Charles McGraw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Charles McGraw
McgrawPortrait.JPG
Promotional portrait
Born Charles Butters
(1914-05-10)May 10, 1914
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
Died July 30, 1980(1980-07-30) (aged 66)
Studio City, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1942–1977
Spouse(s) Freda Choy Kitt
(married 1938–1967)
Children 1

Charles Butters (May 10, 1914 – July 30, 1980), best known by his stage name Charles McGraw, was an American actor.

Early life[edit]

Charles McGraw was born in Des Moines, Iowa. Before becoming an actor he served a tour of duty in the United States Army during World War II.

Career[edit]

The killers (Charles McGraw, William Conrad) in The Killers

Film[edit]

McGraw made his first film in 1942 with a small, uncredited role in The Undying Monster. He developed into a leading man, especially in the film noir genre during the late 1940s and early 1950s. His gravelly voice and rugged looks enhanced his appeal in that very stylistic genre.[1]

His first notable role was in The Killers (1946), which opens with McGraw and fellow heavy William Conrad as the two hitmen who terrorize a small-town diner in their search for Burt Lancaster. McGraw's other notable roles include "Honest Joe", the insurance investigator turned thief by love in the noir classic Roadblock (1951); the gruff detective assigned to protect Marie Windsor in The Narrow Margin (1952); righteous cop Lt. Jim Cordell in Armored Car Robbery (1952); Kirk Douglas' gladiator trainer in the epic Spartacus (1960); and "The Preacher" in the science-fiction cult classic A Boy and His Dog.

Television[edit]

McGraw starred as Mike Waring, the title character, in the 39-episode 1954–55 syndicated television series Adventures of the Falcon.[2][3] He also starred in the television version of Casablanca (1955), taking Humphrey Bogart's role as Rick Blaine. He later played various one-shot roles in television episodes such as the gruff and menacing sheriff in "The Gamble", an installment of the NBC western series Bonanza.

In 1960, McGraw played United States Army scout Tom Barrows in the episode "The Scout" on the ABC/Desilu western television series, The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O'Brian. Though he has an Apache wife, Barrows is known for his attacks on Apache warriors. He is called "The Listener" because he cuts off and wears the ears of the Indians he has killed. The Indians retaliate by killing Barrows' wife. McGraw also appeared in an episode of The Untouchables titled "The Jake Lingle Killing". That was notable as a pre-Hawaii Five-O Jack Lord was the lead good guy in the show instead of Ness. He also portrayed a gonzo rear admiral in an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea titled "The Sky is Falling."[4]

Death[edit]

Charles McGraw died after slipping and falling through a glass shower door in his Studio City, California home on July 30, 1980. His ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.

Accolades[edit]

McGraw is recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6927 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.[5]

Filmography[edit]

Cultural references[edit]

In late 2007 Alan K. Rode wrote a biography of McGraw, Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy. The book provides a behind-the-scenes look and anecdotes about his life, including: his long marriage to a Eurasian woman, his World War II Army service, his film career, and the story of his death.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baxter, John. The Gangster Film, p. 80.; A.S. Barnes & Co: New York (1970)
  2. ^ http://ctva.biz/US/Adventure/Falcon.htm
  3. ^ http://www.thrillingdetective.com/falcon.html
  4. ^ ""The Scout" (March 1, 1960)". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ Hollywood Walk of Fame web site. Last accessed: December 11, 2007.
  6. ^ Smith, Richard Harland. "Movie Morlocks", a Turner Classic Movies website, February 23, 2007. Last accessed: December 10, 2007.

External links[edit]