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albatros1 ( 2007-10-04 )
Source: Wikipedia The Internet Encyclopedia
Johnny Mack Brown (September 1, 1904 – November 14, 1974) was an All-American college football player and successful film actor. Born and raised in Dothan, Alabama, Brown was a star of the high school football team, earning a football scholarship to the University of Alabama. Playing the halfback position on his university's Crimson Tide football team, Brown helped his team to become the 1926 NCAA Division I-A national football champions. In that year's Rose Bowl Game, he earned Most Valuable Player honors after scoring two of his team's three touchdowns in an upset win over the favored Washington Huskies. His good looks and powerful physique saw him portrayed on Wheaties cereal boxes and in 1927, brought an offer for motion picture screen tests that resulted in a long and successful career in Hollywood. He appeared in minor roles until 1930 when he was cast as the star in a western movie entitled Billy the Kid and directed by King Vidor. An extremely early widescreen film (along with Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail with John Wayne, produced the same year), the movie also features Wallace Beery as Pat Garrett. No widescreen prints of Billy the Kid survive, only a standard-width version filmed simultaneously. The next major widescreen production, The Robe (1953), wasn't released until twenty-three years later. Also in 1930, Brown played Joan Crawford's love interest in Montana Moon. Brown went on to make several top-flight movies under the name "John Mack Brown," including The Secret Six (1931) with Wallace Beery, as well as the legendary Lost Generation celebration of alcohol, The Last Flight (1931), and was being groomed by MGM as a leading man until he experienced the shock of being replaced on a film in 1931, with all his scenes reshot by the studio with Clark Gable in his place. Rechristened "Johnny Mack Brown," he returned to making exclusively westerns and eventually became one of the screen's top B-movie cowboy stars, making 127 western films during his career, including Ride 'Em Cowboy with Abbott and Costello. Brown also starred in four serials for Universal Studios (Rustlers of Red Dog, Wild West Days, Flaming Frontiers and The Oregon Trail) and was a hero to millions of young children at movie theaters and on their television screens. When the western genre experienced a sharp drop in box office popularity, Johnny Mack Brown went into retirement in 1953. He returned more than ten years later to appear in secondary roles in a few western style films. Altogether, Brown appeared in over 160 movies between 1927 and 1966, as well as a smattering of television shows, in a career spanning almost forty years. In recognition of his contribution to the motion picture industry, Brown was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6101 Hollywood Blvd. Johnny Mack Brown died in Woodland Hills, California of heart failure at the age of 70. He was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
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