6813777.jpg JOEL McCREA
INFORMATION FROM IMDb
Date of Birth
5 November 1905,
South Pasadena, California, USA
Date of Death
20 October 1990,
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (pulmonary complications)
Joel Albert McCrea
Height 6' 2½" (1.89 m)
One of the great stars of American Westerns, and a very popular leading man in non-Westerns as well. He was born and raised in the surroundings of Hollywood and as a boy became interested in the movies that were being made all around. He studied acting at Pomona College and got some stage experience at the Pasadena Community Playhouse, where other future stars such as Randolph Scott, Robert Young, and Victor Mature would also get their first experience. He worked as an extra after graduation from the University of Southern California in 1928 and did some stunt work. In a rare case of an extra being chosen from the crowd to play a major role, McCrea was given a part in The Jazz Age. A contract at MGM followed, and then a better contract at RKO. Will Rogers took a liking to the young man (they shared a love of ranching and roping) and did much to elevate McCrea's career. His wholesome good looks and quiet manner were soon in demand, primarily in romantic dramas and comedies, and he became an increasingly popular leading man. He hoped to concentrate on Westerns, but several years passed before he could convince the studio heads to cast him in one. When he proved successful in that genre, more and more Westerns came his way. But he continued to make a mark in other kinds of pictures, and proved himself particularly adept at the light comedy of Preston Sturges, for whom he made several films. By the late Forties, his concentration focused on Westerns, and he made few non-Westerns thereafter. He was immensely popular in them, and most of them still hold up well today. He and Randolph Scott, whose career strongly resembles McCrea's, came out of retirement to make a classic of the genre, Sam Peckinpah's Ride the High Country (1962). Scott stayed retired thereafter; McCrea made a couple of appearances in small films afterwards, but was primarily content to maintain his life as a gentleman rancher. He was married for fifty-seven years to actress Frances Dee, who survived him.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver
Frances Dee (20 October 1933 - 20 October 1990) (his death) (3 children)
Father, with actress Frances Dee, of actor Jody McCrea.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 1969.
A big sight gag in Sullivan's Travels (1941) was the juxtaposition of the big McCrea with his leading lady, Veronica Lake, who apparently was 16 inches shorter. For some shots of the film, however, Lake had to stand on a box so their heads could be seen in the same shot.
He was infamously modest about his own acting abilities, often bordering on a soft-spoken contempt.
Attended high school with future director Jacques Tourneur who would later direct him in Stars in My Crown (1950) (one of McCrea's personal favorites) and a pair of 1955 releases, Wichita (1955) and Stranger on Horseback (1955).
Besides Jody McCrea, he and Frances Dee had two more sons: David and Peter
Katharine Hepburn was a friend of McCrea's and McCrea's wife Frances Dee. Hepburn also felt that McCrea was one of the best actors she had ever worked with and was always disappointed that his career wasn't more successful (she thought he should have been ranking alongside Spencer Tracy or Humphrey Bogart).
Very well-respected as a horseman, he was regarded as one of the two best riders in Western films along with Ben Johnson, who had been a real cowboy.
In 1930, he lived with his parents at 243 S. Rockingham Avenue, Los Angeles.
In 1920, he lived with his parents at 7755 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.
His father, Thomas P. McCrea , was a secretary for the Los Angeles gas and electric company. His mother, Lou Whipple McCrea, was a professional Christian Science practitioner.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 574-575. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
The grandson of a western stagecoach driver who had fought against the Apaches, McCrea raised his own horses, was a passionate outdoors man and large-scale rancher, invested wisely in livestock and real estate, was a staunch Republican and frugal millionaire.
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1719 Vine Street and for Radio at 6241 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Was a staunch conservative Republican.
Was briefly engaged to comedic supporting actress Joyce Compton in the late 1920s but she broke off the engagement.
Was a Boy Scout.
McCrea's first encounter with movie-making came on a Ruth Roland serial which unfortunately was saddled with a leading man who could not ride well McCrea, an outstanding horseman since he was nine, doubled for the actor at $2.50 a day and was given a job wrangling for the rest of the shoot.
Katherine DeMille and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., were classmates of McCrea,.
A very young Joel McCrea was advised by Will Rogers to put the money he made from acting into real estate, a venture that made the novice actor a millionaire.
Joel McCrea soon realized after losing the lead for "The Real Glory" to Gary Cooper that as long Samuel Goldwyn had both Cooper and him under contract, he would always come out second in the studio's choice roles. When he refused to resign with Goldwyn, the producer warned him that he'd "never work in this town again!" The Goldwyn always referred to the actor as "Joel McCreal." McCrea signed with Cecil B. DeMille for "Union Pacific" at Paramount,.
He died on his 57th wedding anniversary.
Among movies that McCrea turned down: "Spitfire" with Katharine Hepburn, "The Impatient Years," "The Postman Always Rings Twice," "Intruder in the Dust," "The Will Rogers Story.".
McCrea met the real Wyatt Earp in Hollywood in 1928 and ended up playing the iconic lawman in 1955's "Wichita." He later played Bat Masterson in "The Gunfight at Dodge City" in 1959.
Bette Davis liked McCrea very much and pressed him to co-star with her in an adaptation of Edith Wharton's "Ethan Frome." McCrea thought it too downbeat to be successful. A disappointed Davis called him "a cowboy psychiatrist" and referred to him as that from then on.
McCrea turned down the lead in "The Impatient Years," which would have reunited him with his "The More the Merrier" co-stars, Jean Arthur and Charles Coburn. He refused to play a serviceman of any type, telling a reporter, "If I'm too old to be called, I was too old for that kind of show.".
McCrea admitted late in life that he made much more money in real estate investments than he ever did in movies.
Joel is the grandfather of actor/producer Wyatt McCrea.
I have no regrets, except perhaps one: I should have tried harder to be a better actor.
People say I'm a one-note actor, but the way I figure it, those other guys are just looking for that one right note.
I liked doing comedies, but as I got older I was better suited to do Westerns. Because I think it becomes unattractive for an older fellow trying to look young, falling in love with attractive girls in those kinds of situations ... Anyway, I always felt so much more comfortable in the Western. The minute I got a horse and a hat and a pair of boots on, I felt easier. I didn't feel like I was an actor anymore. I felt like I was the guy out there doing it. (1978)
When it came out the studio didn't sell it. But the critics grabbed onto it. Neither Randy or I had ever gotten such criticism. We were surprised, though we knew it wasn't a regular shoot-'em-up.
I really enjoyed Ride the High Country (1962).
Both Randy and I were washed-up actors playing washed-up lawmen.
After 87 pictures in 47 years, I knew when to quit.
Cowboys are not beyond swearing, but we used it if a horse stepped on a foot.
I don't believe in anti-heroes.
Duke Wayne played a mean guy but never an anti-hero.
The More the Merrier (1943) $10,000 per week with 10 week guarantee
1976 Mustang Country ...Dan
1970 Sioux Nation
1970 Cry Blood, Apache ...Pitcalin as an Older Man
1966 The Young Rounders
1962 Ride the High Country ...Steve Judd
1960 The Crowning Experience ...Prologue narrator
1959-1960 Wichita Town (TV Series) ...Marshal Mike Dunbar / Mike Dunbar
- Sidekicks (1960) ... Marshal Mike Dunbar
- The Legend of Tom Horn (1960) ... Marshal Mike Dunbar
- Paid in Full (1960) ... Marshal Mike Dunbar
- Second Chance (1960) ... Marshal Mike Dunbar
- The Hanging Judge (1960) ... Marshal Mike Dunbar
in all 26 episodes
1959 The Gunfight at Dodge City ...Bat Masterson
1958 Fort Massacre ...Vinson
1958 Cattle Empire ...John Cord
1957 The Tall Stranger ...Ned Bannon
1957 Gunsight Ridge ...Mike Ryan
1957 Trooper Hook ...Sgt. Clovis Hook
1957 The Oklahoman ...Dr. John M. Brighton
1956 The First Texan ...Sam Houston
1955 Wichita ...Wyatt Earp
1955 Stranger on Horseback ...Judge Richard 'Rick' Thorne
1954 Black Horse Canyon ...Del Rockwell
1954 Border River ...Clete Mattson
1953 Rough Shoot ...Taine
1953 The Lone Hand ...Zachary Hallock
1952 The San Francisco Story ...Rick Nelson
1951 Cattle Drive ...Mathews
1951 Hollywood Story ...Joel McCrea
1950 Frenchie ...Sheriff Tom Banning
1950 Saddle Tramp ...Chuck Conner
1950 Stars in My Crown ...Josiah Doziah Gray
1950 The Outriders ...Will Owen
1949 Colorado Territory ...Wes McQueen
1949 South of St. Louis ...Kip Davis
1948 They Passed This Way ...Ross McEwen
1947 Ramrod ...Dave Nash
1946 The Virginian ...The Virginian
1945 The Unseen ...David Fielding
1944 The Great Moment ...William Thomas Green Morton
1944 Buffalo Bill ...William Frederick 'Buffalo Bill' Cody
1943 The More the Merrier ...Joe Carter
1942 The Palm Beach Story ...Tom Jeffers
1942 The Great Man's Lady ...Ethan Hoyt
1941 Sullivan's Travels ...John L. Sullivan
1941 Reaching for the Sun ...Russ Eliot
1940 Foreign Correspondent ...John Jones aka Huntley Haverstock
1940 Primrose Path ...Ed Wallace
1940 He Married His Wife ...T.H. Randall
1939 Espionage Agent ...Barry Corvall
1939 Melody of Youth ...Peter
1939 Union Pacific ...Jeff Butler
1938 Youth Takes a Fling ...Joe Meadows
1938 Three Blind Mice ...Van Dam Smith
1937 Wells Fargo ...Ramsay MacKay
1937 Dead End ...Dave
1937 Woman Chases Man ...Kenneth Nolan
1937 Internes Can't Take Money ...James Kildare
1936 Banjo on My Knee ...Ernie Holley
1936 Come and Get It ...Richard Glasgow
1936 Manhattan Madness ...George Melville
1936 Two in a Crowd ...Larry Stevens
1936 These Three ...Dr. Joseph Cardin
1935 Splendor ...Brighton Lorrimore
1935 Barbary Coast ...Jim Carmichael
1935 Woman Wanted ...Tony
1935 Our Little Girl ...Dr. Donald Middleton
1935 Private Worlds ...Dr. Alex MacGregor
1934 The Richest Girl in the World ...Anthony 'Tony' Travers
1934 Half a Sinner ...John Adams
1934 Gambling Lady ...Garry Madison
1933 Chance at Heaven ...Blackstone 'Blacky' Gorman
1933 One Man's Journey ...Jimmy Watt
1933 Bed of Roses ...Dan
1933 The Silver Cord ...David Phelps
1933 Scarlet River ...Joel McCrea (uncredited)
1932 Rockabye ...Jacobs Van Riker Pell
1932 The Sport Parade ...Sandy Brown
1932 The Most Dangerous Game ...Robert 'Bob' Rainsford
1932 Bird of Paradise ...Johnny Baker
1932 The Lost Squadron ...Red
1932 Business and Pleasure ...Lawrence Ogle
1931 Girls About Town ...Jim Baker
1931 The Common Law ...John Neville
1931 Born to Love ...Barry Craig
1931 Kept Husbands ...Richard 'Dick' Brunton
1931 Once a Sinner ...Tommy Mason
1930 Lightnin' ...John Marvin
1930 The Silver Horde ...Boyd Emerson
1930 Framed ...Waiter at the Casino Club (uncredited)
1929 Dynamite ...Marco - Her Boy Friend
1929 So This Is College ...Bruce Nolan (uncredited)
1929 The Single Standard ...Blythe - One of the Philandering Men (uncredited)
1929 The Divine Lady ...Extra (uncredited)
1929 The Jazz Age ...Todd Sayles
1928 Freedom of the Press ...Undetermined Secondary Role (uncredited)
1928 Dead Man's Curve ...Undetermined Secondary Role (uncredited)
1928 The Five O'Clock Girl ...Oswald
1927 The Enemy ...Extra (uncredited)
1927 The Fair Co-Ed ...Student (uncredited)