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MacDonald in an ad in The Moving Picture World (1916)
5 May 1891|
Mulgrave, Nova Scotia, Canada
|Died||30 October 1978
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
MacDonald started as a messenger boy with the Dominion Steel Company in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He later worked up to teller with the Royal Bank in Sydney before the bank transferred him to Vancouver, British Columbia. From there, he moved to California where he acted on the stage before making inroads into Hollywood.
MacDonald initially began as an actor in films in 1914 and starred in almost 120 motion pictures between then and 1932. He had notable roles in such films as Youth's Endearing Charm in 1916 working with Mary Miles Minter and Harry von Meter.
Late in World War I, he returned briefly to Nova Scotia to enlist in the 10th Canadian Siege Battery where he assisted in recruiting for the Canadian Army. With the advent of sound, MacDonald's acting career diminished, and most of his roles between 1927 and 1932 went uncredited. He retired from acting in 1932 to concentrate on script writing. However, by 1937 he had recognized the potential of film production. It is in his role of producer that MacDonald is now probably best remembered. He produced well over 100 films between 1937 and 1959.
He died in 1978.
Sometimes he is mistaken as a brother of actor Francis McDonald. Though they bear a physical resemblance and were born in 1891, they were born three months apart and spelled their surnames differently.
- The Face on the Bar Room Floor (1914 short)
- Dough and Dynamite (1914 short)
- Tillie's Punctured Romance (1914) as Keystone Cop (uncredited)
- Cupid Forecloses (1919)
- The Little Boss (1919)
- A Girl Named Mary (1919)
- Cinderella's Twin (1920)
- The Day of Faith (1923)
- Maytime (1923)
- Thy Name Is Woman (1924)
- Roaring Rails (1924)
- The Sea Hawk (1924)
- The Lady (1925)
- Lightnin' (1925)
- The Charmer (1925)
- The Bar-C Mystery (1926)
- Fighting with Buffalo Bill (1926)
- Whispering Smith Rides (1927)
- Blockade (1928)
- Darkened Rooms (1929)
- Hit the Deck (1930)
- Madam Satan (1930)
- The Drums of Jeopardy (1931)
- The Pagan Lady (1931)
- Branded (1931)
- The Range Feud (1931)
- High Speed (1932)
- The Riding Tornado (1932)
- Daring Danger (1932)
- The Phantom Empire (1935) (story)
- Counsel for Crime (1937)
- Murder in Greenwich Village (1937)
- Glamour for Sale (1940)
- The Man with Nine Lives (1940) (uncredited)
- Before I Hang (1940) (uncredited)
- The Devil Commands (1941)
- Harvard, Here I Come! (1941)
- The Face Behind the Mask (1941)
- Counter-Espionage (1942)
- The Devil's Mask (1946)
- Man in the Dark (1953)
- The Nebraskan (1953)
- Free Lips (1928)
- Kerr, J. Ernest (1959). Imprint of the Maritimes. Boston: Christopher Publishing. pp. 128–9.
- Attestation Papers
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