Slightly bowed. Worn and toned around edges. Corners creased. Slight tear near top right corner does not impact image. Smudges on verso.

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