Lou Donelen

‘Why did you get into the industry, Lou?’

‘I was lumberjack up in Oregon, and one day I looked around and saw there were no old lumberjacks.’

Lou was one of the finest people I ever knew.  He did the work of two to three people.  I once asked why he never wanted an assistant and he answered that he would have to do the assistant’s work as well.

Lou started work as a prop man for John Ford on the movie CHEYENNE AUTUMN.  Danny Borzege used to wake John Ford every morning by playing GARRYOWEN on a concertina outside Ford’s tent.  On the first day of shooting on LET IT RIDE, Lou played GARRYOWEN on a cassette player. He and I were the only ones who understood that.

Lou and Austin McCann were the only two people that Hal Riney openly liked and trusted from my crew.  It might have been the Irish in them.

Lou was a relatively slight man with simple tastes.  A great meal for him was a buffet restaurant.  I don’t think I ever saw him drink.

A short time before his retirement, a grip said something rude to him.  He challenged the grip in front of the entire crew, and the grip, outweighing Lou by a hundred pounds, backed down.

The only glitch in our longtime relationship was that Lou would go to Oregon every summer to maintain his salmon fishing license, despite the fact that toward the end there were no salmon.

Lou passed away in his native Oregon from injuries sustained while working on the restoration of an old pickup. Fitting.