George Macready

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George Macready
George Macready in the trailer for Paths of Glory (1957)
George Peabody Macready Jr.

(1899-08-29)August 29, 1899
DiedJuly 2, 1973(1973-07-02) (aged 73)
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma materClassical High School
Brown University
Years active1926–1971
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Dana Macready (1931–1943; 3 children)

George Peabody Macready Jr. (August 29, 1899 – July 2, 1973)[1] was an American stage, film, and television actor often cast in roles as polished villains.[2]


Macready was born in Providence, Rhode Island, and graduated from the local 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. He was stitched up by a veterinarian, but he caught scarlet fever during the ordeal. The injury, along with his high brow and perfect diction, gave Macready the Gothic look of an authoritarian or villainous character.

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 Macready.

Acting career[edit]


He made his Broadway debut in 1926 in a stage adaptation of 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 (1942), which stars 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). In 1965 he was cast in a rare comedy role as General Kuhster in Blake Edwards's film The Great Race.

One of Macready's last film roles was as United States Secretary of State Cordell Hull in Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), a depiction of the events leading up to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.


Macready 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 was also cast 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 appears in many western television series produced in the 1950s and 1960s, 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.

Macready also portrays Colonel John Barrington in the 1961 episode "Handful of Fire" of the NBC Western series Laramie. 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.[3]

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.

In the 1960s, Macready performed 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 (1966) starring Anthony 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.

In addition to appearing in many Westerns, Macready can be seen in reruns of The Outer Limits, Boris Karloff's Thriller, Get Smart with Don Adams, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with Robert Vaughn.

Personal life[edit]

An art collector, Macready was a partner with colleague Vincent Price in a Beverly Hills art gallery called The Little Gallery which they opened in 1943. (Macready had played Price's brother on Broadway in Victoria Regina.) According to Lucy Chase Williams' book, The Complete Films of Vincent Price: "The establishment merited photos and two full columns in Newsweek magazine, but rent increases forced The Little Gallery to close after two years."

He was the father of actor/producer Michael Macready, and the grandfather of the gymnast John Macready.


Macready died of emphysema in 1973 and his body was donated to the UCLA School of Medicine.[1]


Partial television credits[edit]

Peyton Place (1962-1965) as Martin Peyton


  1. ^ a b Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 467. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  2. ^ Obituary Variety, July 11, 1973, page 63.
  3. ^ "Laramie: "Handful of Fire", December 5, 1961". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved September 22, 2012.

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