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Pasatiempo - - In Other Words -

An ac­tor for all sea­sons He por­trayed good-hearted oafs, mean-spir­ited drunk­ards, raff­ish fron­tier out­laws, and loyal side­kicks. He worked op­po­site every­one from Ran­dolph Scott to Bill Mur­ray in a ca­reer span­ning about 25 years. He was game for any role: “If they asked me to play Hamlet, I’d just have to stick to the script,” he once said.

We’re talk­ing about War­ren Oates, one of those al­ways-ap­peal­ing per­form­ers whose work en­livened any film or tele­vi­sion project. Among his film cred­its are Ride the High Coun­try (1962), In the Heat of the Night (1967), The Wild Bunch (1969), and Stripes (1981). He lived a hard life — wom­an­iz­ing, drink­ing, and drug­ging along the way, but de­spite all sorts of ob­sta­cles, it seemed like a happy life, one he faced with a Zen-like at­ti­tude — at least as de­picted in Su­san Compo’s ex­cel­lent 2009 bi­og­ra­phy War­ren Oates: A Wild Life (Uni­ver­sity Press of Ken­tucky).

Compo, a Uni­ver­sity of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia lec­turer, stops in Santa Fe to talk about Oates and the ex­pe­ri­ence of writ­ing the book. She gives a free talk at 7 p.m. Thurs­day, April 8, in the Com­mu­nity Room of the main branch of the Santa Fe Pub­lic Li­brary, 145 Wash­ing­ton Ave. Call 955-6791.

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