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Montgomery's 1941 Film 'Riders of the Purple Sage' Screens in Palm Desert

The 1941 film will be shown at 2 p.m. Feb. 24 in the campus' Indian Wells Theater. Admission is $5 cash at the door and includes parking, Mike Singer of Cal State said.

Officials at Cal State San Bernardino's Palm Desert Campus are planning show "Riders of the Purple Sage," one of legendary screen star George Montgomery’s best-known Western films this Sunday, a school spokesman said Tuesday.

The 1941 film will be shown at 2 p.m. Feb. 24 in the campus' Indian Wells Theater. Admission is $5 cash at the door and includes parking, Mike Singer of Cal State said.

A statue of Montgomery, already on display in the Indian Wells Theater lobby, is on loan from the Palm Springs Art Museum.

"The film is based on the Zane Grey novel of the same name, but without the novel's religious undertones," Singer said in a statement. "Jim Lassiter, played by Montgomery, shows up to help his niece, who is being cheated out of her inheritance by a crooked judge played Robert Barrat. The judge also heads a vigilante group that is actually a band of thieves and murderers trying to rid the area of settlers."

Montgomery, born in 1916 and the youngest of 15 children, was best known as an actor in Western feature films and television, Singer said. He was also a painter, sculptor, furniture craftsman and stuntman.

His sculpture of his former wife, Dinah Shore, and their children is at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Singer said.

Montgomery's private life made headlines in 1963, when his housekeeper was charged with trying to kill him, Singer said.

"After a career that included more than 80 feature films, Montgomery retired in 1972, making only two more minor appearances in film until his death in 2000 at his home in Rancho Mirage at age 84," Singer said.

Montgomery has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1995, a Golden Palm Star on the Walk of Stars in Palm Springs was dedicated in his honor, Singer said.

The Indian Wells Theater is at 37500 Cook St., Palm Desert. For more info about Cal State's Palm Desert Campus, visit http://pdc.csusb.edu.

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