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Hollywood Makes Use of Senate History Buff

November 16, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

Sen. Robert C. Byrd, often given to lecturing the Senate about history, is about to make his movie debut as a Civil War general.

The white-haired West Virginia Democrat will play the cameo role in "Gods and Generals," a Warner Bros. production being filmed for release by early 2003.

His brief scene, in which aides said they did not expect him to speak, will be filmed at the Antietam Civil War battlefield in Maryland on Tuesday, his 84th birthday.

The senator's aides said they do not know which general Byrd will play, but he will appear in a scene with actor Robert Duvall, who is playing General Robert E. Lee. The scene depicts activity at Telegraph Hill, which was Lee's command post and an artillery position during the Battle of Fredericksburg in Virginia.

Byrd was invited to play the role by the film's director, Ronald Maxwell, who has been spending time in West Virginia in recent months scouting Civil War battlefields as possible filming locations, Byrd aides said.

The movie is based on the book of the same name by Jeff Shaara.

Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) filmed a scene for the same movie several weeks ago in which he played a Virginia legislator.

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