Known for movies

Short Info

DiedDecember 28, 1984, Inglewood, California, United States
SpouseJoey Gould, Begoña Palacios, Marie Selland
MarkFrequently cast Jason Robards, James Coburn, Emilio Fernández, Warren Oates, Kris Kristofferson, Ben Johnson, David Warner, Slim Pickens and L.Q. Jones.
FactWorked for 12 days as second-unit director in Jinxed! (1982) while director Don Siegel was recovering from a heart-attack while shooting the movie. Though Peckinpah wasn't popular--or even liked very much--in Hollywood in the late 1970s due to his many troubled productions, Siegel insisted on hiring him (as he had been a mentor to the future director many years earlier) and he wanted to help his friend. Though working uncredited in Siegel's film, their collaboration was noted in the movie industry, and that resulted in Peckinpah returning to directing with The Osterman Weekend (1983), which would be his final film.

Sam Peckinpah was an American film director and screenwriter who became known for his highly stylized and often controversial films. His best-known works include The Wild Bunch (1969) and Straw Dogs (1971). Peckinpah’s films often deal with themes of violence and betrayal, and his characters are often anti-heroes.

Peckinpah was born on February 21, 1925, in Fresno, California. His father, Leo, was a doctor, and his mother, Edith (née Steinberg), was a schoolteacher. He had two older sisters, Gloria and Joanne. Peckinpah’s parents were Jewish, but he was raised in a Christian household.

Peckinpah’s father died when he was eight years old, and his mother remarried soon after. His stepfather, Fred Maas, was an abusive man, and Peckinpah later said that he was beaten by Maas on a regular basis.

Peckinpah’s early education was sporadic; he attended several different schools in the Fresno area before finally graduating from high school in 1943. He then enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II.

After the war, Peckinpah attended Stanford University on the G.I. Bill. He initially studied English literature, but he eventually switched to drama. He graduated from Stanford in 1950.

Peckinpah’s first job in the entertainment industry was as a writer for the TV series The Rifleman. He also wrote for a number of other TV shows, including The Westerner and Gunsmoke.

In 1961, Peckinpah made his directorial debut with The Deadly Companions. The film was not a success, but it did catch the attention of producer Jerry Bresler, who hired Peckinpah to direct The Wild Bunch.

The Wild Bunch was a critical and commercial success, and it cemented Peckinpah’s reputation as a director who was not afraid to push the envelope. The film’s graphic violence caused controversy, but it also earned Peckinpah a reputation as a master filmmaker.

Peckinpah followed up The Wild Bunch with another controversial film, Straw Dogs (1971). The film was denounced by many critics, but it was also a box office success.

In the 1970s, Peckinpah’s career began to decline. His films were not as successful as they had been in the previous decade, and he began to struggle with alcoholism.

Peckinpah’s final film was The Osterman Weekend (1983). The film was not well-received by critics or audiences, and it marked the end of Peckinpah’s Hollywood career.

Peckinpah died of heart failure on December 28, 1984, at the age of 59. He was survived by his wife, Joie Lee, and their two daughters, Gabrielle and Amanda.

Peckinpah was a controversial figure during his lifetime, but his films have since been recognized as classics of American cinema. His work is characterized by its brutal violence, complex characters, and moral ambiguity.

General Info

Full NameSam Peckinpah
DiedDecember 28, 1984, Inglewood, California, United States
Height1.75 m
ProfessionActor, Film director, Screenwriter, Television Director, Television producer
EducationCalifornia State University, Fresno, University of Southern California


SpouseJoey Gould, Begoña Palacios, Marie Selland
ChildrenLupita Peckinpah, Matthew Peckinpah, Kristen Peckinpah, Sharon Peckinpah
ParentsFern Louise Church, David Edward Peckinpah


NominationsAcademy Award for Best Original Screenplay, Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film, DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television, Writers Guild of America Award for Best TV Anthology, Any Length, Writers Guild of America Award for Television Be...
MoviesThe Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, The Getaway, Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Ride the High Country, Cross of Iron, Convoy, Major Dundee, Junior Bonner, The Osterman Weekend, The Killer Elite, The Deadly Companions, Invasion of the Body Snatc...
TV ShowsThe Rifleman, The Westerner

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1His characters often die graphic and emotionally agonizing deaths.
2Often collaborated with Jerry Fielding and Lucien Ballard
3Frequently cast Jason Robards, James Coburn, Emilio Fernández, Warren Oates, Kris Kristofferson, Ben Johnson, David Warner, Slim Pickens and L.Q. Jones.
4The lead character (or characters) in most of his films live by a code of conduct or honor that proves to be obsolete in the face of changing times.
5Mirrored Sunglasses
6Balletic, slow-motion action sequences, edited so that the deaths of two or more characters are shown simultaneously.
7The films he directed were notorious for their extremely violent and bloody action sequences and climaxes.


1[on how screenwriting allowed him to become a director] Yeah, but it was hell, because I hate writing. I suffer the tortures of the damned. I can't sleep and it feels like I'm going to die any minute. Eventually, I lock myself away somewhere, out of reach of a gun, and get it on in one big push. I'd always been around writers and had friends who were writers, but I'd never realized what a lot of goddamned anguish is involved. But it was a way to break in. I paid my dues in this business. I was a go fer, a stagehand. I swept studios and I watch a few good people work. The I started writing and finally selling TV scripts. And after a while I decided to try my hand at movies. I always had two or three projects going at a time. I'd put everything into them and I'd sell a few and then they'd disappear.
2The whole underside of our society has always been violence and still is. Churches, laws--everybody seems to think that man is a noble savage. But he's only an animal. A meat-eating, talking animal. Recognize it. He also has grace and love and beauty. But don't say to me we're not violent.
3[on R.G. Armstrong] R.G. Armstrong played righteous villainy better than anybody I've ever seen.
4[Responding to critics of his films as being too violent] Well, killing a man isn't clean and quick and simple. It's bloody and awful. And maybe if enough people come to realize that shooting somebody isn't just fun and games, maybe we'll get somewhere.
5[on Four Star Productions, Dick Powell, and the genesis of The Rifleman (1958)] I did this one script for Gunsmoke (1955) that Charles Marquis Warren turned down--said it was a piece of shit! I knew it was one of the best things I'd written, so I took it back and reworked it and Dick Powell at Four Star bought it as a pilot for "The Rifleman". Dick Powell was really a fine gentleman and the eagle behind Four Star's success; he helped me a great deal. I didn't direct the first "Rifleman"; Arnold Laven did that. I just wrote it. I did direct four of them before I left, however. The first one I directed I also wrote, called "The Marshal" [The Rifleman: The Marshal (1958)]. It was the episode that brought in Paul Fix as the reformed drunk who became the marshal--a part he played for five years.
6[on his departure from The Rifleman (1958)] I walked from the series because Jules V. Levy and that group had taken over my initial concept and perverted it into pap. They wouldn't let [Johnny Crawford] grow up; they refused to let it be the story of a boy who grows to manhood learning what it's all about.
7[Discussing the protagonist of his series, The Westerner (1960)] I wanted to create a truly realistic saddle bum of the west. I wanted to make him as honest and real as I could do it. I drew him unlettered--most of these guys couldn't read or write. Not too bright. Certainly unheroic. I know cowboys. I grew up on a cattle ranch--in Merced County [California]. I wanted to draw a real one. No hero, no lawman, no bounty--a real saddle tramp. That's what Dave Blassingame is--a saddle tramp. Sure, sometimes he gets into funny situations--like in "Libby". Sometimes he tries to be a hero, like in "Jeff", tries to rescue a girl from a lousy life and the bum she's in love with. But he fails because he's not cut from any heroic mold.
8[recalling how close 1963's _"The Dick Powell Theatre" (1961) {The Losers (#2.16)}_ came to becoming a series] "The Losers" was a funny show. We had Keenan Wynn and Lee Marvin locked up for a series with it until Tom McDermott wouldn't pay Lee's price. Well, after the show continued to draw a large segment of the audience around the sixth time out, McDermott called Lee and raised the ante to something like a million dollars and Lee told him to go stick it up his ass! I've always liked Lee for that--it cost me a lot of money at the time but I would've done the same thing in Lee's place.
9[on Kris Kristofferson] I like Kris because he writes poetry and he's a fucking good man. Working with Kris on Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973) was one of the great experiences of my life.
10[interview in Le Devoir, 10/12/74] I don't want to hear it said that I don't like women! I tried to show in [Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974)] that I adore them. They represent the positive pole of the film, the life force and instinct.
11The end of a picture is always an end of a life.
12I want to be able to make westerns like [Akira Kurosawa] makes westerns.


1Drank up to four bottles of whisky or vodka a day.
2The character Roger the Alien from American Dad! (2005) has a pet parrot called Lady Peckinpah in one episode.
3Worked for 12 days as second-unit director in Jinxed! (1982) while director Don Siegel was recovering from a heart-attack while shooting the movie. Though Peckinpah wasn't popular--or even liked very much--in Hollywood in the late 1970s due to his many troubled productions, Siegel insisted on hiring him (as he had been a mentor to the future director many years earlier) and he wanted to help his friend. Though working uncredited in Siegel's film, their collaboration was noted in the movie industry, and that resulted in Peckinpah returning to directing with The Osterman Weekend (1983), which would be his final film.
4According to an interview with L.Q. Jones available on YouTube, one time Slim Pickens proposed to loan $5000 to his friend Sam, who was broke at this time. The offer resulted in Peckinpah never speaking to Pickens again.
5Was to have worked with Joan Didion on Play It As It Lays (1972), but it never materialized.
6In an interview with Jim Silke, Peckinpah listed the following as his favorite films: Rashômon (1950); The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), which he called "possibly the finest motion picture ever made"; La Strada (1954), a film that he named as one he would have liked to have made; Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959); Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole (1951); Carol Reed's Odd Man Out (1947); Laurence Olivier's Hamlet (1948); La Dolce Vita (1960); On the Waterfront (1954); Last Year at Marienbad (1961); Pather Panchali (1955), the first film in Satyajit Ray's "Apu" trilogy; John Ford's Tobacco Road (1941); A Place in the Sun (1951); My Darling Clementine (1946); Viva Zapata! (1952); Shane (1953); Jirí Sequens' Zakázané hry (1959); High Noon (1952); The Great Armored Car Swindle (1961), Howard Hawks' adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's To Have and Have Not (1944); and Ingmar Bergman's The Magician (1958).
7Was offered the chance to direct King Kong (1976) but turned it down.
8Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 631-633. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
9His nephew was television writer and producer David E. Peckinpah.
10Father of Sharon Peckinpah, Kristen Peckinpah and Matthew Peckinpah with first wife Marie Selland, and father of Lupita Peckinpah with second wife Begoña Palacios.
11In 1954 director Don Siegel and producer Walter Wanger had been desperately trying to persuade the warden of San Quentin Prison to allow the use of the facility to film Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), but the warden had adamantly refused. After the final meeting in the prison, when the warden had said there was nothing Siegel or Wanger could do to persuade him to allow filming there, Siegel turned to speak to Peckinpah, who at the time was his assistant. When the warden heard Peckinpah's name, he asked, "Are you related to Denver Peckinpah?". Sam replied that Denver was his brother. Denver Peckinpah was a well-known judge in northern California who had a reputation as a "hanging judge" and the warden had long been an admirer of his. He immediately granted the company permission to shoot the movie in San Quentin.
12Producer Martin Ransohoff felt compelled to fire Peckinpah after the beginning of principal shooting on The Cincinnati Kid (1965) due to disagreements over the conception of the film. The incident led to a physical altercation between the two. In the early 1970s, remarking on their fight, Peckinpah claimed Ransofhoff got the worst of it: "I stripped him as naked as one of his badly told lies", claimed the director known as "Bloody Sam" for the violence in his films. Peckinpah was replaced with Norman Jewison, a relative newcomer to feature film directing at the time, whose long and successful career as a journeyman filmmaker and producer brought him three Oscar nominations as best director and the Irving Thalberg Award in 1999 from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Peckinpah, a master before he was discombobulated by substance abuse, received only one Academy Award nomination in his career, for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Wild Bunch (1969).
13Was hired by Marlon Brando to adopt Charles Neider's novella about Billy the Kid, "The Authentic Death of Hendry Jones," that served as the basis for Brando's directorial debut, One-Eyed Jacks (1961) (the only film Brando ever directed). While Stanley Kubrick was still slated to be the project's director, Peckinpah wrote what he believed was a good script; subsequently, he was devastated when he was let go after turning it in. Later, some of the thematic elements and scenes that survived and were showcased in "Jacks" also became part of Peckinpah's own take on the legendary outlaw, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid (1973).
14In his January 1972 Playboy interview, Peckinpah was asked to comment about critic Pauline Kael's assertion that in Straw Dogs (1971), he endorsed rape by having the protagonist's wife seemingly enjoy being violated by her ex-boyfriend. Pointing out that the scene in question was actually the first stage of a gangbang and that the wife clearly did not enjoy being taken by the second man, he went on to gently criticize Kael, who was a great admirer and supporter of his. Noting that he had shared a drink with Kael and liked her personally, Peckiinpah said that on the subject of his movie endorsing rape, "she's cracking walnuts with her ass."
15Served in the US Marine Corps during World War II, but did not see combat.
16In 1976 he signed a contract to film "Cukoo's Progress", a novel by Swedish author Sture Dahlström. The novel is about Xerxes Sonson Pickelhaupt, whose life's ambition is to impregnate every women on the face of the earth. He died before the movie was made, but Dahlstrom still got paid.
17Was voted the 32nd Greatest Director of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
18He wrote his scripts by hand in his nearly illegible scribble. Only two women were ever employed as his secretaries because they were the only ones who could transcribe his terrible handwriting.
19Ida Lupino hired him to work on her series Mr. Adams and Eve (1957) after she found him living in a shack behind her property. He paid her back by casting her in Junior Bonner (1972) some years later.
20The last project he directed was a music video for John Lennon's son Julian Lennon.
21At the time of his death, Peckinpah was in pre-production on an original script by Stephen King entitled "The Shotgunners." (Source: Cinefantastique magazine, 2/91)




Straw Dogs2011earlier screenplay
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia1974screenplay / story
Straw Dogs1971screenplay
The Wild Bunch1969screenplay
Villa Rides1968screenplay
ABC Stage 671966TV Series writer - 1 episode
The Glory Guys1965
Major Dundee1965screenplay
The Dick Powell TheatreTV Series story - 1 episode, 1963 teleplay - 1 episode, 1962
Ride the High Country1962uncredited
The WesternerTV Series 3 episodes, 1960 creator - 9 episodes, 1960 written by - 1 episode, 1960
KlondikeTV Series writer - 1 episode, 1960 story - 1 episode, 1960 teleplay - 1 episode, 1960
Pony Express1960TV Series writer - 1 episode
Zane Grey TheaterTV Series 1 episode, 1960 writer - 3 episodes, 1958 - 1959
The RiflemanTV Series teleplay - 3 episodes, 1958 - 1959 written by - 3 episodes, 1958 - 1959 story - 2 episodes, 1958 - 1959
Broken ArrowTV Series teleplay - 2 episodes, 1957 writer - 1 episode, 1958
Man Without a Gun1958TV Series written by - 1 episode
Gunsmoke1955-1958TV Series screenplay by - 11 episodes
Tombstone Territory1958TV Series teleplay - 1 episode
Have Gun - Will Travel1958TV Series written by - 1 episode
Trackdown1957TV Series writer - 1 episode
Tales of Wells Fargo1957TV Series teleplay and story - 1 episode
The 20th Century-Fox Hour1957TV Series teleplay - 1 episode
Mr. Adams and Eve1957TV Series


Essential Music Videos: Classic '80s2004Video short video "Too Late for Goodbyes"
Julian Lennon: Too Late for Goodbyes1984Video short
Julian Lennon: Valotte1984Video short
The Osterman Weekend1983
Cross of Iron1977
The Killer Elite1975
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia1974
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid1973
The Getaway1972
Junior Bonner1972
Straw Dogs1971
The Ballad of Cable Hogue1970
The Wild Bunch1969
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre1967TV Series 1 episode
ABC Stage 671966TV Series 1 episode
Major Dundee1965
The Dick Powell Theatre1962-1963TV Series 2 episodes
Ride the High Country1962
Route 661961TV Series 1 episode
The Deadly Companions1961
The Westerner1960TV Series 5 episodes
Klondike1960TV Series
Zane Grey Theater1959-1960TV Series 3 episodes
The Rifleman1958-1959TV Series 4 episodes
Broken Arrow1958TV Series 1 episode


The Ballad of Cable Hogue1970producer
The Dick Powell Theatre1962-1963TV Series producer - 2 episodes
The Westerner1960TV Series producer - 13 episodes


The Osterman Weekend1983Maxwell danforth's aide (uncredited)
The Visitor1979Dr. Sam Collins
China 9, Liberty 371978Wilbur Olsen, Dime Novelist
Convoy1978News Crew Director (uncredited)
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid1973Will (uncredited)
Junior Bonner1972Man in Palace Bar (uncredited)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers1956Charlie
Wichita1955Bank Teller (uncredited)
An Annapolis Story1955Pilot (uncredited)
Dial Red O1955Cook in Diner (uncredited)


Morbo1972screenplay supervisor - uncredited
Crime in the Streets1956dialogue coach - as David S. Peckinpah
World Without End1956dialogue director - uncredited
An Annapolis Story1955dialogue coach
Dial Red O1955dialogue coach
Private Hell 361954dialogue director - as David Peckinpah
Riot in Cell Block 111954production assistant - uncredited

Art Department

The Liberace Show1952TV Series stagehand

Assistant Director

Jinxed!1982second unit director - uncredited


Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia1974"Bad Blood Baby"


Palominas2017inspirational thanks pre-production
Santiago Violenta2014inspirational thanks
Nosferatu vs. Father Pipecock & Sister Funk2014special thanks
Edición Especial Coleccionista2013TV Series in memory of - 1 episode
Django Unchained2012dedicatee
Tráiganme la Cabeza de la Mujer Metralleta2012acknowledgment
Passion & Poetry: Sam's War2011Video documentary in memory of
Vixen Highway 2006: It Came from Uranus!2010special thanks
Dream House2009Video short special thanks
Henry John and the Little Bug2009Short special thanks
Little Red Riding Hood2009/IVideo short special thanks
Ten Dead Men2008inspiration, thanks and love to the works of
Death Proof2007special thanks
Running Scared2006film dedicated to
Killer: A Journal of Murder1995dedicatee
Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown1986Short dedicatee - as Sam 'The Man' Peckinpah


Un pasota con corbata1982Himself (as Sam Peckimpah)
Dinah!1975TV SeriesHimself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1972TV SeriesHimself
On Location: Dustin Hoffman1971TV Short documentaryHimself
Cinema1971TV Series documentaryHimself
The David Frost Show1970TV SeriesHimself
The Irv Kupcinet Show1970TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

I Am Steve McQueen2014DocumentaryHimself
The Greatest Ever War Films2014TV Movie documentaryHimself (1976)
Passion & Poetry: Sam's Trucker Movie2013DocumentaryHimself
Edición Especial Coleccionista2013TV SeriesHimself
Passion & Poetry: Sam's Killer Elite2013Video shortHimself
Passion & Poetry: Sam's War2011Video documentaryHimself
For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism2009DocumentaryHimself
Passion & Poetry: Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs2007Video documentary shortHimself
Edge of Outside2006DocumentaryHimself
Filmmakers in Action2005DocumentaryHimself
Passion & Poetry: Major Dundee2005Video shortHimself
Passion & Poetry: The Ballad of Sam Peckinpah2005DocumentaryHimself
Sam Peckinpah's West: Legacy of a Hollywood Renegade2004TV Movie documentaryHimself
Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession2004TV Movie documentaryHimself
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex, Drugs and Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood2003DocumentaryHimself
Sam Peckinpah: Man of Iron1993TV Movie documentaryHimself
Hollywood Mavericks1990DocumentaryHimself
La nuit des Césars1985TV Series documentaryIn Memoriam


Won Awards

2011OFTA Film Hall of FameOnline Film & Television AssociationCreative
1984Special Jury PrizeCognac Festival du Film PolicierThe Osterman Weekend (1983)
1984TF1 Special AwardCognac Festival du Film PolicierThe Osterman Weekend (1983)
1984Golden BootGolden Boot Awards
1971KCFCC AwardKansas City Film Critics Circle AwardsBest DirectorStraw Dogs (1971)

Nominated Awards

1970OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Material Not Previously Published or ProducedThe Wild Bunch (1969)
1970DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion PicturesThe Wild Bunch (1969)
1970Golden LaurelLaurel AwardsDirector8th place.
1968WGA Award (TV)Writers Guild of America, USABest Written Dramatic AnthologyNoon Wine (1966)
1967DGA AwardDirectors Guild of America, USAOutstanding Directorial Achievement in TelevisionNoon Wine (1966)
1958WGA Award (TV)Writers Guild of America, USAWesternThe 20th Century-Fox Hour (1955)
1957WGA Award (TV)Writers Guild of America, USAEpisodic Drama, 30 Minutes in LengthGunsmoke (1955)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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