David Bruce (actor)

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David Bruce
Born Marden Andrew McBroom
(1914-01-06)January 6, 1914
Kankakee, Illinois, U.S.
Died May 3, 1976(1976-05-03) (aged 62)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Occupation Film actor
Years active 1940–1956
Spouse(s) Cynthia Sory (1943-1962) (her death) 1 child, and another child

David Bruce (January 6, 1914 – May 3, 1976)[1] was an American film actor, known for his chilling performance as Ted Allison in The Mad Ghoul.[2] He was a company member of Peninsula Players Theatre in Fish Creek, Wisconsin in 1939.

Born in Kankakee, Illinois, he signed a movie contract with Warner Brothers in 1940. The Northwestern University graduate appeared in many movies from the 1940s until 1955 when Bruce decided to give up acting. The 6' 1" (1.85 m) actor appeared in over 60 movies including Flying Tigers (1942), Christmas Holiday (1944) and Lady on a Train (1945).

He is the father of singer-songwriter Amanda McBroom, who wrote the song The Rose, made popular by Bette Midler. His daughter wrote a beautiful tribute to her father in a song titled "Errol Flynn."[3] He is also the father of John Jolliffe, a psychologist in Orange County, CA.

Bruce died from a heart attack in Hollywood, California at the age of 62.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Marden Andrew McBroom was known as "Andy" to his friends. McBroom's uncle Victor led his brothers in running the corrupt city of Kankakee's patronage racket out of their Cadillac dealership, exercising power through the local Republican party for 70 years.[4] McBroom entered Northwestern University in 1934 intending to study law but became a drama major.[5] He met his future wife, Cynthia Sory when she directed him in a Northwestern University production of Henry IV.[6]

In 1940, after extensive travel for theater work, McBroom made his way to California and signed with a Hollywood agent, Henry Willson.[5] The agent changed his name to David Bruce and got him a stock contract at Warner Brothers. Bruce's first role was in the Errol Flynn movie The Sea Hawk. Bruce was released from his Warner's contract to join the Naval Air Force at the outset of World War II, but he was discharged due to a chronic ear infection.[5] After appearing in the John Wayne movie Flying Tigers, Universal Pictures offered him a long-term contract. At the war's end, Universal did not renew Bruce's contract. During the 1950s, Bruce acted in several Columbia pictures, appeared on television, and wrote for television.[7]

Bruce withdrew from acting after 1956. His wife died after a lengthy illness in 1962. Bruce eventually returned to Kankakee to work for a relative's promotional film company.[7] Amanda McBroom's own burgeoning Hollywood acting career paved the way for Bruce's return to acting.[3] Bruce died of a heart attack immediately after wrapping his first scene on the film Moving Violations.[5]

Errol Flynn song[edit]

Amanda McBroom says that the lyrics to her song about her father, Errol Flynn, are "absolutely" true, including that Errol Flynn was one of Bruce's best friends."[6] Amanda McBroom confirms that excessive drinking "destroyed him for a while."[6] The lyric that Bruce "died with his boots on" does not refer to the Errol Flynn movie (which Bruce did not appear in) but rather to the manner in which David Bruce died, on a film set as a working actor.[6]



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