Native Village
Youth and Education news
 December 1, 2010, Volume 4

A different view of Jim Thorpe
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Condensed by Native Village

“Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe” recently hit the bookstores. While author Kate Buford offers a well-researched story, the photos she chose are powerful within themselves.

There are, of course, the shots of Jim Thorpe during his athletic days as a football player, a baseball player and an Olympian.


But photos of him as a Hollywood extra?

There is a striking shot of Thorpe as a Hollywood Indian in 1935. He is smiling broadly and his eyes are twinkling. But this soft, smiling face is much different than the stern-looking Thorpe we see in his athletic days.

And what of that smile? Was it genuine or not? Thorpe, after all, lived a very public life. He was constantly watched and pulled in many directions. One might wonder if he is acting or actually happy in the photo. 

Buford's book includes other interesting shots of Thorpe in Hollywood. One is with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. Another is with Burt Lancaster and director Michael Curtiz.

Every photo in “Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe” offers a fascinating pictorial of Jim Thorpe and tells a story that everyone can appreciate.

The photos above may, or may not, appear in the book/

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