JOEL MCCREA Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » joel mccrea


Name: Joel Albert McCrea                                                               
Born: 5 November 1905 South Pasadena, California                                       
Died: 20 October 1990 Los Angeles, California                                           
Joel Albert McCrea, (November 5, 1905 - October 20, 1990) was an American film         
Born in South Pasadena, California, McCrea became interested in films after             
graduating from Pomona College. He worked as an extra in films from 1927 before         
being cast in a major role in The Jazz Age (1929). A contract with MGM followed,       
and then another with RKO. He established himself as a handsome leading man who         
was considered versatile enough to star in both dramas and comedies.                   
In the 1930s, McCrea starred in two Cecil B. DeMille large-scale westerns, Wells       
Fargo (1937) with wife-to-be Francis Dee and Union Pacific (1939) with Barbara         
Stanwyck. He reached the peak of his early career in the early 1940s, in such           
films as Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940) and two by Preston             
Sturges, Sullivan's Travels (1941), and The Palm Beach Story (1942).                   
McCrea also starred in two William A. Wellman westerns, The Great Man's Lady (1942),   
again with Stanwyck, and Buffalo Bill, with character actor Edgar Buchanan (1944).     
After the success of The Virginian (1946), McCrea made westerns exclusively for         
the rest of his career--with the exception of the British-made Rough Shoot (1953).     
In 1959, Joel McCrea and his son Jody McCrea starred in the NBC-TV series               
Wichita Town, which lasted one season and was produced by the Mirisch Corp. 1962       
saw him united with fellow veteran of westerns Randolph Scott in Ride the High         
Country (1962), under the direction of Sam Peckinpah.                                   
McCrea preferred to live the remainder of his life as a rancher. In 1969, he was       
inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy &             
Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For his contribution to the         
motion picture industry, Joel McCrea has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at       
6901 Hollywood Blvd. and another star at 6241 Hollywood Blvd. for his                   
contribution to radio.                                                                 
McCrea married actress Frances Dee in 1933. They had three children, David,             
Peter, and Jody McCrea, who also became an actor. Joel and Frances remained             
married until his death in Woodland Hills, California from pneumonia at the age         
of 84 in 1990.                                                                         
According to David Raban's Stars of the '30s, the McCreas were prodigious savers,       
accumulating a large estate, which included working-ranch properties. Joel             
McCrea's work ethic was in part attributed to his Scottish heritage and it also         
may have stemmed from his friendship in the 1930s with fellow personality and           
sometime actor, Will Rogers. McCrea recounted that "the Oklahoma Sage" gave him         
a profound piece of advice: "Save half of what you make, and live on just the           
other half."                                                                           
During his lifetime, McCrea and his wife Frances lived, raised their children,         
and rode their horses on their ranch in what was then an unincorporated area of         
eastern Ventura County, California. The McCreas ultimately donated several             
hundred acres of their personal property to the newly formed Conejo Valley YMCA         
for the city of Thousand Oaks, California, both of which celebrated their 40th         
anniversaries in 2004. Today, the land on which the Conejo Valley YMCA rests is         
called "Joel McCrea Park".