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  • 6813777.jpg JOEL McCREA

    Date of Birth
    5 November 1905,
    South Pasadena, California, USA

    Date of Death
    20 October 1990,
    Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA (pulmonary complications)

    Birth Name
    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.

    Personal Quotes
    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)

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited once, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Joel Albert McCrea
    (November 5, 1905 – October 20, 1990) was an American actor
    whose career spanned 50 years and appearances in over 90 films.

    Appeared in many well liked westerns
    and a well deserved addition to our Guests of Honor

    Best Wishes
    London- England