Fred Macmurray


Actor
Fred Macmurray

About

Also Known As
Frederick Martin Macmurray
Birth Place
Kankakee, Illinois, USA
Born
August 30, 1908
Died
November 05, 1991
Cause of Death
Pneumonia After A Battle Against Cancer

Biography

For over four decades, actor Fred MacMurray embodied the Everyman in a string of popular comedies and musicals, including "Remember the Night" (1940) and "The Egg and I" (1947) as well as a series of well-loved Disney live-action films like "The Absent-Minded Professor" (1961) and the long-running family series "My Three Sons" (ABC/CBS, 1960-1972). A handsome, affable presence, he made a...

Photos & Videos

The Apartment - Lobby Card Set
The Caine Mutiny - Movie Posters
Remember the Night - Lobby Cards

Family & Companions

Lillian Lamont
Wife
Actor, dancer, model. Married June 19, 1936 until her death in 1953; met while she was a dancer in the Broadway production of "Roberta" in 1933.
June Haver
Wife
Actor, dancer. Married June 28, 1954 until his death; first met on the set of "Where Do We Go From Here?" (1944); came out of a Catholic convent where she had gone to live after the death of her fiance to marry MacMurray a year after his first wife's death.

Notes

MacMurray's face was allegedly used as the model for comic-strip hero Captain Marvel.

"Whether I play a heavy or a comedian, I alway start out Smiley MacMurray, a decent Rotarian type. If I play a heavy, there comes a point in the film when the audience realizes I'm really a heel." --Fred MacMurray (quoted in NEW YORK TIMES obituary, November 6, 1991)

Biography

For over four decades, actor Fred MacMurray embodied the Everyman in a string of popular comedies and musicals, including "Remember the Night" (1940) and "The Egg and I" (1947) as well as a series of well-loved Disney live-action films like "The Absent-Minded Professor" (1961) and the long-running family series "My Three Sons" (ABC/CBS, 1960-1972). A handsome, affable presence, he made an ideal onscreen romantic partner to some of Hollywood's biggest female stars, including Claudette Colbert and Carole Lombard. So believable was MacMurray as upstanding young men that it seemed unlikely that he could play anything else, a notion that was dispelled by his chilly turn as a doomed murderer in Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity" (1944). He proved equally successful in portraying the dark flipside to the Everyman, seduced by the lure of power, prestige and sex in "The Caine Mutiny" (1953) and Wilder's "The Apartment" (1960), though by the early 1960s, his status as America's favorite father figure was essentially complete. And if his versatility was often overshadowed by the vast number of audience-friendly pictures to his name, Fred MacMurray remained one of the screen's most likable personalities for decades, even long after his death in 1991.

Born Frederick Martin MacMurray in Kankakee, IL on Aug. 30, 1908, he was raised primarily in Beaver Dam, WI by his parents, Frederick and Maleta MacMurray. Equally talented as an athlete and musician, he won a full scholarship to Carroll College, where he supported himself by playing saxophone in various bands. MacMurray eventually made his way to the West Coast where, as part of the California Collegians, toured the vaudeville circuit before they headed to Broadway as part of a revue called Three's a Crowd which featured such up-and-coming talent as actor Clifton Webb and acerbic comic Fred Allen. That same year, he provided the vocals for the Gus Arnheim Orchestra's recording of "All I Want is Just One Girl." In 1933, the Collegians were cast in the hit Jerome Kern musical "Roberta," which made a star of its lead, a then-unknown Bob Hope.

The following year, MacMurray signed a seven-year contract with Paramount, which cast him as affable young men in a string of comedies, many for director Mitchell Leisen, as well as musicals and light dramas. There were occasional exceptions - he was Katharine Hepburn's upper-class beau in George Stevens' "Alice Adams" (1935) and Henry Fonda's rival for the hand of Sylvia Sidney in "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" (1936), Paramount's first Technicolor feature shot on outdoor locations. MacMurray was also a solid male lead for some of Hollywood's most popular female stars of the 1930s and '40s, including Carole Lombard, with whom he co-starred in several screwball comedies including "Hands Across the Table" (1935) and "The Princess Comes Across" (1936), as well as Claudette Colbert - his leading lady in seven films between 1933 and 1949, including the costume drama "Maid of Salem" (1937) with MacMurray as a swashbuckling adventurer. The actor was also twice paired with Barbara Stanwyck in two comedies, the Preston Sturges-penned "Remember the Night" (1940) and the Oscar winning "Take a Letter, Darling" (1942) before their later, more dramatic collaborations.

By 1943, MacMurray was among Hollywood's busiest and highest paid actors, commanding a salary of $420,000 per picture. He had achieved that status largely through lightweight roles that he regarded as larks, requiring little to no acting ability. Those factors may have influenced his initial reluctance to accept director Billy Wilder's request to play the lead in "Double Indemnity" (1944), a coal-black noir based on the novel by James M. Cain about a pair of amoral lovers who plan a killing for insurance money. Nearly all of the industry's leading men had turned down the role of Walter Neff, a gullible insurance salesman seduced into a murder pact by Barbara Stanwyck's sultry Phyllis Dietrichson; MacMurray felt that not only would the role be rejected by his fans, but that it would require him to actually invest himself in a character. He eventually acquiesced due to Wilder's incessant campaigning, and to his surprise, found himself on the receiving end of critical praise for his dramatic work. "Double Indemnity" proved to be a turning point in MacMurray's career, which soon balanced his steady diet of comedies and musicals with darker, more dramatic fare.

Blessed with a strong jaw and ramrod straight posture that inspired artist C.C. Beck to model the comic book superhero Captain Marvel after him, MacMurray made an ideal hero in rugged adventure-dramas like "Singapore" (1947) opposite Ava Gardner. But he was best used when playing against type: he was the self-serving, duplicitous naval officer behind the uprising that ruined Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart) in "The Caine Mutiny" (1953) and an honest cop whose understandable lust for Kim Novak drove him to murder in "Pushover" (1954). Comedies, however, remained his mainstay, even after his career-changing turn in "Double Indemnity." He left Paramount in 1945 for Fox, where he starred in a string of breezy farces, including the fantasy musical "Where Do We Go From Here?" (1945), which featured not only a score by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin, but actress June Haver, who became MacMurray's wife in 1954. His tenure at Fox was short-lived, and after moving to Universal in 1947, scored one of the biggest hits of his career with "The Egg and I" (1947), based on the best-selling novel about a young couple (MacMurray and Claudette Colbert) whose chicken farm was ground zero for a host of eccentric types, including Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride's rough-hewn Ma and Pa Kettle, who became the focus of a long-running series of wildly popular broad comedies between 1949 and 1957.

The uptick provided by "Egg" led to more comedies for MacMurray, but by the 1950s, the material was growing thinner: few people were queuing up for "Family Honeymoon" (1949) or "Father Was a Fullback" (1949). The TV parody "Callaway Went Thataway" (1951), with MacMurray as a TV adman forced to contend with an ornery ex-Western star (Howard Keel) on the comeback trail, was a high point, but after "Caine," the middle-aged MacMurray was hired largely to lend old-fashioned star power to a string of lugubrious dramas, from "The Far Horizons" (1955), a historically inaccurate version of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and Douglas Sirk's heavy-handed "There's Always Tomorrow" (1956), which reunited him with another '40s star on the wane, Barbara Stanwyck. By the end of the decade, he had become a staple of low-budget Westerns like "Good Day for a Hanging" (1959), which pitted his reluctant sheriff against accused killer Robert Vaughn.

However, MacMurray's career caught its second wind in 1959 when Walt Disney Pictures signed him to the lead in "The Shaggy Dog" (1959), a comedy-fantasy about a teenaged inventor transformed into a sheepdog by a magic ring. MacMurray played the boy's father in the film, which became the highest-grossing release of the year. The following year, he landed one of his best "against type" roles as a straight-arrow office executive who used Jack Lemmon's flat for extramarital affairs in Billy Wilder's Oscar-winning "The Apartment" (1960). MacMurray completed his trifecta of career-reviving choices by taking the lead role in "My Three Sons," a genial family comedy about a widower who balanced his engineering career with raising his three boys.

"Sons" proved to be a sizable hit for both networks, landing firmly in the Top 20 Nielsen-rated programs for the majority of its 12-year run. Despite being top-billed on the program, MacMurray's contract allowed him to complete all of his scenes for each season in two marathon blocks of month-long shoots, which allowed him to devote the remainder of the year to other films. Such an arrangement forced the producers to film entire seasons out of sequence, often to the consternation or confusion of MacMurray's castmates, but in doing so, he was able to maintain his presence in Disney features, which resumed in 1961 with "The Absent-Minded Professor," which netted him a Golden Globe nomination, and continued for the next half-decade. However, hits like "Son of Flubber" (1963), the sequel to "Absent Minded Professor," soon yielded to expensive flops like "The Happiest Millionaire" (1967), and by 1968, MacMurray had given up his screen career to focus on "Sons."

"Sons" was felled by declining ratings in 1972, to MacMurray's great disappointment. He returned briefly to the Disney fold for "Charley and the Angel" (1973) before settling into semi-retirement. One of the wealthiest actors in Hollywood, thanks in part to his notorious frugality, MacMurray spent much of the 1970s pursuing his hobby of golf and maintaining his ranch in Northern California, where he raised prize-winning cattle. He appeared infrequently in commercials for Greyhound, but eventually cut back his appearances to recover from throat cancer. In 1978, he gave his final screen performance in Irwin Allen's big-budget disaster epic "The Swarm," which gained notoriety as one of the worst films of the decade. MacMurray's throat cancer returned in 1987, the same year he was named the first Disney Legend in a handprint and signature ceremony that became a yearly event for the studio. The cancer would eventually contribute to his death from pneumonia on Nov. 5, 1991, leaving Haver a widow.

By Paul Gaita

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Swarm (1978)
The Chadwick Family (1974)
Ned Chadwick
Charley and the Angel (1973)
The Happiest Millionaire (1967)
Anthony J. Drexel Biddle
Follow Me, Boys! (1966)
Lemuel Siddons
Kisses for My President (1964)
Thad McCloud
Son of Flubber (1963)
Prof. Ned Brainard
Bon Voyage! (1962)
Harry Willard
The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)
Prof. Ned Brainard
The Apartment (1960)
J. D. "Jeff" Sheldrake
The Oregon Trail (1959)
Neal Harris
Good Day for a Hanging (1959)
Ben Cutler
The Shaggy Dog (1959)
Wilson Daniels
Face of a Fugitive (1959)
Jim Larson, also known as Ray Kincaid
Day of the Bad Man (1958)
Judge Jim Scott
Quantez (1957)
Gentry [also known as] John Coventry
Gun for a Coward (1957)
Will Keough
There's Always Tomorrow (1956)
Clifford Groves
The Far Horizons (1955)
Capt. Meriwether Lewis
At Gunpoint (1955)
Jack Wright
The Rains of Ranchipur (1955)
Tom Ransome
The Caine Mutiny (1954)
Lt. Tom Keefer
Pushover (1954)
Paul Sheridan
Woman's World (1954)
Sidney Burns
Fair Wind to Java (1953)
Captain Boll
The Moonlighter (1953)
Wes Anderson
A Millionaire for Christy (1951)
Peter Ulysses Lockwood
Callaway Went Thataway (1951)
Mike Frye
Never a Dull Moment (1950)
Chris [Heyward]
Borderline (1950)
Johnny Macklin
Family Honeymoon (1949)
Grant Jordan
Father Was a Fullback (1949)
George Cooper
On Our Merry Way (1948)
Al
The Miracle of the Bells (1948)
Bill Dunnigan
An Innocent Affair (1948)
Vincent Doane
Suddenly, It's Spring (1947)
Peter Morely
The Egg and I (1947)
Bob
Singapore (1947)
Matt Gordon
Smoky (1946)
Clint Barkley
Captain Eddie (1945)
Capt. Edward Rickenbacker
Pardon My Past (1945)
Eddie York/Francis Pemberton
Murder, He Says (1945)
Pete Marshall
Where Do We Go from Here? (1945)
Bill Morgan
Standing Room Only (1944)
Lee Stevens
And the Angels Sing (1944)
Happy Marshall
Practically Yours (1944)
Lt. S.G. Daniel Bellamy
Double Indemnity (1944)
Walter Neff
Flight for Freedom (1943)
Randy Britton
No Time for Love (1943)
Jim Ryan
Above Suspicion (1943)
Richard Myles [also known as Edward Smith]
Star Spangled Rhythm (1943)
Himself, men playing cards skit
Take a Letter, Darling (1942)
Tom Verney
The Lady Is Willing (1942)
Dr. Corey T. McBain
The Forest Rangers (1942)
Don Stuart
Dive Bomber (1941)
[Lt. Commander] Joe Blake
Virginia (1941)
Stonewall [Jackson] Elliott
New York Town (1941)
Victor Ballard
One Night in Lisbon (1941)
Dwight Houston
Little Old New York (1940)
Charles Brownne
Too Many Husbands (1940)
Bill Cardew
Remember the Night (1940)
John Sargent
Rangers of Fortune (1940)
Gil Farra
Invitation to Happiness (1939)
Albert "King" Cole
Cafe Society (1939)
Crick O'Bannon
Honeymoon in Bali (1939)
Bill Burnett
Sing You Sinners (1938)
David Beebe
Cocoanut Grove (1938)
Johnny Prentice
Men with Wings (1938)
Patrick Falconer
Champagne Waltz (1937)
Buzzy Bellew
True Confession (1937)
Kenneth Bartlett
Swing High, Swing Low (1937)
Skid Johnson
Maid of Salem (1937)
Roger Coverman, of Virginia
Exclusive (1937)
Ralph Houston
Princess Comes Across (1936)
[Joe] King Mantell
The Bride Comes Home (1936)
Cyrus Anderson
13 Hours by Air (1936)
Jack Gordon
The Texas Rangers (1936)
Jim Hawkins
The Trail of the Lonesome Pine (1936)
Jack Hale
Hands Across the Table (1935)
Theodore Drew III
Alice Adams (1935)
Arthur Russell
The Gilded Lily (1935)
Peter Dawes
Car 99 (1935)
Ross Martin
Men Without Names (1935)
Richard Hood, [also known as] Dick Grant
Grand Old Girl (1935)
Sandy

Cast (Special)

The American Film Institute Salute to Barbara Stanwyck (1987)
Performer
All Star Party for Clint Eastwood (1986)
The American Film Institute Salute to Billy Wilder (1986)
Performer
George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984)
Himself
The American Film Institute Salute to Frank Capra (1982)
Performer
Bob Hope Special: Happy Birthday, Bob! (1978)
Thanksgiving Reunion with the Partridge Family and My Three Sons (1977)
Host
Ted Knight Musical Comedy Variety Special Special (1976)
The American Film Institute Salute to John Ford (1973)
Performer
The Apartment House (1964)
Himself
American Cowboy (1960)
Host

Misc. Crew (Special)

George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey (1984)
Other

Misc. Crew (Short)

Fred MacMurray (1962)
Archival Footage

Life Events

1926

Moved to Chicago where he worked as a shoe salesman; continued music career performing with various bands (including "The Royal Purples) as saxophonist and vocalist

1928

Moved to Los Angeles where he worked in a car painting shop and as a Hollywood extra

1929

Film debut as extra in "Girls Gone Wild"; also bit as rancher in "Tiger Rose"

1929

Performed in vaudeville

1929

Made record (as singer) with George Olsen's Orchestra; worked as orchestra musician for silent films; joined band The California Collegians as singer-saxophonist-comedian

1934

Film acting debut in "Friends of Mr. Sweeney"

1934

Signed contract with Paramount

1935

Achieved stardom with first leading role in "The Gilded Lily"; also marked his first of seven co-starring appearances with Claudette Colbert

1944

Attracted considerable critical attention with his change-of-pace role in Billy Wilder's film noir, "Double Indemnity"

1945

Affiliation with Paramount comes to an end; made one more film there in 1947 and one in 1955, but otherwise largely free-lanced; last film under long-term contract, "Murder, He Says"

1948

Last co-starring appearance with Claudette Colbert, "Family Honeymoon"

1952

Starred on radio series, "Bright Star"

1955

TV debut on "Bachelor's Bride" episode of "G.E. Theatre"

1959

First film for Walt Disney Productions, "The Shaggy Dog"

1967

Last feature for five years, "The Happiest Millionaire"

1972

Returned to features for the last of his seven films with Disney, "Charley and the Angel"

1974

TV-movie debut, "The Chadwick Family" (pilot for unsold series)

1975

Starred in TV-movie, "The Bermuda Triangle"

1978

Last acting role in a feature, "The Swarm"

1985

Appeared as himself in the feature documentary, "George Stevens: A Filmmaker's Journey"

Photo Collections

The Apartment - Lobby Card Set
The Apartment - Lobby Card Set
The Caine Mutiny - Movie Posters
Here is a group of American movie posters from Columbia Pictures' The Caine Mutiny (1954), starring Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, and Fred MacMurray.
Remember the Night - Lobby Cards
Here are several lobby cards from Remember the Night (1940). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Souls at Sea - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
Souls at Sea - Behind-the-Scenes Photos
There's Always Tomorrow - Movie Posters
There's Always Tomorrow - Movie Posters
Remember the Night - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Paramount's Remember the Night (1940), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Remember the Night - Scene Stills
Here are a few Scene Stills from Paramount's Remember the Night (1940), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray.
Remember the Night - Behind-the-Scenes Stills
Here are a few photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Paramount's Remember the Night (1940), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, and directed by Mitchell Leisen.
Remember the Night - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-release movie posters from Paramount's Remember the Night (1940), starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, written by Preston Sturges, and directed by Mitchell Leisen.
Too Many Husbands - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Columbia's Too Many Husbands (1940), starring Jean Arthur, Fred MacMurray, and Melvyn Douglas. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
Double Indemnity - Lobby Card
Here is a Lobby Card from Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity (1944). Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Never a Dull Moment - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from RKO's Never a Dull Moment (1950), starring Irene Dunne and Fred MacMurray.
Alice Adams - Title Lobby Card
Here is the Title Lobby Card from Alice Adams (1935), starring Katharine Hepburn. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Hands Across the Table - Movie Poster
Here is an original movie poster from Paramount's Hands Across the Table (1935), starring Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray.
The Gilded Lily - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Paramount Pictures' The Gilded Lily (1935), starring Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Ray Milland. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Gilded Lily - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Paramount Pictures' The Gilded Lily (1935), starring Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Ray Milland. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, taken for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Gilded Lily - Scene Stills
The Gilded Lily - Scene Stills
The Bride Comes Home - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of Lobby Cards from Paramount's The Bride Comes Home (1935), starring Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Robert Young. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
The Bride Comes Home - Jumbo Lobby Cards
Here are a few Jumbo Lobby Cards from Paramount's The Bride Comes Home (1935), starring Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Robert Young. Jumbo Lobby Cards were 14" x 17" borderless posters; they were much less common than standard lobby cards.
The Bride Comes Home - Herald
Here is the herald for Paramount Pictures' The Bride Comes Home (1935), starring Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Robert Young. Heralds were advertising handouts that studios provided to theater owners for distribution around their town.
The Bride Comes Home - Publicity Stills
Here are several Publicity Stills from Paramount Pictures' The Bride Comes Home (1935), starring Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Robert Young. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, taken for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
The Bride Comes Home - Scene Stills
The Bride Comes Home - Scene Stills
The Gilded Lily - Herald
Here is the herald for Paramount Pictures' The Gilded Lily (1935). Heralds were advertising handouts that studios provided to theater owners for distribution around their town. This particular herald is cleverly designed to look like a typical fan magazine of the day.
The Gilded Lily - Movie Posters
Here are a few original release movie posters from Paramount Pictures' The Gilded Lily (1935), starring Claudette Colbert, Fred MacMurray, and Ray Milland.
Family Honeymoon - Movie Poster
Here is an original release movie poster from Universal Pictures' Family Honeymoon (1948), starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray.
Family Honeymoon - Publicity Stills
Here are a few Publicity Stills from Universal Pictures' Family Honeymoon (1948), starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, taken for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Family Honeymoon - Scene Stills
Family Honeymoon - Scene Stills
The Bride Comes Home - Movie Poster
The Bride Comes Home - Movie Poster
Family Honeymoon - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from Universal Pictures' Family Honeymoon (1948), starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Murder, He Says - Lobby Cards
Here are a few lobby cards from Paramount's Murder, He Says (1945), starring Fred MacMurray and Helen Walker. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.
Murder, He Says - Publicity Stills
Here are a few stills taken to help publicize Paramount Pictures' Murder, He Says (1945), starring Fred MacMurray, Helen Walker, and Marjorie Main. Publicity stills were specially-posed photos, usually taken off the set, for purposes of publicity or reference for promotional artwork.
Murder, He Says - Scene Stills
Here are a few scene stills from Paramount Pictures' Murder, He Says (1945), starring Fred MacMurray, Helen Walker, and Marjorie Main.
Murder, He Says - Movie Posters
Here are a few original-relese movie posters from Paramount's Murder, he Says (1945), starring Fred MacMurray and Marjorie Main.
The Shaggy Dog - Pressbook
Here is the original campaign book (pressbook) for Disney's The Shaggy Dog (1959). Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.
Son of Flubber - Pressbook
Here is the original campaign book (pressbook) for Disney's Son of Flubber (1963), starring Fred MacMurray. Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.
The Absent-Minded Professor - Pressbook
Here is the original campaign book (pressbook) for Disney's The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), starring Fred MacMurray. Pressbooks were sent to exhibitors and theater owners to aid them in publicizing the film's run in their theater.
Son of Flubber - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for Disney's Son of Flubber (1963), starring Fred MacMurray. One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.
The Absent-Minded Professor - Movie Poster
Here is the original release American 3-Sheet movie poster for the Walt Disney film, The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), starring Fred MacMurray.

Videos

Movie Clip

Callaway Went Thataway (1951) - What Would You Say To A Martini? Now in Hollywood, reluctantly convinced to pretend he’s the missing old-time singing cowboy who’s become a TV star, Howard Keel as Shep, impersonating “Smoky Callaway,” escorted by his de facto agents (Fred MacMurray, Dorothy McGuire) blunders with MGM celebrities (Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable) at Mocambo, then with the sponsor and wife (Fay Roope, Natalie Schaefer) in Callaway Went Thataway, 1951.
Callaway Went Thataway (1951) - Open, All In A Day's Work Opening as it becomes apparent that Howard Keel is on TV, the dapper singing cowboy (the girl he rescues is not credited), known as “Smoky Callaway,” with more gags about sponsorship coming, in the Norman Panama/Melvin Frank MGM comedy, generally seen as a spoof on Hopalong Cassidy, Callaway Went Thataway, 1951, starring Fred MacMurray and Dorothy McGuire.
Callaway Went Thataway (1951) - There Is No Smoky Callaway We’ve just met Fred MacMurray as TV ad-man Mike Frye, who introduces Dorothy McGuire as his partner, and through exposition we find out that the old movie singing cowboy they’ve turned into a TV star is missing, Jesse White as his old agent, in Callaway Went Thataway, 1951.
Callaway Went Thataway (1951) - He Died With His Regiment Unable to find washed-up singing cowboy Callaway, who they’ve made a TV star using his old movie serials, Hollywood advertising partners Mike and Deb (Fred MacMurray, Dorothy McGuire) track down the real cowboy (Howard Keel, who also plays Callaway), who wrote to complain because he’s a dead-ringer for the guy, in MGM’s Callaway Went Thataway, 1951.
Son Of Flubber (1963) - Desire√® De La Whatever Inventor-professor Ned (Fred MacMurray) and wife Betsy (Nancy Olson) are already tangling as she announces that her old flame (Elliott Reid) is coming to dinner, for unspecified reasons, and surprised when he brings Desireè (Joanna Moore), too, in Walt Disney's Son Of Flubber, 1963.
Son Of Flubber (1963) - Weather Gun Professor Brainard (Fred MacMurray) conducts his first test of his new invention the "Weather Gun," getting his dog in trouble, Nancy Olson the Mrs., in Disney's Son Of Flubber, 1963.
Son Of Flubber (1963) - Flubberoleum Upon watching a sales film for a prospective Flubber-based floor product, Professor Brainard (Fred MacMurray) blows it with financier Hurley (Ken Murray) in Disney's Son of Flubber, 1963.
Son Of Flubber (1963) - We'll Hit The Beach On Capitol Hill! Joining the open in the sequel to the Disney hit The Absent-Minded Professor, 1961, Brainard (Fred MacMurray) and Biff (Tommy Kirk) fly to the Pentagon in their Flubber-powered car, for a meeting with the shameless secretary of defense (Edward Andrews), in Son Of Flubber, 1963.
No Time for Love (1943) - I Didn't Bring My Butterflies Photographer Katharine Grant (Claudette Colbert) almost gets tunnel-builder Jim "Superman" Ryan (Fred MacMurray, his first scene) killed in her pursuit of a shot, early in Mitchell Leisen's No Time for Love, 1943.
Remember The Night (1940) - I Won't Be Forced! Shoplifter Lee (Barbara Stanwyck) has been delivered to the apartment of Sargent (Fred MacMurray), the do-gooder prosecutor who posted her Christmas-time bail, in Remember the Night, 1940, directed by Mitchell Leisen.
Caine Mutiny, The (1954) - There Ain't No More Strawberries Executive officer Maryk (Van Johnson) narrating from his diary, recording concerns about Captain Queeg (Humphrey Bogart), who launches his famous inquiry about fruit, alarming Keefer (Fred MacMurray) and others, James Edwards as Whittaker, in The Caine Mutiny, 1954.
Sing You Sinners (1938) - Don't Let That Moon Get Away Bing Crosby is nearly ne’er-do-well brother Joe, quite innocently escorting his older brother’s fianceè (Ellen Drew) at a night club where the band leader (Harry Barris) coaxes him into a song, an original by John Burke and James V. Monaco, in Paramount’s Sing You Sinners, 1938.

Trailer

Remember the Night -- (Original Trailer) Assistant D.A. Fred MacMurray takes shoplifter Barbara Stanwyck home for Christmas in Remember the Night (1940).
Good Day For A Hanging - (Original Trailer) A reformed bank robber has to choose between his former gang and doing the right thing in A Good Day For A Hanging (1959) starring Fred MacMurray and Robert Vaughn.
Far Horizons, The - (Original Trailer) Fred MacMurray and Charlton Heston play Lewis & Clark, setting off for The Far Horizons (1955) for President Jefferson.
Dive Bomber (1941) -- (Original Trailer) Errol Flynn as a reckless but honorable surgeon turned test pilot, Fred MacMurray the flight commander who becomes his friend, in Warner Bros. noisy, uneven pre-Pearl Harbor color action hit Dive Bomber, 1941, from a story by aviator Frank "Spig" Wead.
Never a Dull Moment - (Original Trailer) A female music critic (Irene Dunne) marries a rancher (Fred MacMurray) but her life out West has Never a Dull Moment (1950).
Above Suspicion -- (Original Trailer) Joan Crawford and Fred MacMurray are newlyweds who spend their honeymoon looking for a Nazi superweapon in Germany in Above Suspicion (1943).
Callaway Went Thataway - (Original Trailer) A real cowboy (Howard Keel) signs on to impersonate a faded western star for public appearances.
Pushover - (Original Trailer) A police detective (Fred MacMurray) falls for the bank robber's girlfriend he is supposed to be tailing in Pushover (1954) introducing Kim Novak.
Double Indemnity - (Original Trailer) Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray are the murderous schemers in Billy Wilder's classic film noir Double Indemnity (1944).
Apartment, The - (Original Trailer) An aspiring executive lets his bosses use his apartment for extra-maritial affairs in The Apartment, directed by Billy Wilder.

Promo

Family

Frederick MacMurray
Father
Concert violinist. Was performing in Kankakee, Illinois when MacMurray was born; separated.
Maleta Martin
Mother
Susan Pool
Daughter
Born c. 1941; adopted with Lillian Lamont.
Robert MacMurray
Son
Hawaii construction company owner. Born c. 1946; adopted with Lillian Lamont.
Laurie Sipma
Daughter
Advertising company owner. Born c. 1966; twin of Katherine MacMurray; adopted with June Haver; married Marc Gerver on December 28, 2001.
Kate MacMurray
Daughter
Screenwriter. Born c. 1966; twin of Laurie MacMurray; adopted with June Haver.

Companions

Lillian Lamont
Wife
Actor, dancer, model. Married June 19, 1936 until her death in 1953; met while she was a dancer in the Broadway production of "Roberta" in 1933.
June Haver
Wife
Actor, dancer. Married June 28, 1954 until his death; first met on the set of "Where Do We Go From Here?" (1944); came out of a Catholic convent where she had gone to live after the death of her fiance to marry MacMurray a year after his first wife's death.

Bibliography

Notes

MacMurray's face was allegedly used as the model for comic-strip hero Captain Marvel.

"Whether I play a heavy or a comedian, I alway start out Smiley MacMurray, a decent Rotarian type. If I play a heavy, there comes a point in the film when the audience realizes I'm really a heel." --Fred MacMurray (quoted in NEW YORK TIMES obituary, November 6, 1991)

"I take my movie parts as they come. I don't fly into an emotional storm about them. I just do them. I guess I am an offhand comedian in a natural way." --Fred MacMurray (quoted in NEW YORK TIMES obituary November 6, 1991)

"The ingredients of the MacMurray man are paradoxical but consistent: brittle cheerfulness; an anxious smile that subsides into slyness; a voice that tries to be jocular and easy-going but comes out fraudulent; the semblance of a masculine carriage that turns insubstantial and shifty. In other words, MacMurray is a romantic lead built on quicksands, a hero compelled to betray, a lover likely to desert." --David Thomson in "A Biographical Dictionary of Film" (William Morrow & Company, 1976)