BENEFITING: Southern York County School District Foundation
Cameron Mitchell was born Cameron McDowell Mitzell on Nov 4, 1918 in Dallastown, PA. He and his family moved to Shrewsbury, where his father, Rev. Charles Mitzell, was assigned as pastor of St Paul Reformed Church. Cameron is a graduate of New Freedom High School.
While growing up, he enjoyed sports like baseball, tennis and boxing. He also loved acting. Cameron participated in numerous local and church plays, and through the inspiration, encouragement and financial help of teacher Helena "Harkey" Hartenstein, he moved to New York to pursue his passion for acting.
Over a 50 year professional career in films, on television and on Broadway, Cameron co-starred with such historic actors as John Wayne, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Jimmy Cagney, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall and Doris Day. He starred on Broadway in the classic play, Death of a Salesman with Lee J. Cobb, and the Lunts in Taming of the Shrew, and he worked under such renowned directors as John Ford, Elia Kazan and Mario Bava.
Cameron's most notable films include Pony Soldier, Monkey on My Back, Carousel, Hell and High Water, Love Me or Leave Me, How to Marry a Millionaire, Blood and Black Lace, Knives of the Avengers, and The Andersonville Trial. In 1967,
Cameron was cast as Buck Cannon on the historic Western television series, The High Chaparral. Already an internationally known stage and screen star, Cameron became a household name as he came into American and global homes weekly as our beloved Uncle Buck, brother of Big John Cannon, uncle to Blue Cannon, and friend of Manolito Montoya, whose antics together on screen were legendary.
Cameron passed away on July 7, 1994, having amassed more than 300 film, TV and theater credits to his name. It is in memory of his passion, pursuit and success as an actor that we offer this scholarship.
The High Chaparral
The High Chaparral is an iconic Western television series created by David Dortort in 1967. This award-winning program starred Leif Erickson, Cameron Mitchell, Mark Slade, Henry Darrow and Linda Cristal as the Cannon and Montoya family members who, as a family of mixed ethnicities, along with the men who worked with them, faced the harshness of the Arizona Territory and Sonoran Desert during the times of Geronimo and Cochise.
It is historic because the show's executives insisted that Latino and other ethnic actors portray those roles on the show, breaking the stereotypes of Hollywood for the first time on a significant television offering, a visionary stance in the midst of the Civil Rights movement.
The High Chaparral Reunion, a non-profit organization headed by Penny McQueen, has made its mission "to celebrate, preserve, and perpetuate the legacy of The High Chaparral," including memorials for its deceased members. The group is proud to sponsor this scholarship in honor of Cameron Mitchell, whose outstanding performance and pivotal portrayal of Buck Cannon, along with the excellence of the ensemble cast, helped solidify The High Chaparral's place in television history.
J. Helena Hartenstein (Dec 30, 1907 - Sep 24, 1952) served as an English and French teacher at New Freedom High School from the 1930's to the early 1950's. She is remembered for helping countless students through the years seek out and work toward their dreams.
Cameron Mitchell was no exception. In his own words from a 1949 interview: "Harkey had so much faith in my potential," (Cameron) said, "that after I graduated from high school, she loaned me the money to go to dramatic school in New York. I used to think of this kind gesture often in the big city when the going was tough. I can never thank Harkey enough." (Altoona Tribune, April 26, 1949)
We are honored to remember "Harkey" for all her selfless giving to help the youth of York County.
All monies go to Cam’s scholarship fund which is overseen by the Southern York County School District Foundation, an established 501c3 organization, which is administered by Dr. Wayne McCullough. An annual $500 award is made to high school seniors in Cameron’s home county of York, Pennsylvania, who will pursue theater, film, journalism or media arts in college.