Famous People from Andrews County Texas
Eagle Pennell
Eagle Pennell
Born July 28, 1952 as Glenn Irwin Pinnell in Andrews, Texas, Pennell grew up in Lubbock and College Station. He was an independent filmmaker best known for The Whole Shootin' Match which won seven Awards and inspired Robert Redford to start Sundance.


He became interested in film as a teenager and would use his father's Super 8 camera to shoot skits starring his brother and sisters. He graduated from A&M Consolidated High School. Pennell then attended the University of Texas at Austin majoring in Radio-Television-Film but dropped out in 1973 during his junior year to do film work. His first job was with a firm that produced highlight films of Southwest Conference football games. In his spare time, he used the company's equipment to work on his own projects.

He changed his name while in his early twenties. His first name is supposedly based on the story that Pennell was once told his large nose looked like the beak of an eagle. His last name comes from 2nd Lt. Ross Pennell, a character from John Ford's She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). Ford was one of his father's favorite directors.

In the early 1980s, Pennell moved to Houston, where he produced and directed his second feature film Last Night at the Alamo in 1984. The story, co-written with screenwriter Kim Henkel, follows a group of friends gathering at a soon-to-be-demolished bar for the last time. The movie was well received, garnering praise at the New York Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. Film critics Vincent Canby, Stanley Kauffmann and Roger Ebert also gave the movie rave reviews.

In 1989, Pennell directed Ice House, starring Melissa Gilbert, for Upfront Films. With grant money, Pennell completed two more independent projects during the 1990s, Heart Full of Soul and Doc's Full Service. His final feature, "Doc's Full Service", had its World Première at the SXSW Film Festival in 1994. Both films are regarded as failures.

Pennell struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction for much of his adult life. For years before his death, he was intermittently homeless and often borrowed or begged for money. Pennell died in Houston July 20, 2002 eight days short of his 50th birthday. He is buried in College Station Cemetery. At the time of his death, Pennell had a grant from the Independent Television Service to develop a script based on his treatment of My Dog Bit Elvis.
 

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