Family & Companions
Dynamic musical comedy star from the stage who began his career in entertainment appearing in rugged film melodramas (e.g., the unjustly neglected B-film, "King of Alcatraz" 1938) and occasional lighter fare in the late 1930s. His promising early appearances in the Cecil B. DeMille epics "Union Pacific" (1939), "Northwest Mounted Police" (1940) and "Reap the Wild Wind" (1942) did not, however, spell major stardom with the interruption of WWII. When he returned Preston did enjoy good roles in "The Macomber Affair" (1947) and "Tulsa" (1949), but it took a lengthy sojourn on the stage, in which he surprised many with his aptitude for musical comedy, for him to become a major star.
Upon returning to films in the 1960s Preston performed zestfully in the film for which he is best remembered, "The Music Man" (1962), in which he recreated his stage role of an endearing huckster turned unexpectedly successful bandleader. Late in life Preston also garnered praise for two highly amusing performances in the Blake Edwards farces, "SOB" (1981) and "Victor/Victoria" (1982).
Cast (Feature Film)
Art Director (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Debut feature acting role, "King of Alcatraz"
Stage breakthrough with star role in "The Music Man"
Lead role in feature, "The Music Man"
Portrayed Mack in Broadway "Mack and Mabel"
Last featured leading role in a film, "Victor/Victoria"
Last screen appearance, "The Last Starfighter"