FRED MACMURRAY Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Fredrick Martin MacMurray                                                       
Born: 30 August 1908 Kankakee, Illinois, U.S.                                         
Died: 5 November 1991 Santa Monica, California, U.S.                                   
Fredrick Martin MacMurray (August 30, 1908 – November 5, 1991) was an actor who     
appeared in over one hundred movies and a highly successful television series         
during a career that lasted from the 1930s to the 1970s.                               
MacMurray is well known for his role in the 1944 film noir Double Indemnity, in       
which he starred with Barbara Stanwyck. Later in life, he became better known as       
the slightly stammering Steve Douglas, the widowed patriarch on the CBS TV             
series, My Three Sons. The show ran from 1960 until 1972.                             
MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois to Frederick MacMurray and Maleta             
Martin. The family finally settled in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. MacMurray was five       
years old during the year that they settled in Beaver Dam.                             
He earned a full scholarship to attend Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin.         
In college, MacMurray participated in numerous local bands, playing the               
saxophone. In 1930, he recorded a tune for the Gus Arnheim Orchestra as a             
featured vocalist on All I Want Is Just One Girl on the Victor 78 label.               
Early in his acting career, before signing with Paramount Pictures in 1934, he         
also appeared on Broadway in Three's a Crowd (1930-1931), and in the original         
production of Roberta (1933-1934), on which the movie Roberta (1935) was based.       
In addition to MacMurray, the Roberta cast included Sydney Greenstreet and Bob         
MacMurray's early film work is largely overlooked by many film historians and         
critics, but in his heyday, he worked with some of Hollywood's greatest talents,       
including director Preston Sturges and actors Humphrey Bogart and Marlene             
Dietrich. He played opposite Claudette Colbert in seven films, the first of           
which was The Gilded Lily; he also co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in Alice         
Adams and Carole Lombard in Hands Across the Table, The Princess Comes Across,         
and True Confession.                                                                   
Mostly cast as decent, amiable characters in a succession of light comedies,           
dramas (The Trail of the Lonesome Pine), melodramas (Above Suspicion 1943) and         
musicals (Where Do We Go from Here? 1945), MacMurray had become one of Hollywood's     
highest-paid actors by 1943, when his salary reached $420,000.                         
Despite his "nice guy" image, MacMurray often stated that the best film roles he       
ever played were two in which he was cast against type by Billy Wilder. He             
played the role of Walter Neff, an insurance salesman (numerous other actors had       
turned the role down) who plots with a wealthy heiress Barbara Stanwyck to             
murder her husband in Double Indemnity. In 1960, he played Jeff Sheldrake, a           
slimy, two-timing corporate executive in Wilder's Oscar-winning comedy The             
Apartment, with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. In another turn in the "not so       
nice" category , MacMurray played the cynical, duplicitous Lieutenant Thomas           
Keefer in 1954's The Caine Mutiny. He gave his finest dramatic performances,           
though, when cast against type as counterfeit nice-guys or hard-boiled heels: a       
crooked cop in Pushover.                                                               
MacMurray revived his career in the 1960s as the star of My Three Sons which ran       
for 12 seasons, making it one of the longest-running American sitcoms ever             
produced. Concurrent with My Three Sons, MacMurray also maintained a busy film         
career, which included playing the unlikeable Jeff Sheldrake in The Apartment,         
though he also played off his My Three Sons image by starring as good-natured         
father figures in the Disney comedies 'The Absent-Minded Professor and its             
sequel, Son of Flubber. (He also played a similar father figure character in an       
earlier Disney comedy, 1959's The Shaggy Dog.                                         
He was a staunch supporter of the Republican Party who joined Bob Hope and James       
Stewart in campaigning for Richard Nixon in 1968. He was also, generally,             
considered one of the most frugal actors in the business. Studio co-workers           
noticed that even as a successful actor, MacMurray would usually bring a brown         
bag lunch to work, often containing a hardboiled egg. According to his co-star         
on My Three Sons, William Demarest, MacMurray continued to bring dyed Easter           
eggs for lunch several months after Easter.                                           
MacMurray continued to act after the cancellation of My Three Sons in 1972, but       
only made a few more film appearances before retiring from acting in 1978.