Robert Mitchum was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1917 into a Norwegian-Irish Methodist family. His mother, Ann Harriet Gunderson, was a Norwegian immigrant and sea captain's daughter; his father, James Thomas Mitchum, was a shipyard and railroad worker of Irish descent. His older sister, Annette (known as Julie Mitchum during her acting career), was born in 1914. Their father James Mitchum was crushed to death in a railyard accident in Charleston, South Carolina, in February 1919, when Robert was less than two years old and Annette was not yet five. Their mother was awarded a government pension, and she soon realized she was pregnant. Her third child, John, was born in September of that year. Ann married again, to Major Hugh Cunningham Morris, a former Royal Naval Reserve officer. He helped care for her three children. Ann and Morris also had a daughter together, Carol Morris, born July 1927 on the family farm in Delaware. When all of the children were old enough to attend school, Ann found employment as a linotype operator for the Bridgeport Post.
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