Victor Andrew de Bier Everleigh McLaglen
10 December 1886
|Died||7 November 1959 (aged 72)|
|Burial place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California|
(m. 1919; died 1942)
Suzanne M. Brueggeman
(m. 1943; div. 1948)
Victor Andrew de Bier Everleigh McLaglen (10 December 1886 – 7 November 1959) was a British-American actor and boxer. His film career spanned from the early 1920’s through the 1950’s, initially as a leading man, though he was better known for his character acting. He was a well-known member of John Ford’s Stock Company, appearing in 12 of the director’s films, seven of which co-starred John Wayne.
For his performance as a treacherous Irish Republican in the 1935 film The Informer, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor, and was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Quiet Man, both directed by Ford. In 1960, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
McLaglen claimed to have been born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, although his birth certificate records 505 Commercial Road, Stepney in the East End of London as his true birthplace. His father, Andrew Charles Albert Mclaglen, was a missionary in the Free Protestant Church in South Africa, and was later a bishop of the Free Protestant Episcopal Church of England.
The McLaglen family is ultimately of Scottish origin, descended from a MacLachlan who settled in South Africa in the 19th century. The name was rendered into McLaglen from Dutch pronunciation. A.C.A. McLaglen was christened Andries Carel Albertus McLaglen in Cape Town on 4 April 1851.
Other siblings included Frederick, Lewis, and a sister, Lily. Another brother, Sydney Temple Leopold McLaglen, who appeared in one film, gained notoriety prior to World War I as a showman and self-proclaimed world jujutsu champion, who authored a book on the subject.
Victor moved with his family to South Africa for a time, where his father was Bishop of Claremont.
Army service and boxing career
McLaglen left home at 14 to join the British Army with the intention of fighting in the Second Boer War, but much to his chagrin, he was stationed at Windsor Castle in the Life Guards and was later forced to leave the army when his true age was discovered.
Four years later, he moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where he became a local celebrity, earning a living as a wrestler and heavyweight boxer, with several notable wins in the ring. He also briefly served as a constable in the Winnipeg Police Force in 1907.
One of his most famous fights was against heavyweight champion Jack Johnson in a six-round exhibition bout at the Vancouver Athletic Club on 10 March 1909. This was Johnson's first bout since winning the heavyweight title from Tommy Burns. Between bouts, McLaglen toured with a circus, which offered $25 to anyone who could go three rounds with him.
He returned to Britain in 1913, and during the First World War served as a captain (acting) with the 10th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. Later, he served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He served for a time as military assistant provost marshal for the city of Baghdad. He continued boxing, and was named heavyweight champion of the British Army in 1918.
After the war, he continued boxing, including a defeat at the hands of British champion Frank Goddard. His final fight was a loss by knockout to Arthur Townley in October 1920. He finished his professional career with a record of 16 wins, eight losses, and a draw.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (December 2017)
McLaglen was visiting a sporting club when spotted by a film producer who was looking for a boxer to play the lead in a film, The Call of the Road (1920). Although McLaglen had never acted before, he auditioned and got the part.
He was in the adventure films: Corinthian Jack (1921) and The Prey of the Dragon (1921). He followed it with The Sport of Kings (1921). Donald Crisp cast him in The Glorious Adventure (1922) and he was in A Romance of Old Baghdad (1922), Little Brother of God (1922), A Sailor Tramp (1922), The Crimson Circle (1922), The Romany (1922), and Heartstrings (1922).
McLaglen played leads in M'Lord of the White Road (1923), In the Blood (1923), The Boatswain's Mate (1923), Women and Diamonds (1924), and The Gay Corinthian (1924). He was in The Passionate Adventure (1924), co-written by Alfred Hitchcock, and The Beloved Brute (1924), The Hunted Woman (1925), and Percy (1925).
McLaglen's career took a surprise turn in 1925 when he moved to Hollywood. He became a popular character actor, with a particular knack for playing drunks. He also usually played Irishmen, leading many film fans to mistakenly assume he was Irish rather than English. McLaglen played one of the titular characters of The Unholy Three (1925) in Lon Chaney Sr.'s original silent version of the macabre crime drama.
McLaglen had a support part in Winds of Chance (1925), directed by Frank Lloyd, then made The Fighting Heart (1925) at Fox, directed by John Ford. Ford would have a major impact on McLaglen's career. McLaglen was in The Isle of Retribution (1925), Men of Steel (1926), and Beau Geste (1926), playing Hank in the last.
What Price Glory? and stardom
McLaglen was the top-billed leading man in director Raoul Walsh's First World War classic What Price Glory? (1926) with Edmund Lowe and Dolores del Río. The film was a huge success, making over $2 million, and Fox signed McLaglen to a long-term contract.
Fox put McLaglen in The Loves of Carmen (1927) with del Río, directed by Walsh. He was top-billed in Mother Machree (1928), directed by Ford. He was top-billed in A Girl in Every Port (1928), co-starring Robert Armstrong and Louise Brooks. He starred in Hangman's House (1928) for Ford, a romantic drama set in Ireland, and The River Pirate (1928), and Captain Lash (1929). McLaglen then made two films for Ford: Strong Boy (1929) and The Black Watch (1929).
McLaglen was one of many Fox stars who had cameos in the musical Happy Days (1929). He was reunited with Edmund Lowe and Raoul Walsh in a sequel to What Price Glory?, The Cock-Eyed World (1929), which was another huge success at the box office.
McLaglen made a musical with Walsh, Hot for Paris (1930), then made On the Level (1930). A Devil with Women (1931) was a buddy comedy with Humphrey Bogart in which Bogart played McLaglen's sidekick. He was borrowed by Paramount for Dishonored (1931), starring Marlene Dietrich and directed by Joseph von Sternberg. He was in Not Exactly Gentlemen (1931) and had a cameo in the short film The Stolen Jools (1931). McLaglen, Lowe, and Walsh reunited for a second sequel to What Price Glory?, Women of All Nations (1931). He was in Annabelle's Affairs (1931), Wicked (1931), The Gay Caballero (1932), and Devil's Lottery (1932). McLaglen and Lowe went to Paramount for Guilty as Hell (1932).
Back at Fox he was in Rackety Rax (1932) then made a fourth What Price Glory? film with Lowe, Hot Pepper (1933). McLaglen starred in Laughing at Life (1933) and returned to Britain to make Dick Turpin (1933).
McLaglen starred opposite Boris Karloff's crazed religious fanatic in John Ford's The Lost Patrol (1934) at RKO, a picture about desperate soldiers gradually losing their minds fighting Arabs in the desert of what is now Iraq.
At Paramount, McLaglen and Lowe were in No More Women (1934) (a non-What Price Glory? film), then McLaglen made Wharf Angel (1934). He was one of many stars in Murder at the Vanities (1934). At Columbia, McLaglen starred in The Captain Hates the Sea (1934) with John Gilbert. Lowe and he reunited at Fox for Under Pressure (1935) (directed by Walsh) and The Great Hotel Murder (1935).
Another highlight of his career was winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Ford's The Informer (1935), shot at RKO, based on a novel of the same name by Liam O'Flaherty. Frank Tashlin's 1938 cartoon Have You Got Any Castles? features a caricature of McLaglen emerging from the novel and literally informing someone about some shady characters. In 1945, McLaglen said that winning the Oscar had no economic benefit and that he didn't know where it was because his son had taken it to college for use as a paperweight.
Back at Fox – now 20th Century Fox – McLaglen made Professional Soldier (1935) with Freddie Bartholomew. At Paramount, he was teamed with Mae West in Klondike Annie (1936), then he went back to Fox for Under Two Flags (1936) with Rosalind Russell and Ronald Colman.
McLaglen starred in The Magnificent Brute (1936) for Universal, Sea Devils (1937) for RKO and Nancy Steele Is Missing! (1937) for Fox. He stayed at Fox to support Robert Taylor in This Is My Affair (1937), and notably, Shirley Temple in Wee Willie Winkie (1937) directed by John Ford at Fox. He had a cameo in Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937). Brian Donlevy and he made a comedy Battle of Broadway (1938) at Fox, then he went to Universal for The Devil's Party (1938).
McLaglen returned to Britain for We're Going to Be Rich (1938) with Gracie Fields. Back in Hollywood, he did some films for RKO: Pacific Liner (1939) and Gunga Din (1939). The latter, with Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., was an adventure epic loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's poem that served as the template decades later for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984).
He supported Nelson Eddy in Let Freedom Ring (1939) at MGM, and was in Ex-Champ (1939). He supported Brian Aherne in Captain Fury (1939), and starred in Full Confession (1939) for John Farrow at RKO, the latter film being somewhat a remake of The Informer.
At Universal, McLaglen teamed with Basil Rathbone in Rio (1939) and Jackie Cooper in The Big Guy (1939). He was top-billed in Edward Small's South Seas adventure, South of Pago Pago (1940). He remained top-billed for Diamond Frontier (1940) and Broadway Limited (1941).
McLaglen and Lowe reprised their roles from What Price Glory? in the radio program Captain Flagg and Sergeant Quirt, broadcast on the Blue Network (28 September 1941 – 25 January 1942, and on NBC 13 February 1942 – 3 April 1942).
McLaglen and Lowe then played basically the same roles, but under different names in Call Out the Marines (1942) at RKO. He starred in Powder Town (1942), and went to Fox to support Gene Tierney in China Girl (1942). He was one of many stars in Forever and a Day (1943), and had a support role in Tampico (1943) and Roger Touhy, Gangster (1944). McLaglen was a villain in Bob Hope's The Princess and the Pirate (1944), and he was in Rough, Tough and Ready.
McLaglen began to be exclusively a supporting actor, with parts in Love, Honor and Goodbye (1945), Whistle Stop (1946) with George Raft and Ava Gardner, Calendar Girl (1947), The Michigan Kid (1947), and The Foxes of Harrow (1947).
McLaglen was back with John Ford for Fort Apache (1948) with John Wayne and Henry Fonda. It was very much a support part, as a cavalry sergeant, but so well received that McLaglen basically reprised it in the other two films in the Ford-Wayne "cavalry trilogy": She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950) with Maureen O'Hara and Ben Johnson.
McLaglen was later nominated for another Oscar, this time for a Best Supporting Actor for his role opposite John Wayne in The Quiet Man (1952). He continued to be in demand as a support actor in action films: Fair Wind to Java (1953) with Fred MacMurray and Prince Valiant (1954) with James Mason and Robert Wagner. He went to Britain for Trouble in the Glen (1954), an unsuccessful attempt to do for Scotland what The Quiet Man did for Ireland. Back in Hollywood, he was in Many Rivers to Cross (1955) at MGM with Robert Taylor and Eleanor Parker.
McLaglen had a rare late career lead role in City of Shadows (1955) at Republic with Patricia Crowley, and he was second-billed in Bengazi (1955), but he went back to supports with Lady Godiva of Coventry (1955). He had a cameo in Around the World in 80 Days (1956) with David Niven and Cantinflas, then had another lead in The Abductors (1957), directed by his son, Andrew V. McLaglen.
Toward the end of his career, McLaglen made several guest appearances on television, particularly in Western series such as Have Gun, Will Travel and Rawhide. The episodes in which McLaglen guest-starred were both directed by his son, Andrew, who later became a film director frequently directing John Wayne.
In 1933, he founded the California Light Horse Regiment, which included a "riding parade club, a polo-playing group and a precision motorcycle contingent". He described it in a press interview as promoting "Americanism". He said it was organized to fight communists and others "opposed to the American ideal", both inside and outside the country. McLaglen was attacked by some on the left as fascist, which he denied. He said he was a "patriot of the good old-fashioned American kind".
In 1935, McLaglen spent a reported $40,000 (equal to $853,786 today) to build his own stadium near Riverside Drive and Hyperion Avenue, near Griffith Park and the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles. The stadium was used for football and many other activities. The Los Angeles River flood of 1938 seriously damaged the stadium, and it fell into disuse thereafter. In 1941, he was selected as the grand marshal of the Clovis Rodeo parade in Clovis, California.
McLaglen was married three times. He first married Enid Lamont in 1919. The couple had two sons, Andrew, Walter, and one daughter, Sheila. Andrew McLaglen was a television and film director who worked on several film projects with John Wayne. Andrew's children, Mary and Josh McLaglen, are both film producers and directors. Sheila's daughter, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, is a television director. Enid Lamont McLaglen died in 1942 as a result of a horse-riding accident.
His second marriage was to Suzanne M. Brueggeman. That marriage lasted from 1943 until 1948. His third and final marriage was to divorcée Margaret McNichols Pumphrey, a Seattle socialite he married in 1948. They remained married until his death from congested heart failure in 1959.
|1920||The Call of the Road||Alf Truscott||Lost film|
|1921||Corinthian Jack||Jack Halstead||Lost film|
|1921||The Prey of the Dragon||Brett 'Dragon' Mercer||Lost film|
|1921||The Sport of Kings||Frank Rosedale||Lost film|
|1922||The Glorious Adventure||Bulfinch|
|1922||A Romance of Old Baghdad||Miski||Lost film|
|1922||Little Brother of God||King Kennidy||Lost film|
|1922||A Sailor Tramp||The Sailor Tramp||Lost film|
|1922||The Crimson Circle||Lost film|
|1923||The Romany||The Chief||Lost film|
|1923||Heartstrings||Frank Wilson||Lost film|
|1923||Woman to Woman||Nubian slave||Uncredited |
|1923||M'Lord of the White Road||Lord Annerley / John||Lost film|
|1923||In the Blood||Tony Crabtree||Lost film|
|1924||The Boatswain's Mate||Ned Travers||Lost film|
|1924||Women and Diamonds||Brian Owen||Lost film|
|1924||The Gay Corinthian||Squire Hardcastle||Lost film|
|1924||The Passionate Adventure||Herb Harris||Lost film|
|1924||The Beloved Brute||Charles Hinges|
|1925||The Hunted Woman||Quade||Lost film|
|1925||Percy||Reedy Jenkins||Lost film|
|1925||The Unholy Three||Hercules, the strongman|
|1925||Winds of Chance||Poleon Doret|
|1925||The Fighting Heart||Soapy Williams||Lost film|
|1926||The Isle of Retribution||Doomsdorf||Lost film|
|1926||Men of Steel||Pete Masarick||Lost film|
|1926||What Price Glory?||Capt. Flagg|
|1927||The Loves of Carmen||Escamillo|
|1928||Mother Machree||The Giant of Kilkenny (Terence O'Dowd)||With John Ford & John Wayne. |
|1928||A Girl in Every Port||Spike Madden|
|1928||Hangman's House||Citizen Denis Hogan||With John Ford & John Wayne.|
|1928||The River Pirate||Sailor Fritz|
|1929||Captain Lash||Captain Lash|
|1929||Strong Boy||Strong Boy||Lost film|
|1929||The Black Watch||Capt. Donald Gordon King||With John Ford & John Wayne.|
|1929||Happy Days||Minstrel Show Performer #1||Lost film|
|1929||The Cock-Eyed World||Top Sergeant Flagg|
|1929||Hot for Paris||John Patrick Duke||Lost film|
|1930||On the Level||Biff Williams|
|1930||A Devil with Women||Jerry Maxton|
|1931||Not Exactly Gentlemen||Bull Stanley|
|1931||The Stolen Jools||Sergeant Flagg|
|1931||Women of All Nations||Captain Jim Flagg|
|1931||Annabelle's Affairs||John Rawson / Hefly Jack||Lost film|
|1932||The Gay Caballero||Don Bob Harkness / El Coyote|
|1932||Devil's Lottery||Jem Meech|
|1932||While Paris Sleeps||Jacques Costaud|
|1932||Guilty as Hell||Detective Capt. T.R. McKinley|
|1932||Rackety Rax||'Knucks' McGloin|
|1933||Hot Pepper||Jim Flagg|
|1933||Laughing at Life||Dennis P. McHale / Burke / Captain Hale|
|1934||The Lost Patrol||The Sergeant|
|1934||No More Women||Forty-Fathoms|
|1934||Dick Turpin||Dick Turpin|
|1934||Murder at the Vanities||Police Lt. Bill Murdock|
|1934||The Captain Hates the Sea||Junius P. Schulte|
|1935||Under Pressure||Jumbo Smith|
|1935||The Great Hotel Murder||Andrew W. 'Andy' McCabe|
|1935||The Informer||Gypo Nolan||Academy Award for Best Actor|
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
|1935||Professional Soldier||Michael Donovan|
|1936||Klondike Annie||Bull Brackett|
|1936||Under Two Flags||J.C. Doyle|
|1936||The Magnificent Brute||'Big Steve' Andrews||as Victor McLaglen – Academy Award Winner|
|1937||Sea Devils||CPO William 'Medals' Malone|
|1937||Nancy Steele Is Missing!||Dannie O'Neill|
|1937||This Is My Affair||Jock Ramsay|
|1937||Wee Willie Winkie||Sgt. Donald MacDuff|
|1937||Ali Baba Goes to Town||Himself||Uncredited|
|1938||Battle of Broadway||Big Ben Wheeler|
|1938||The Devil's Party||Marty Malone|
|1938||We're Going to Be Rich||Dobbie|
|1939||Pacific Liner||J.B. 'Crusher' McKay, Chief Engineer|
|1939||Gunga Din||Sgt. 'Mac' MacChesney|
|1939||Let Freedom Ring||Chris Mulligan|
|1939||Ex-Champ||Tom 'Gunner' Grey|
|1939||Captain Fury||Jerry Black aka Blackie|
|1939||Full Confession||Patt McGinnis|
|1939||The Big Guy||Warden Bill Whitlock|
|1940||South of Pago Pago||Bucko Larson|
|1940||Diamond Frontier||Terrence Regan|
|1941||Broadway Limited||Maurice 'Mike' Monohan|
|1942||Call Out the Marines||Sgt. Jimmy McGinnis|
|1942||Powder Town||Jeems O'Shea|
|1942||China Girl||Major Bull Weed|
|1943||Forever and a Day||Archibald Spavin (hotel doorman)|
|1944||Roger Touhy, Gangster||Herman 'Owl' Banghart|
|1944||The Princess and the Pirate||Captain Barrett ak The Hook|
|1945||Rough, Tough and Ready||Owen McCare|
|1945||Love, Honor and Goodbye||Terry O'Farrell|
|1947||Calendar Girl||Matthew O'Neil|
|1947||The Michigan Kid||Curley Davis|
|1947||The Foxes of Harrow||Captain Mike Farrell|
|1948||Fort Apache||Sgt. Festus Mulcahy||With John Ford & John Wayne.|
|1949||She Wore a Yellow Ribbon||Top Sgt. Quincannon||With John Ford & John Wayne.|
|1950||Rio Grande||Sgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon||With John Ford & John Wayne.|
|1952||The Quiet Man||Squire 'Red' Will Danaher||With John Ford & John Wayne|
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
|1953||Fair Wind to Java||O'Brien|
|1953||This Is Your Life||Himself||episode: Victor McLaglen|
|1954||Trouble in the Glen||Parlan|
|1955||Many Rivers to Cross||Mr. Cadmus Cherne|
|1955||City of Shadows||Big Tim Channing|
|1955||Bengazi||Robert Emmett Donovan|
|1955||Lady Godiva of Coventry||Grimald|
|1956||Around the World in 80 Days||Helmsman of the SS Henrietta|
|1957||The Abductors||Tom Muldoon|
|1958||Have Gun – Will Travel||Mike O'Hare||Episode: "The O'Hare Story"|
|1958||The Italians They Are Crazy||Sergente O'Riley|
|1958||Sea Fury||Captain Bellew|
|1959||Rawhide||Harry Wittman||Episode: "Incident of the Shambling Man", (final appearance)|
- Obituary Variety, 11 November 1959, page 79.
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- See the Winnipeg Police Museum, Police Commission Books.
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- "Actor 'rescues' man who gave him screen chance". The World's News. No. 2713. New South Wales, Australia. 19 December 1953. p. 28. Retrieved 18 December 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
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- "The 25th Academy Awards | 1953". www.oscars.org. Retrieved 3 September 2023.
- "McLaglen, born to be a 'star'". The Canberra Times. Vol. 38, no. 10, 901. 16 July 1964. p. 19. Retrieved 18 December 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
- "Sea Fury (1958)". BFI. Archived from the original on 9 September 2017. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
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- Victor McLaglen: A Man as Big as the Screen