Victor McLaglen

D.O.B: Dec 10, 1886 |  Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, UK

27Credit Score

Rambunctious British leading man (contrary to popular belief, he was of Scottish ancestry, not Irish) and later character actor primarily in American films, Victor McLaglen was a vital presence in a number of great motion pictures, especially those of director John Ford. McLaglen (pronounced Muh-clog-len, not Mack-loff-len) was the son of the Right Reverend Andrew McLaglen, a Protestant clergyman who was at one time Bishop of Claremont in South Africa.

Biography

Rambunctious British leading man (contrary to popular belief, he was of Scottish ancestry, not Irish) and later character actor primarily in American films, Victor McLaglen was a vital presence in a number of great motion pictures, especially those of director John Ford. McLaglen (pronounced Muh-clog-len, not Mack-loff-len) was the son of the Right Reverend Andrew McLaglen, a Protestant clergyman who was at one time Bishop of Claremont in South Africa. The young McLaglen, eldest of eight brothers, attempted to serve in the Boer War by joining the Life Guards, though his father secured his release. The adventuresome young man traveled to Canada where he did farm labor and then directed his pugnacious nature into professional prizefighting. He toured in circuses, vaudeville shows, and Wild West shows, often as a fighter challenging all comers. His tours took him to the US, Australia (where he joined in the gold rush) and South Africa. In 1909 he was the first fighter to box newly-crowned heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, whom he fought in a six-round exhibition match in Vancouver (as an exhibition fight, it had no decision). When the First World War broke out, McLaglen joined the Irish Fusiliers and soldiered in the Middle East, eventually serving as Provost Marshal (head of Military Police) for the city of Baghdad. After the war he attempted to resume a boxing career, but was given a substantial acting role in The Call of the Road (1920) and was well received. He became a popular leading man in British silent films, and within a few years was offered the lead in an American film, The Beloved Brute (1924). He quickly became a most popular star of dramas as well as action films, playing tough or suave with equal ease. With the coming of sound, his ability to be persuasively debonair diminished by reason of his native speech patterns, but his popularity increased, particularly when cast by Ford as the tragic Gypo Nolan in The Informer (1935), for which McLaglen won the Best Actor Oscar.