John McGiver

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John McGiver
John McGiver.jpg
Born John Irwin McGiver
(1913-11-05)November 5, 1913
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died September 9, 1975(1975-09-09) (aged 61)
West Fulton, New York, U.S.
Cause of death
Heart attack
Alma mater Fordham University
Columbia University
The Catholic University of America
Occupation Actor
Years active 1955–1975
Spouse(s) Ruth Schmigelsky (m. 1947–75) (his death)
Children 10
Military career
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Unit 7th Armored Division
Battles/wars World War II

John Irwin McGiver (November 5, 1913 – September 9, 1975) was an American character actor who made more than a hundred appearances in television and motion pictures over a two-decade span from 1955 to 1975.

The owl-faced, portly actor with the mid-Atlantic accent was known for his performances as the kindly Tiffany's salesman in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961); the honorable but ill-fated Senator Thomas Jordan in the original film version of The Manchurian Candidate (1962); and as religious fanatic Mr. O'Daniel in the film Midnight Cowboy (1969). He also appeared on many TV shows and commercials, including a Baggies spot in the 1960s, as well as the first of a popular series of commercials for the American Express charge card ("Do you know me?").

Early life[edit]

McGiver was born in New York City, the son of Irish immigrants.[1] He graduated from the Jesuit-run Regis High School in Manhattan in 1932.[2] He received a B.A. in English from Fordham University in 1938 and master's degrees from Columbia University and Catholic University.[3] He became an English teacher and worked as an actor and director in New York's Irish Repertory Theater.[4] He interrupted those activities and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 and served as an officer in the U.S. Army's 7th Armored Division in Europe during World War II.[5] Returning to civilian life, he continued to teach English and speech at Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx and worked occasionally in off-Broadway plays until 1955, when he became a full-time actor.[6]

Career[edit]

In 1959, McGiver appeared in the episode "The Assassin" of NBC's espionage drama Five Fingers, starring David Hedison. In 1962, he appeared as Gramps in the episode "The Seventh Day of Creation" of the NBC medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour, starring Wendell Corey and Jack Ging. He appeared on the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes "Six People No Music" and "Fatal Figures", and the Twilight Zone episode "Sounds and Silences". He also played a butterfly collector in a 1966 episode of Gilligan's Island (season 3, episode 7, Man With A Net). In 1971 he guest starred in Alias Smith and Jones with Pete Duel and Ben Murphy (season 1, episode 8, 'A Fistful of Diamonds').

Between 1963 and 1964, McGiver appeared in five episodes of The Patty Duke Show as J.R. Castle, who was Martin Lane's boss at the fictional newspaper The Chronicle.

In the 1964–1965 television season, McGiver played the widower Walter Burnley, the head of the complaint department of a fictitious Los Angeles department store in the CBS sitcom Many Happy Returns. His costars included Elinor Donahue, Mark Goddard, Mickey Manners, and Elena Verdugo.

Personal life[edit]

McGiver was married to Ruth Schmigelsky from 1947 until his death; they had ten children.[7]

Death[edit]

McGiver died of a heart attack on September 9, 1975 at his home in West Fulton at age 61.[8] His remains were cremated.

Selected filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

McGiver was a regular performer on:

McGiver also appeared in:

Stage[edit]

Broadway theatre includes:

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Census, January 1, 1920, State of New York, County of New York, enumeration district 681, p. 15A, family 319.
  2. ^ "Multimedia Gallery: Regis Actors and Directors". Regis High School. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ Freeman, William M. (September 10, 1975). "John McGiver, Actor, 62, Dies; Did TV, Film Character Roles". New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  4. ^ "War Provided Background For C.U. Play", The Washington Post, June 8, 1947, p. L2.
  5. ^ National Archives and Records Administration, U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 [database on-line], Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005.
  6. ^ Shanley, John P. (June 1, 1958). "John M'Giver–Teacher who Took a Chance". New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Other Deaths: John McGiver, Veteran Actor". Boca Raton News. September 10, 1975. pp. 9A. 
  8. ^ "Character Actor John McGiver Dies". The Telegraph. September 10, 1975. p. 2. 

External links[edit]