Gordon MacRae

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the hockey player, see Gord McRae.
Gordon MacRae
Gordon MacRae 1953.JPG
MacRae in 1953.
Born Albert Gordon MacRae
(1921-03-12)March 12, 1921
East Orange, New Jersey, US
Died January 24, 1986(1986-01-24) (aged 64)
Bryan Memorial Hospital
Lincoln, Nebraska
Cause of death Mouth and jaw cancer and pneumonia[1]
Resting place Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln, Nebraska
Alma mater Nottingham High School
Deerfield Academy
Occupation Actor/Singer, TV and radio show host/personality
Years active 1942-1980
Spouse(s) Sheila MacRae
Elizabeth Lambert Schrafft
(m.1967–1986; his death)
Children 5; including Heather MacRae
Meredith MacRae

Gordon MacRae (March 12, 1921 – January 24, 1986)[2] was an American actor and singer, best known for his appearances in the film versions of two Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, Oklahoma! (1955) and Carousel (1956), and playing Bill Sherman in On Moonlight Bay (1951) and By The Light of the Silvery Moon (1953).

Early life[edit]

Born Albert Gordon MacRae in East Orange in Essex County in northeastern New Jersey, MacRae graduated in 1940 from Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and he thereafter served as a navigator in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. Prior to this, he attended Nottingham High School in Syracuse, New York.


Winning a contest enabled MacRae to sing at the 1939 New York World's Fair with Harry James' and Les Brown's orchestras.[3]

He made his Broadway debut in 1942, acquiring his first recording contract soon afterwards. Many of his hit recordings were made with Jo Stafford. It was in 1948 that he appeared in his first film, The Big Punch, a drama about boxing. He soon began an on-screen partnership with Doris Day and appeared with her in several films.

In 1950, he starred with Doris Day in "Tea for Two" (a reworking of "No, No, Nanette"), then in 1951, he starred again with Doris Day in On Moonlight Bay, followed by the 1953 sequel By the Light of the Silvery Moon. That same year, he also starred opposite Kathryn Grayson in the third film version of The Desert Song. This was followed by leading roles in two major films of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, Oklahoma! (1955) and Carousel (1956), both films opposite Shirley Jones.

On radio, he was the host and lead actor on The Railroad Hour, a half-hour anthology series made up of condensed versions of hit Broadway musicals.[4] Many of those programs were recorded later in popular studio cast albums: most of these recordings have been reissued on CDs.[5]

MacRae appeared frequently on television, on such programs as The Martha Raye Show and The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford, both on NBC. On Christmas 1958, MacRae and Ford performed the Christmas hymn "O Holy Night".[6] Earlier in 1958, MacRae guest starred on the short-lived NBC variety series, The Polly Bergen Show.

Thereafter, MacRae appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, and The Bell Telephone Hour. He continued his musical stage career, often performing with his wife, as in a 1964 production of Bells Are Ringing, also performing as Sky Masterson in the popular musical Guys and Dolls, with his wife playing the role of Miss Adeleide, reprising her Broadway role.[7] In the late 1960s he co-hosted for a week on The Mike Douglas Show. He also toured in summer stock and appeared in nightclubs. In 1967, he replaced Robert Preston in the original Broadway run of the musical I Do! I Do!, starring opposite Carol Lawrence, who had taken over the role from Mary Martin.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Sheila MacRae from 1941 until 1967;[8] the couple were the parents of four children: actresses Heather and Meredith MacRae, and sons William Gordon MacRae and Robert Bruce MacRae. Two of the children, Meredith MacRae and Robert Bruce MacRae, predeceased their mother, Sheila.

Gordon MacRae was married, secondly, to Elizabeth Lambert Schrafft on September 25, 1967, and fathered one daughter, Amanda Mercedes MacRae in 1968. They remained married until his death. He was buried at the Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.[2]


Feature films
Year Title Role Notes
1948 The Big Punch Johnny Grant
1949 Look for the Silver Lining Frank Carter
1950 Backfire Bob Corey
1950 The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady Tony Pastor
1950 Return of the Frontiersman Logan Barrett
1950 Tea for Two Jimmy Smith
1950 The West Point Story Tom Fletcher
1951 On Moonlight Bay William Sherman
1951 Starlift Himself
1952 About Face Tony Williams
1953 By the Light of the Silvery Moon Bill Sherman
1953 The Desert Song El Khobar / Paul Bonnard
1953 Three Sailors and a Girl "Choirboy" Jones
1955 Oklahoma! Curly McLain
1956 Carousel Billy Bigelow
1956 The Best Things in Life Are Free Buddy DeSylva
1978 Zero to Sixty Officer Joe
1980 The Pilot Joe Barnes (Last appearance)
Short subjects
Year Title Role Notes
1951 The Screen Director Himself
1952 Screen Snapshots: Fun in the Sun Himself
1953 So You Want a Television Set Himself (Cameo appearance)

Stage work[edit]


MacRae replaced Frank Sinatra on a radio program in 1943, but he soon had to leave for military service. In 1946, he was the "singing emcee" of The Teentimers Club, a Saturday morning program on NBC.[3]

He also appeared in programs as shown in the table below.

Program Episode Date Notes
Stars in the Air Christmas in Connecticut March 20, 1952 [9]
Lux Radio Theatre On Moonlight Bay May 5, 1952 [10]



Year Single Chart positions
Hot 100
1945 "You Go To My Head"
b/w "'A' You're Adorable"
"It's Anybody's Spring"
b/w "Love Is The Sweetest Thing"
1947 "I Still Get Jealous"
b/w "I Understand"
"At The Candlelight Cafe"
b/w "I Surrender Dear"
1948 "Thoughtless" / 28
"You Were Meant For Me" 22
"That Feathery Feeling"
b/w "Matinee"
"It's Magic"
b/w "Spring In December"
"Steppin' Out With My Baby"
b/w "Evelyn"
b/w "I Went Down To Virginia"
"Win Or Lose"
b/w "At Your Command"
"Hair Of Gold Eyes Of Blue" / 7
"Rambling Rose" 27
"Say Something Sweet To Your Sweetheart" (With Jo Stafford) / 10
"Bluebird Of Happiness" (With Jo Stafford) 16
"My Darling, My Darling"
b/w "Girls Were Made To Take Care Of Boys"
Both sides with Jo Stafford and The Starlighters
1949 "Down The Lane"
b/w "You Are My Love"
Both sides with Jo Stafford and The Jud Conlon Singers
"The Pussy Cat Song"
b/w "I'll String Along With You"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"So In Love"
b/w "A Rosewood Spinet"
"You're Still The Belle Of The Ball"
b/w "The Melancholy Minstrel"
"A You're Adorable" (With Jo Stafford) / 4
"Need You" (With Jo Stafford) 7
"Some Enchanted Evening"
b/w (B-side by Margaret Whiting: "A Wonderful Guy")
"Younger Than Springtime"
b/w(B-side by Margaret Whiting: "A Cock-Eyed Optimist)
"Whispering Hope"
b/w "A Thought In My Heart"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"Thank You"
b/w "My One and Only Highland Fling"
Both sides with The Starlighters
"The Wedding Of Lilli Marlene"
b/w "Twenty-Four Hours Of Sunshine"
Both sides with The Starlighters
"I Want You To Want Me (To Want You)"
b/w "Wonderful One"
b/w "I'll String Along With You"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"Mule Train" / 14
"Dear Hearts and Gentle People" 19
"Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" (With Jo Stafford) / 13
"Echoes" (With Jo Stafford) 18
"The Sunshine Of Your Smile"
b/w "Body and Soul"
1950 "Adeste Fidelis"
b/w "Merry Christmas Waltz"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"Songs Of Christmas" (Part 1)b/w "Songs Of Christmas" (Part 2)
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"Love's Old Sweet Song"
b/w "Juanita"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
b/w "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (I Love You)"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"Beyond The Sunset"
b/w "Near Me"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"Where Are You Gonna Be When The Moon Shines"
b/w "Driftin' Down The Dreamy Ol' Ohio"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"A Perfect Day"
b/w "The Rosary"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"I'm In The Middle Of A Riddle"
b/w "Tea For Two"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
1951 "Love Means Love" (With The Ewing Sisters)
b/w "Wait For Me"
"Whispering Hope" (Reissue)
b/w "I'll String Along With You"
b/w "Beyond The Sunset"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"Ol' Man River"
b/w "On A Sunday At Coney Island"
"Down The Old Ox Road"
b/w "Cuddle Up A Little Closer"
"Cuban Love Song"
b/w "Last Night When We Were Young" (With Jo Stafford)
"On Rosary Hill"
b/w "Lover's Waltz"
Both sides with Gisele MacKenzie
"Be My Girl"
b/w "Laughing At Love"
1952 "When It's Springtime In The Rockies"
b/w "Nights Of Splendor"
Both sides with Jo Stafford
"My Love"
b/w "How Close"
"Green Acres and Purple Montains"
b/w "Baby Doll"
"These Things Shall Pass"
b/w "Gentle Hands"
"Brotherly Love"
b/w "Straight and Narrow"
1953 "How Do You Speak To An Angel" / 30
"Congratulations To Someone" 28
"C'est Magnifique"
b/w "Homin' Time"
"Stranger In Paradise"
b/w "Never In A Million Years"
"I Don't Want To Walk Without You"
b/w "I Still Dream Of You"
1954 "Ramona"
b/w "So In Love"
"Face To Face"
b/w "Backward, Turn Backward"
"Cara Mia"
b/w "Count Your Blessings Instead Of Sheep"
"Here's What I'm Here For"
b/w "Love Can Change The Stars"
1955 "You Forgot (To Tell Me That You Love Me)"
b/w "Tik-A-Tee Tik-A-Tay"
"Follow Your Heart"
b/w "Belle Notte"
"Why Break The Heart That Loves You"
b/w "Jim Bowie"
"The Surrey With The Fringe On Top"
b/w "People Will Say We're In Love"
Both sides with Ray Anthony
"Woman In Love"
b/w "Wonderful Christmas"
"Never Before and Never Again"
b/w "Fate"
1956 "I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face"
b/w "Who Are We"
"I Asked The Lord"
b/w "One Misty Morning"
b/w "Without Love"
"Endless Love"
b/w "When You Kiss Me"
1957 "Till We Meet Again"
b/w "Lonely"
b/w "Never Till Now"
1958 "If I Forget You"
b/w "Now"
"The Secret"
b/w "A Man Once Said"
"Fly Little Bluebird"
b/w "Little Do You Know"
1959 "The Stranger"
b/w "Palace Of Love"
"Sound Of Music"
b/w "When Did I Fall In Love"
1960 "You Were There"
b/w "Our Love Story" (with Sheila MacRae)
"If Ever I Would Leave You"
b/w "Dolce Far Niente"
1961 "Face To Face"
b/w "Sail Away"
"Ordinary People"
b/w "Impossible"
1962 "The Sweetest Sounds"
b/w "Nobody Told Me"
b/w "Warmer Than A Whisper"
1966 "If She Walked Into My Life"
b/w "I Want To Be With You"
b/w "I Don't Think I'm In Love"
1968 "Only Love"
b/w "Knowing When To Leave"

In popular culture[edit]

  • MacRae is mentioned in the song "Oklahoma U.S.A." by The Kinks, as the song's subject daydreams of "riding in the surrey with the fringe on top" with "Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae." He is also mentioned in the second episode of The Golden Palace.
  • He is Godfather to Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy's son, Shaun Cassidy.


  1. ^ Gordon MacRae Dies: Star of Movie Musicals from The New York Times
  2. ^ a b Gordon MacRae at Find a Grave
  3. ^ a b "From Page Boy To Emcee" (PDF). Radio-Vision. November 30, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  4. ^ The Railroad Hour Episode Log
  5. ^ Gordon MacRae on CastAlbums.org
  6. ^ ""O Holy Night," Tennessee Ernie Ford and Gordon MacRae". clevelandclassicmedia.blogspot.com. Retrieved November 25, 2010. 
  7. ^ at the Grady Gammage Auditorium in Phoenix, Arizona - theater in the round
  8. ^ Milestones: August 4, 1967 from Time magazine
  9. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  10. ^ Kirby, Walter (May 4, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved May 8, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read

Further reading[edit]

  • Hollywood Mother of The Year – Sheila MacRae's Own Story, by Sheila MacRae & H. Paul Jeffreys. (Birch Lane Press, 1992) ISBN 978-1559721127
  • Gordon MacRae: A Bio-Bibliography by Bruce B. Leiby. (Greenwood Press, 1991) ISBN 978-0313266331

External links[edit]