George Macready in the trailer for Paths of Glory (1957)
|Born||George Peabody Macready, Jr.
August 29, 1899
Rhode Island, USA
|Died||July 2, 1973
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Corpse donated to medical science|
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||Classical High School
|Spouse(s)||Elizabeth Dana Macready (1931-1943) 3 children|
George Peabody Macready, Jr. was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and graduated there from Classical High School (1917) and, in 1921, from Brown University, where he was a member of Delta Phi fraternity and won a letter as the football team manager. While in college, Macready was injured in an accident in a Model T Ford. He sustained a permanent scar on his right cheek, having been thrust through the windshield while traveling on an icy road when the vehicle skidded and hit a telephone pole. The injury, along with his high brow and perfect diction, gave Macready the Gothic look of an authoritarian or villainous character. He was stitched up by a veterinarian, but he caught scarlet fever during the ordeal.
Macready first worked in a bank in Providence and was then briefly a newspaperman in New York City before he turned to stage acting. He claimed to have been descended from the 19th century Shakespearean actor William Charles Macready.
He made his Broadway debut in 1926 in The Scarlet Letter. Through 1958, he appeared in fifteen plays, both drama and comedy, including The Barretts of Wimpole Street, based on the family of the English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Macready's penchant for acting was spurred in part by the director Richard Boleslawski. His Shakespearean stage credits include Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (1927), Malcolm in Macbeth (1928), and Paris in Romeo and Juliet (1934). On film, he played Marallus in the 1953 film adaptation of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. He also played Prince Ernst in the original stage version of Victoria Regina (1936), starring Helen Hayes.
His first film was Commandos Strike at Dawn in 1942, featuring Paul Muni. As Ballin Mundson in Gilda (1946), Macready was part of a deadly love triangle with the characters played by co-stars Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. He would again play opposite Ford several years later in the post-war adventure The Green Glove (1952).
Stanley Kubrick's anti-war film, Paths of Glory (1957), provided Macready with his other great role, self-serving French World War I General Paul Mireau, who is brought down by Kirk Douglas's character, Colonel Dax. He had worked with Douglas previously in Detective Story (1951) and later he appeared with Douglas again in two more films: Vincente Minnelli's Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) and John Frankenheimer's Seven Days in May (1964).
Macready also leaped into the Golden Age of Television. He made four guest appearances on Raymond Burr's Perry Mason, including the role of murder victim Milo Girard in the 1958 episode, "The Case of the Purple Woman." He also appeared regularly in such series as Dick Powell's Four Star Playhouse, General Electric Theater, The Ford Television Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Adventures in Paradise, and The Islanders.
He appeared in many western television series, including Bat Masterson, Bonanza, The Dakotas, Gunsmoke, Have Gun - Will Travel, The Rebel (once in the role of Confederate General Robert E. Lee), The Rifleman, Lancer, Riverboat, The Rough Riders, Chill Wills's Frontier Circus, Rory Calhoun's The Texan, and Steve McQueen's Wanted: Dead or Alive.
On December 5, 1961, he played a Colonel John Barrington in the episode "Handful of Fire" of NBC's Laramie western series. The character's prototype is presumably John Chivington of the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864 in Colorado. Barrington escapes while facing a court martial at Fort Laramie for his role in the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota in 1890. The episode reveals that series character Slim Sherman (John Smith) was present at Wounded Knee and hence testified against Barrington. Then his daughter, Madge, played by Karen Sharpe, takes Slim hostage. She has papers which she contends justify her father's harsh policies against the Indians. Slim escapes but is trapped by Sioux in the area and must negotiate with the Indians to save the party from massacre.
On May 26, 1962, Macready was cast as Cyrus Canfield, a vengeful father searching for his runaway teenaged daughter, Phoebe, played by Floy Dean, in the episode "Phoebe", the series finale of NBC's The Tall Man. When Canfield sees series character Billy the Kid (Clu Gulager) with a necklace owned by Phoebe, he suspects that the young gunfighter may have killed his daughter. Billy, however, explains that Phoebe gave him the necklace as a gift after he rescued her in a rockslide.
In the 1960s, Macready appeared for three years in the role of Martin Peyton in ABC's Peyton Place, the first prime-time soap opera on American television, with Dorothy Malone in the lead role of Constance MacKenzie.
He played publishing magnate Glenn Howard in the TV movie Fame Is the Name of the Game starring Tony Franciosa but was replaced by Gene Barry in the role when the film was subsequently used as the pilot for the television series The Name of the Game with Franciosa, Barry, and Robert Stack revolving in the lead.
One of Macready's most effective film roles was also one of his last - the role of United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull in the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora!, a painstakingly accurate depiction of the events leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Macready died of emphysema in 1973 and had his body donated to a medical school. (Other entertainers who did the same included Walter Pidgeon, Bobby Darin, Butterfly McQueen, Spring Byington, and Lon Chaney, Jr. who died a week after Macready).
- Commandos Strike at Dawn (1942)
- Follow the Boys (1944)
- The Seventh Cross (1944)
- The Monster and the Ape (1945)
- Counter-Attack (1945)
- My Name is Julia Ross (1945)
- Gilda (1946)
- The Walls Came Tumbling Down (1946)
- Down to Earth (1947)
- The Swordsman (1948)
- The Big Clock (1948)
- Coroner Creek (1948)
- The Black Arrow (1948)
- Knock on Any Door (1949)
- Alias Nick Beal (1949)
- Rogues of Sherwood Forest (1950)
- The Swordsman (1947)
- A Lady Without Passport (1950)
- The Desert Hawk (1950)
- Tarzan's Peril (1951)
- The Desert Fox (1951)
- Detective Story (1951)
- The Green Glove (1952)
- The Golden Blade (1953)
- Julius Caesar (1953)
- Vera Cruz (1954)
- A Kiss Before Dying (1956)
- Paths of Glory (1957)
- The Alligator People (1959)
- Jet Over the Atlantic (1959)
- Two Weeks in Another Town (1962)
- Taras Bulba (1962)
- Seven Days in May (1964)
- Dead Ringer (1964)
- Where Love Has Gone (1964)
- "The Long Morrow", The Twilight Zone episode (1964)
- "The Invisibles", The Outer Limits episode (1963)
- "Production and Decay of Strange Particles", The Outer Limits episode (1964)
- The Human Duplicators (1965)
- The Great Race (1965)
- Fame Is the Name of the Game (1966 TV film)
- The Cemetery, segment of the Night Gallery pilot (1969)
- Daughter of the Mind (1969 TV film)
- Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) narrator
- Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
- The Return of Count Yorga (1971)
- Obituary Variety, July 11, 1973, page 63.
- "George Macready". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved April 28, 2011.
- "Laramie: "Handful of Fire", December 5, 1961". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
- ""Phoebe", May 26, 1962". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved February 14, 2013.
- George Macready at the Internet Movie Database
- George Macready at AllMovie
- George Macready at the Internet Broadway Database
- George Macready at Find a Grave with photo