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Victor McLaglen
in Sea Devils (1937)
Born Victor Andrew de Bier Everleigh McLaglen
(1886-12-10)10 December 1886
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, UK
Died 7 November 1959(1959-11-07) (aged 72)
Newport Beach, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1920–1958
Spouse(s) Enid Lamont (1919-1942)
Suzanne M. Brueggeman (1943-1948)
Margaret Pumphrey (1948-1959)

Victor Andrew de Bier Everleigh McLaglen (10 December 1886 – 7 November 1959) was an English boxer and World War I veteran who became a successful film actor.[1] Towards the end of his life he was naturalised as a U.S. citizen.

Early life[edit | edit source]

McLaglen was born in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. His father, later a bishop of the Free Protestant Episcopal Church of England,[2] moved the family to South Africa when McLaglen was a child. He had eight brothers and a sister. Four of his brothers also became actors: Arthur (1888–1972), an actor and sculptor, and Clifford (1892–1978), Cyril (1899–1987) and Kenneth (circa 1901-1979).[3] Other siblings included Frederick (b. circa 1882), Sydney (b. circa 1884), Lewis (b. circa 1889), and a sister, Lily (b. circa 1893). Another brother, Leopold McLaglen, who appeared in one film, gained notoriety prior to World War I as a showman and self-proclaimed World Jujutsu Champion,[4] who authored a book on the subject.[5]

Before Hollywood[edit | edit source]

He left home at fourteen to join the British Army with the intention of fighting in the Second Boer War. However, much to his chagrin, he was stationed at Windsor Castle with the Life Guards and was later forced to leave the army when his true age was discovered.

Four years later, he moved to Canada, where he earned a living as a wrestler and heavyweight boxer, with several notable wins in the ring. One of his most famous fights was against Heavyweight Champion Jack Johnson, in a 6 round exhibition bout.[6] 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 World War I served as a Captain (acting) with the 10th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, part of The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires). Later he claimed to have served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers. He served for a time as military Provost Marshal for the city of Baghdad.[7] He also continued boxing, and was named Heavyweight Champion of the British Army in 1918.[6] After the war, he began taking roles in British silent films.

Film career[edit | edit source]

McLaglen and Cary Grant in Gunga Din

McLaglen's career took a surprise turn in the 1920s, 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 Unholy Three in Lon Chaney, Sr.'s original silent version of the macabre crime drama. The highlight of his career was an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in The Informer (1935), based on a novel 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. Arguably his most famous film remains Gunga Din (1939) with Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., an adventure epic loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's poem and partially remade decades later as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). McLaglen was nominated again, this time for Best Supporting Actor for his role opposite John Wayne in The Quiet Man (1952). He was especially popular with director John Ford, who frequently included McLaglen in his films, often as comedy relief. 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 of those series in which McLaglen guest-starred were both directed by his son, Andrew V. McLaglen, who later was a film director frequently directing John Wayne.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Victor McLaglen was the elder brother of the actor Cyril McLaglen.

Victor McLaglen was married three times. His first marriage was to Enid Lamont in 1919. The couple had one daughter, Sheila, and one son, Andrew. Andrew McLaglen was a television and film director. 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.

Victor McLaglen married twice more. His second marriage was to Suzanne M. Brueggeman. That marriage lasted from 1943 until 1948. His third and final marriage was to Margaret Pumphrey, whom he married in 1948.[8] He remained married to Margaret, a Seattle socialite, until his death of a heart attack in 1959. He had by that time become a naturalized U.S. citizen. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Filmography[edit | edit source]

Year Title Role Notes
1920 Call of the Road, TheThe Call of the Road Alf Truscott
1921 Carnival
1921 Corinthian Jack Jack Halstead
1921 Sport of Kings, TheThe Sport of Kings Frank Rosedale
1921 Prey of the Dragon, TheThe Prey of the Dragon Brett 'Dragon' Mercer
1922 Glorious Adventure, TheThe Glorious Adventure Bulfinch
1922 Romance of Old Baghdad, AA Romance of Old Baghdad Miski
1922 Crimson Circle, TheThe Crimson Circle
1922 Sailor Tramp, AA Sailor Tramp Sailor Tramp, TheThe Sailor Tramp
1922 Little Brother of God King Kennidy
1923 Woman to Woman Nubian slave uncredited
1923 M'Lord of the White Road Lord Annerley/John
1923 Heartstrings Frank Wilson
1923 In the Blood Tony Crabtree
1923 Romany, TheThe Romany Chief, TheThe Chief
1924 Passionate Adventure, TheThe Passionate Adventure Herb Harris
1924 Beloved Brute, TheThe Beloved Brute Charles Hinges
1924 Gay Corinthian, TheThe Gay Corinthian Squire Hardcastle
1924 Boatswain's Mate, TheThe Boatswain's Mate Ned Travers
1924 Women and Diamonds Brian Owen
1925 Fighting Heart, TheThe Fighting Heart Soapy Williams
1925 Winds of Chance Poleon Doret
1925 Percy Reedy Jenkins
1925 Hunted Woman, TheThe Hunted Woman Quade
1925 Unholy Three, TheThe Unholy Three Hercules, the strongman
1926 Men of Steel Pete Masarick
1926 Isle of Retribution, TheThe Isle of Retribution Doomsdorf
1926 What Price Glory? Capt. Flagg
1926 Beau Geste Hank
1927 The Loves of Carmen Escamillo
1928 River Pirate, TheThe River Pirate Sailor Fritz
1928 Girl in Every Port, AA Girl in Every Port Spike Madden
1928 Mother Machree Giant of Kilkenny (Terence O'Dowd), TheThe Giant of Kilkenny (Terence O'Dowd)
1928 Hangman's House Citizen Denis Hogan
1929 Hot for Paris John Patrick Duke
1929 Cock-Eyed World, TheThe Cock-Eyed World Top Sergeant Flagg
1929 Strong Boy Strong Boy
1929 Captain Lash Captain Lash
1929 Black Watch, TheThe Black Watch Capt. Donald Gordon King
1930 Devil with Women, AA Devil with Women Jerry Maxton
1930 On the Level Biff Williams
1931 Dishonored Col. Kranau
1931 Wicked Scott Burrows
1931 Annabelle's Affairs John Rawson aka Hefly Jack
1931 Women of All Nations Capt ain Jim Flagg
1931 Stolen Jools, TheThe Stolen Jools Sergeant Flagg
1931 Three Rogues Bull Stanley
1932 Rackety Rax 'Knucks' McGloin
1932 Guilty as Hell Detective Capt. T.R. McKinley
1932 While Paris Sleeps Jacques Costaud
1932 Devil's Lottery Jem Meech
1932 Gay Caballero, TheThe Gay Caballero Don Bob Harkness aka El Coyote
1933 Hot Pepper Jim Flagg
1933 Dick Turpin Dick Turpin
1933 Laughing at Life Dennis P. McHale aka Burke aka Captain Hale
1934 Captain Hates the Sea, TheThe Captain Hates the Sea Schulte
1934 Wharf Angel Turk
1934 No More Women Forty-Fathoms
1934 Lost Patrol, TheThe Lost Patrol Sergeant, TheThe Sergeant
1934 Murder at the Vanities Police Lt. Bill Murdock
1935 Professional Soldier Michael Donovan
1935 Great Hotel Murder, TheThe Great Hotel Murder Andrew W. 'Andy' McCabe
1935 Under Pressure Jumbo Smith
1935 Informer, TheThe Informer Gypo Nolan Academy Award for Best Actor
1936 Magnificent Brute 'Big Steve' Andrews as Victor McLaglen - Academy Award Winner
1936 Under Two Flags J.C. Doyle
1936 Klondike Annie Bull Brackett
1937 This Is My Affair Jock Ramsay
1937 Nancy Steele Is Missing! Dannie O'Neill
1937 Sea Devils CPO William 'Medals' Malone
1937 Wee Willie Winkie Sgt. Donald MacDuff
1938 We're Going to Be Rich Dobbie
1938 Battle of Broadway Big Ben Wheeler
1938 Devil's Party Marty Malone
1939 Big Guy, TheThe Big Guy Warden Bill Whitlock
1939 Rio Dirk
1939 Full Confession McGinnis
1939 Captain Fury Jerry Black aka Blackie
1939 Ex-Champ Tom 'Gunner' Grey
1939 Pacific Liner J.B. 'Crusher' McKay, Chief Engineer
1939 Gunga Din Sgt. 'Mac' MacChesney
1939 Let Freedom Ring Chris Mulligan
1940 Diamond Frontier Terrence Regan
1940 South of Pago Pago Bucko Larson
1941 Broadway Limited Maurice 'Mike' Monohan
1942 Powder Town Jeems O'Shea
1942 Call Out the Marines Sgt. Jimmy McGinnis
1942 China Girl Major Weed
1943 Forever and a Day Archibald Spavin (hotel doorman)
1944 Princess and the Pirate, TheThe Princess and the Pirate Captain Barrett ak The Hook
1944 Roger Touhy, Gangster Herman 'Owl' Banghart
1944 Tampico Fred Adamson
1945 Love, Honor and Goodbye Terry O'Farrell
1945 Rough, Tough and Ready Owen McCare
1946 Whistle Stop Gitlo
1947 Foxes of Harrow, TheThe Foxes of Harrow Captain Mike Farrell
1947 Michigan Kid, TheThe Michigan Kid Curley
1947 Calendar Girl Matthew O'Neil
1948 Fort Apache Sgt. Festus Mulcahy
1949 She Wore a Yellow Ribbon Top Sgt. Quincannon
1950 Rio Grande Sgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon
1952 Quiet Man, TheThe Quiet Man Squire 'Red' Will Danaher Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1953 Fair Wind to Java O'Brien
1954 Prince Valiant Boltar
1954 Trouble in the Glen Parlan
1955 Bengazi Robert Emmett Donovan
1955 City of Shadows Big Tim Channing
1955 Many Rivers to Cross Mr. Cadmus Cherne
1955 Lady Godiva of Coventry Grimald
1956 Around the World in 80 Days Helmsman of the 'Henrietta'
1957 Abductors, TheThe Abductors Tom Muldoon
1958 Gli Italiani sono matti
1958 Sea Fury Captain Bellew

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Obituary Variety, 11 November 1959, page 79.
  2. Victor McLaglen’s father – new revelations
  3. Victor McLaglen, Query. Great War Forum. Invisionzone.com. 19 March 2006.
  4. "The Science of Jiujitsu". Journal of Non-lethal Combatives. December 2002.
  5. Noble, Graham. Early Ju-jutsu: The Challenges. Dragon-Tsunami.org.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Victor McLaglen. Cyber Boxing Zone.
  7. Victor McLaglen myth?. Great War Forum. Invisionzone.com. 26 September 2005.
  8. Time Magazine, Milestones

External links[edit | edit source]

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