Wyatt Earp’s Fifth Cousin Takes His Best Shot : Movies: With two films due out on his famous relative, Glen Wyatt Earp figured there had to be a part for him somewhere.
He goes by the name “Wyatt Earp” and is an eerie dead ringer for the quintessentially Western-looking Marlboro Man. But 31-year-old mortgage banker and aspiring actor Glen Wyatt Earp is not about to ride off into the sunset anytime soon.
One of the few true-blood relatives of the legendary Western hero, who had no children, Earp is the famous frontier marshal’s fifth cousin. (The outlaw was fourth-generation American and the aspiring actor is ninth-generation Earp.) The ‘90s Earp has been known to don 10-gallon hats, shoot with the precise marksmanship of his illustrious predecessor and share his passion for a fast horse. And there is no telling how the legend might have responded to seeing his namesake tolling around Hollywood wheeling and dealing on his Jeep Cherokee’s sleek cellular phone.
“People often wonder what these are,” says the 6-foot-4, 200-pound actor, pointing to his peculiar pale cowboy boots as he lounges in a West L.A. coffeehouse. “They’re porcupine.”
The Perkins, Okla., native moved to Los Angeles five years ago and met with resistance from film casting directors despite his leading-man looks and famous name. “Actually, there has been greater skepticism of me as an actor because of my name,” he explains. “Casting directors would call up my agent and say: ‘Is this guy for real?’
Then, a year ago, Earp’s life changed after hearing that Hollywood Pictures was going into production on “Tombstone” starring Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp, and Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday (“Tombstone” opens nationwide today).He learned at the same time that Warner Bros. was mounting “Wyatt Earp” (due next summer) with Kevin Costner in the title role, and Dennis Quaid as Holliday.
Earp immediately contacted the producers of both films. He claims that informal negotiations transpired for him to play an “unnamed role” in Warners’ version. But because a script wasn’t ready, and he did have a chance to read the “Tombstone” script, he ultimately decided to cast his fate with Disney.
“We were very interested to see what he thought about the screenplay because of his family,” says “Tombstone” producer James Jacks. “He does look like Wyatt Earp from certain angles. It also helped the actors to be able to talk with him since, obviously, he had been researching this story for most of his life.”
Earp gives high marks to “Tombstone” star Kurt Russell’s portrayal of the legendary frontier marshal. “I think he captures the overall essence of the individual. Wyatt Earp was a man who had the courage of his convictions, but he was also torn and had demons just like everyone else. He was a man to be reckoned with.”
The movie’s director, George P. Cosmatos, decided to combine two characters into the character of Billy Claiborne, and give Earp both sets of lines. Claiborne was a real-life enemy of the Earps who ran out on the gunfight at the O.K. Corral on Oct. 26, 1881.
After his one Hollywood experience, Earp is filled with tall opinions. “Making a movie is a lot like drilling an oil well,” observes Earp, whose father worked on oil rigs throughout Oklahoma and Kansas. “There’s a wildcat spirit that’s inbred in me because of my father.”
The actor has not encountered many difficulties in living up to his legendary moniker. “If I was short, bald and fat, I might change my name,” he says. “But I’ve always been a big guy. Nobody gives me much trouble.”
Except his mother. Only recently has she consented to call her son by his preferred middle name of Wyatt rather than Glen. “Mom told me, ‘Wyatt, that mustache makes you look like the devil but if it makes money, I’ll still love you.’ ”