Movie portrays Roane County hermit who threw funeral while alive

Movie portrays Roane County hermit who threw funeral while alive

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Robert Duvall plays Felix "Uncle Bush" Breazeale. (Photo taken by Sam Emerson © 2009 courtesy: Sony Pictures Classics) Robert Duvall plays Felix "Uncle Bush" Breazeale. (Photo taken by Sam Emerson © 2009 courtesy: Sony Pictures Classics)

LOUDON (WATE) - The true story of a Roane County hermit who threw his own funeral while he was still alive in 1938 is the subject of a new movie called "Get Low."

Robert Duvall plays Felix "Uncle Bush" Breazeale, who wanted to know what people would say at his funeral.

Breazeale cut down a black walnut tree, made a coffin and organized his funeral on June 26, 1938.

It took place at Cave Creek Church. Quinn Funeral Home, now McGill Karnes Funeral Home, in downtown Loudon, was in charge of the arrangements.

Breazeale invited people personally and went on WNOX to ask people to attend. An estimated 8,000-12,000, including many from other states, attended.

The movie's main story is the funeral, but years earlier Breazeale was arrested for a murder and later acquitted.

Local resident Billye Morton, who attended the funeral at about age 12, says, "The reason so many showed up at the funeral is that they thought he either did it or knew who did it."

She says some thought "Uncle Bush" would "get it off his chest" that day but adds, "He didn't tell."

Breazeale used his walnut coffin five years later, but there was no service at his request. He's buried in the Cave Creek Cemetery.

"Get Low" also stars Sissy Spacek and Bill Murray and Gerald McRaney.

The movie is opening in Knoxville at Regal Downtown West and Regal Riviera on August 27.

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