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MacDougall began writing the occasional screenplay in the late 30s, working both alone and in collaboration with others. Most of his plays were produced during the 50s. As a screenwriter, his best-known films are The Man in the White Suit (for which he received a 1952 Academy Award nomination) and The Mouse That Roared. He was a cousin of Alexander Mackendrick.
During the 1950s he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis which eventually resulted in significant disability. Through disillusionment with orthodox medical treatments at the time, he developed a diet, loosely based on a paleolithic diet, that apparently returned him to good health and sustained remission. Following this experience, he published a pamphlet describing his diet intended to help other patients to achieve similar results. This diet produced positive results in other patients, though success was not universal.
- Midnight at Madame Tussaud's (1936)
- Midnight Menace (1937)
- Cheer Boys Cheer (1939)
- Let's Be Famous (1939)
- Law and Disorder (1940)
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