They say that a cat has nine lives. If actor Marshall Teague was a cat (and he’d have to be a mountain lion), his Indian name most likely would be “11 Cats,” because Marshall has died on-screen 103 times – so far. Colonel Davis, the shuttle craft pilot in Armageddon, Peter Gallagher in Fists of Iron, Navy SEAL Reigert in The Rock, Moore in The Cutter, Temo’Zuma in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the unforgettable Jimmy in the fight scene between he and Patrick Swayze in Roadhouse are but a tiny selection of Marshall’s acting resume. Marshall says that it took six days to film the legendary Roadhouse fight. One of the reasons that it is so dramatic is that he and Swayze decided at the beginning that they would not hold back anything – they actually did fight – and as a result they became life-long friends, bonding over comparing bruises and ice packs.
Marshall has appeared in 37 feature films and hundreds of episodes of TV including the series Walker: Texas Ranger, Babylon 5, Star Trek: Voyager, and Quantum Leap. One role he is most proud of is playing Black Jack Pershing in The Rough Riders.
Marshall has become a Hollywood star by often playing the guy you want to hate, yet when you get to know him in person, he’s one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet, or go hunting and fishing with.
Like Davy Crockett, Marshall was born in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. His father began taking him hunting and fishing at an early age, and ever since, he says, nature has been his source of healing, inspiration and spirituality. “My church is a mountaintop, a stump, a rock, and a grove of tall pines,” he says with conviction. And he encourages everyone to spend more time outdoors.
He attended two military academies growing up, and with his parents’ permission he joined the Navy at 17. A guy who loves competition, Marshall won the NATO Heavy Weight Kick Boxing Championship during his time in the service. After the Navy, Marshall came home and became a Deputy Sheriff. He was assigned to do undercover work. He says that he took a class in acting to help him with character development and communication skills to catch bad guys, but the class moved him so much that he quit his job as a deputy and moved to California to become an actor. That was 34 years ago and he has been going strong ever since, including his recent appearance in a sword fight on the TV series Leverage, where he did not get killed, and as the lead in the upcoming feature film Last Ounce of Courage, which I’ll say more about later.
Marshall is a passionate guy, and he loves acting. He says that his favorite words are “roll camera” (when the shooting of a scene starts) and “ladies and gentlemen, that’s a wrap” (when shooting is over and he can relax and unwind). Having played a bad guy a lot, he says one of his greatest pleasures is when people come up to him and say “I really hated you in __________.”
And after filming has wrapped, Marshall heads for the wildlands with his wife of 14 years, Lindy, a model and also a crack shot.
A lot more folks in Hollywood than you might think hunt, fish and shoot guns for fun, but many of them keep their outdoor pursuits quiet. Not the Teagues. Marshall and Lindy have been coming to the Big Country Celebrity Ultimate Hunt, which benefits Disability Resources Inc., for the past 18 years.
Marshall has also served on the Board of Directors of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation since its inception in 2009, and he and Lindy have hunted and fished all around the US and the world. He is also a Life Member of the One Shot Antelope Hunt.
I asked Marshall about his most memorable hunt. He could have said Africa-Alaska-Canada, etc. but instead he quickly replied that it was a deer hunt in Georgia. He was sitting in a tree stand, watching the world wake up. A buck came out, but it was out of range. Marshall was enjoying watching the buck when a big tom turkey came off a roost and landed out in a field not far away. The bird was not in season and Marshall was enjoying watching the tom strut when suddenly an eagle came screaming down out of the sky and tried to nail the turkey. The eagle and the tom furiously went at it for several minutes, and ultimately the turkey won. The eagle flew off with a few less feathers, Marshall reports.
“I am proud of the work I have done to preserve the rights of hunters today and tomorrow to go afield and enjoy what God created,” proclaims Teague. A few years ago when I was working on a book on the spiritual dimensions of ethical hunting, The Sacred Art of Hunting, I was searching for hunters who had special ways of making their hunting experience spiritual. I asked Marshall and he gladly contributed a prayer of thanksgiving that he uses when he takes game: “Lord, bless this noble creature that has given his time and spirit to engage in the chase. Permit him green pastures to graze, thick forests to roam, and take his heart and soul into your blessed hands.” Marshall adds that if he misses, and the animal gets away, he also says a prayer of thanksgiving, for life should never be taken for granted. I asked him if he does miss, and he chuckled and said “more times than you might think,” and he described a time quail hunting when he pruned a large branch from a pine tree and the quail sailed away.
A long-time supporter of firearms rights and the NRA, Marshall recently has become a contestant in the annual Bianchi Cup:
While he is proficient in all firearms and archery, long guns are his forte, but nonetheless this year he shot in the Lawman division with a 9mm (with only 24 hours to prepare). He did OK, but he already is planning his return next year. One of the highlights, he said, was meeting John Bianchi.
After many years of playing a bad guy and doing outrageous stunts, Marshall does not die in the upcoming film Last Ounce of Courage, where Marshall is the lead. It opens September 14 in 1,200 theaters nationwide. The story goes like this: Bob Revere (played by Marshall) is a small-town mayor and combat-decorated veteran. He faces a root of bitterness from his past filled with heartbreaking loss. His grandson comes back into his life after many years to ask the most important question: “what are we doing with our life to make a difference?” Bob had grown apathetic along with an entire town. Now with the help of children, a group of people all band together to inspire hope, take back the freedoms that are being lost and take a stand for truth and freedom as the town faces a conflict of values over how Christmas is going to be celebrated.
Marshall says one scene in the movie is especially near and dear to his heart. When he climbs on top of a building and makes a passionate speech to a crowd about the loss of our freedoms, he admits that while he learned the lines, when he got up there he just tossed the script and spoke from his heart.
Marshall has two trophy memories from the film already and it has not even opened yet. The first is being a speaker at this year’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota. For two nights, at the foot of Mount Rushmore, he got to speak before crowds of 50,000 and 60,000 cheering fans. He admits that while he did not have a band, he felt a little like a rock star. The second was at a special preview showing. As the lights came up at the end of the film, an 85 year-old man with tears in his eyes walked up to him, shook Marshall’s hand, and said “Thank you for saying that.”
See Last Ounce of Courage and cheer for a film that makes a powerful positive statement about personal freedom, delivered by a guy who walks his talk, Marshall Teague.
Images courtesy Marshall Teague