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Untold Tales of Hollywood #20

One day Fred Rexor paid a visit to our Conan the Barbarian offices in Dino DeLaurentiis’ Beverly Hills office compound. As I recall, Fred was from somewhere in the Midwest.

Fred Rexor is an interesting guy. After seeing John MiliusThe Wind and the Lion, Rexor wrote Milius a laudatory letter, proclaiming it the first real American film in decades. The letter was so beautifully written and impassioned that, in response, John sent Rexor the Raisuli’s sword (the Raisuli was played by Sean Connery). Fred returned it, professing to be not worthy of such an honor.

Thus, their friendship began.

John told me that during the Vietnamese war, Rexor had assassinated over eighty Vietnamese government officials — despite the fact that there is no official government record whatsoever of Rexor ever actually being in Vietnam.

This revelation led to Rexor’s involvement in Apocalypse Now. According to John, the opening montage of Martin Sheen in a Saigon hotel had been shot. Milius and Francis Ford Coppola arranged for a screening of the montage for Rexor.

Fred was instructed: “As you watch it, just say whatever comes into your head.”

According to John, Rexor’s free association became the basis for that film’s opening voice-over monologue.

I asked Rexor about the difficulty of gaining good intelligence in Vietnam. He told me about a desperate situation he had been in.

Fred was holding three Viet Cong soldiers captive. A large chunk of the Viet Cong army was rapidly heading their way. Rexor needed information fast, and the Viet Cong weren’t talking.

Fred lined them up in a row. He placed the tip of his revolver in the middle of the first soldier’s forehead and then asked him a question.

The soldier refused to answer. Rexor immediately pulled the trigger and blew the man’s brains out, then pointed his revolver at the forehead of the second soldier.

“I didn’t have to ask him anything. He started talking a mile a minute, quickly telling me everything I needed to know and more.”

When Fred arrived at our office, John’s personal assistant, Saralo, was practicing some martial arts moves.

“What’s that?” asked Fred.

“Kung Fu”, Saralo replied. “Do you practice it?”

“No”, Rexor replied. “I practice another form of defense; it’s called ‘Gun-ning’. It’s the dog that barks here and bites there.”

Later, John invited Rexor to his home. In John’s garage, Milius stated a dilemma he felt he had to deal with.

“I’ve got a box of live hand grenades. I should probably dispose of them. I wouldn’t want the kids to find or get into them. I’m not quite sure, though, what to do with them.”

“Give them to me,” Rexor responded. “I’ll be right back.”

Fred was back at John’s before an hour had passed.

“What did you do with them?” John asked.

“I left the box on the corner of the busiest intersection in Watts,” he replied. “They’re doing God’s work now.”

John named one of Thulsa Doom‘s henchmen Rexor.

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