Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Every Disney Hero Has a Voice ~ Fred McMurray

Every Disney Hero Has a Voice
The Absent Minded Professor
Fred McMurray ~ Professor Ned Brainard
August 30th, 1908 – November 5, 1991
       Over the years, Fred McMurray told interviewers he was “a personality that actor.” While Bill Wilder, who directed the affable Fred in such films as “Double Indemnity” with Barbara Stanwyck and “The Apartment” with Shirley McClain, summed up his personality well, when he called him “everybody’s nice fellow.”
“Fred McMurray,” Wilder said, “gives people the feeling that he’s kind two dogs, children, mothers and widows.”
A versatile actor, Fred could play every kind of role ranging from screwball comedy to romance to film noir. Yet, he is probably best remembered for the befuddled characters he made famous in such Disney films as “The absent – minded professor” and “Son of Flubber,” in which he plays Professor Ned Brainard of Medfield College. Seven new Fred say his bewilderment on, actually reflected his innate shyness off camera.
Born August 30, 1908, in Kankakee, Illinois, and raised in beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Fred was assigned of a concert violinist. After high school, he worked as a band saxophonist and vocalist to pay his way through Carroll College in Wisconsin.
In the late 1920s, Fred moved to Los Angeles, where he joined the California: regions with vocal ensemble. He traveled with the group to appear on Broadway in such shows as “Three’ s a Crowd” with Fred Allen, and later was cast as Bob Hope’s understudy in “Roberta.” A Paramount talent scout spotted the blue – I’d Fred and arrange for a screen test, which won him a studio contract. In 1935, he became a movie star, virtually overnight, when he played opposite Claudette Colbert in “The Gilded Lily.”
Walt Disney personally cast Fred in the Studios first live –action comedy, “The Shaggy Dog,” released in 1959, which was one of the biggest and most unexpected film milestones in Disney history. In all, Fred appeared in seven Disney feature films including, “Bon Voyage” with Jane Wyman, “Follow Me, Boys!” With the era Miles and Kurt Russell, and “The Happiest Millionaire” with the Greer Garson, which was the last live –action movie supervised by Walt before his untimely death in 1966. Fred’s last Disney film was “Charlie and the Angel” with Harry Morgan released in 1973.
In all, Fred played leading roles in more than 80 movies during his prestigious career and one a faithful television following, as well when he played the widower father Steve Douglas in a durable series “My Three’s Sons,” which ran from 1960 to 1972.
Fred MacMurray died in Los Angeles in November 1991.
Frederick Martin "Fred" MacMurray (August 30, 1908 – November 5, 1991) was an American actor who appeared in more than 100 movies and a successful television series during a career that spanned nearly a half-century, from 1930 to the 1970s.
MacMurray is well known for his role in the 1944 film noir Double Indemnity directed by Billy Wilder, which he starred in with Barbara Stanwyck. Later in his career, he became better known worldwide as the paternal Steve Douglas, the widowed patriarch on My Three Sons, which ran on ABC from 1960–1965 and then on CBS from 1965–1972.

Early life

MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois, to Frederick MacMurray and Maleta Martin, both natives of Wisconsin. When MacMurray was two years old the family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and several years later settled in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, where his mother had been born in 1880. He earned a full scholarship to attend Carroll College (now Carroll University), in Waukesha, Wisconsin. While there, MacMurray participated in numerous local bands, playing the saxophone. He didn't graduate from the school.


In 1930, MacMurray recorded a tune for the Gus Arnheim Orchestra as a featured vocalist on All I Want Is Just One Girl on the Victor 78label. Before he signed on with Paramount Pictures in 1934, he appeared on Broadway in Three's a Crowd (1930–31) and alongside Sydney Greenstreet and Bob Hope in Roberta (1933–34).
MacMurray worked with directors Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges and actors Barbara Stanwyck, Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich and, in seven films, Claudette Colbert, beginning with The Gilded Lily (1935). He co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in Alice Adams (1935), with Joan Crawford in Above Suspicion (1943), and with Carole Lombard in four films, Hands Across the Table (1935), The Princess Comes Across (1936), Swing High, Swing Low (1937), and True Confession (1937).
Usually cast in light comedies as a decent, thoughtful character (The Trail of the Lonesome Pine 1936) and in melodramas (Above Suspicion 1943) and musicals (Where Do We Go from Here? 1945), MacMurray had become one of Hollywood's highest-paid actors; for 1943, when his salary reached $420,000, he was the highest-paid actor in Hollywood, and the fourth highest-paid American.
Despite being typecast as a "nice guy," MacMurray often said his best roles were when he was cast against type by Wilder. In 1944, he played the role of Walter Neff, an insurance salesman (numerous other actors had turned the role down) who plots with a greedy wife Barbara Stanwyck to murder her husband in Double Indemnity (1944). Sixteen years later, MacMurray played Jeff Sheldrake, a two-timing corporate executive in Wilder's Oscar-winning comedy The Apartment, (1960) with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. In another turn in the "not so nice" category, MacMurray played the cynical, duplicitous Lieutenant Thomas Keefer in 1954's The Caine Mutiny.
In 1958, he guest starred in the premiere episode of NBC's Cimarron City western series, with George Montgomery and John Smith.
MacMurray's career was revitalized in 1959, when he was cast as the father in the popular Disney Studios comedy, The Shaggy Dog. From 1960 to 1972, he starred in My Three Sons, one of the longest-running television series in the United States. Concurrent with My Three Sons,MacMurray stayed busy in films, starring as Professor Ned Brainard in Disney's The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) and in the sequel, Son of Flubber (1963). Using his star clout, MacMurray had a provision in his "Sons" contract that all his scenes be shot first. This freed him to pursue his film work and golf hobby. It's also interesting to note that two character names on "My Three Sons" were obviously nods to his real life children, that of Rob (as in Rob Douglas) and Katherine (Kate); he often referred to his TV son Robbie as 'Rob' and later TV daughter-in-law Katie Douglas as 'Kate.'
MacMurray was one of the wealthiest and, at the same time, most frugal actors in the business. Studio co-workers noticed that even as a successful actor, MacMurray usually brought a brown bag lunch to work, often with a hard-boiled egg. According to his co-star on My Three Sons, William Demarest, MacMurray continued to bring dyed Easter eggs for lunch several months after Easter so as not to waste them. Friends and business associates jokingly referred to him as "the thrifty multimillionaire." Over the years, MacMurray had proven to be a very skillful investor, particularly in California real estate. After the cancellation of My Three Sons in 1972, MacMurray made only a few more film appearances before retiring in 1978.
In the 1970s, MacMurray did commercials for the Greyhound Lines bus company. Towards the end of the decade, he also did a series of commercials for the Korean chisenbop math calculation program.

Personal life

MacMurray was married twice. He married Lillian Lamont, his first wife, on June 20, 1936, and the couple adopted two children, Susan (b. 1940) and Robert (b. 1946). After Lamont died on June 22, 1953, he married actress June Haver the following year; he and Haver adopted two more children, twins Katherine and Laurie (b. 1966).
In 1941 MacMurray purchased land in the Russian River Valley in Northern California and established MacMurray Ranch. He spent time there when not making films, engaging in, among other things, the raising of prize-winning Aberdeen Angus cattle. MacMurray wanted the property's agricultural heritage preserved, and it was thus sold in 1996 to Gallo, which planted vineyards on it for wines that bear the MacMurray Ranch label. Kate MacMurray, daughter of Haver and MacMurray, now lives on the property (in a cabin built by her father), and is "actively engaged in Sonoma's thriving wine community, carrying on her family's legacy and the heritage of MacMurray Ranch."
He was a staunch supporter of the Republican Party. He joined Bob Hope and James Stewart to campaign for Richard Nixon in 1968.


MacMurray suffered from throat cancer in the late 1970s and it reappeared in 1987; he also suffered a severe stroke at Christmas 1988 which left his right side paralyzed and his speech affected, although with therapy he was able to make a 90% recovery.
After suffering from leukemia for more than a decade, MacMurray died from pneumonia in November 1991, aged 83 in Santa Monica. He was entombed in Holy Cross Cemetery. Actor John Candy was entombed in the same mausoleum, two crypts above Fred MacMurray. In 2005, his second wife June Haver, aged 79, was entombed with him.

Awards and influence

In 1939, artist C.C. Beck used MacMurray as the initial model for the superhero character who became Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel.
MacMurray was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for The Absent-Minded Professor (1961).
MacMurray was the first person honored as a Disney Legend, in 1987.



·        Girls Gone Wild (1929)(*extra)
·        Why Leave Home? (1929)
·        Tiger Rose (1929)
·        Grand Old Girl (1935)
·        The Gilded Lily (1935)
·        Car 99 (1935)
·        Men Without Names (1935)
·        Alice Adams (1935)
·        Hands Across the Table (1935)
·        The Bride Comes Home (1935)
·        The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936)
·        Thirteen Hours by Air (1936)
·        The Princess Comes Across (1936)
·        The Texas Rangers (1936)
·        Champagne Waltz (1937)
·        Maid of Salem (1937)
·        Swing High, Swing Low (1937)
·        Exclusive (1937)
·        True Confession (1937)
·        Cocoanut Grove (1938)
·        Men with Wings (1938)
·        Sing You Sinners (1938)
·        Cafe Society (1939)
·        Invitation to Happiness (1939)
·        Honeymoon in Bali (1939)
·        Remember the Night (1940)
·        Little Old New York (1940)
·        Too Many Husbands (1940)
·        Rangers of Fortune (1940)
·        Virginia (1941)
·        One Night in Lisbon (1941)
·        Dive Bomber (1941)
·        New York Town (1941)
·        The Lady Is Willing (1942)
·        Take a Letter, Darling (1942)
·        The Forest Rangers (1942)
·        Star Spangled Rhythm (1942)
·        Flight for Freedom (1943)
·        No Time for Love (1943)
·        Above Suspicion (1943)
·        Standing Room Only (1944)
·        And the Angels Sing (1944)
·        Double Indemnity (1944)
·        Practically Yours (1944)
·        Where We Go from Here? (1945) – Bill Morgan
·        Captain Eddie (1945)
·        Murder, He Says (1945)
·        Pardon My Past (1945)
·        Smoky (1946)
·        Suddenly, It's Spring (1947)
·        The Egg and I (1947)
·        Singapore (1947)
·        On Our Merry Way (1948)
·        The Miracle of the Bells (1948)
·        An Innocent Affair (1948)
·        Family Honeymoon (1949)
·        Father was a Fullback (1949)
·        Borderline (1950)
·        Never a Dull Moment (1950)
·        A Millionaire for Christy (1951)
·        Callaway Went Thataway (1951)
·        Fair Wind to Java (1953)
·        The Moonlighter (1953)
·        The Caine Mutiny (1954)
·        Pushover (1954)
·        Woman's World (1954)
·        The Far Horizons (1955)
·        The Rains of Ranchipur (1955)
·        At Gunpoint (1955)
·        There's Always Tomorrow (1956)
·        Gun for a Coward (1957)
·        Quantez (1957)
·        Day of the Bad Man (1958)
·        Good Day for a Hanging (1959)
·        The Shaggy Dog (1959)
·        Face of a Fugitive (1959)
·        The Oregon Trail (1959)
·        The Apartment (1960)
·        The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)
·        Bon Voyage! (1962)
·        Son of Flubber (1963)
·        Kisses for My President (1964)
·        Follow Me, Boys! (1966)
·        The Happiest Millionaire (1967)
·        Charley and the Angel (1973)
·        The Swarm (1978)

Short subjects

·        Screen Snapshots: Art and Artists (1940)
·        Popular Science (1941)
·        Hedda Hopper's Hollywood No. 1 (1941)
·        Show Business at War (1943)
·        The Last Will and Testament of Tom Smith (1943) (narrator)
·        Screen Snapshots: Motion Picture Mothers, Inc. (1949)


·        My Three Sons as Steven "Steve" Douglas in 380 episodes(1960-1972)

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