Victor McLaglen

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Victor McLaglen
Victor McLaglen in Sea Devils trailer.jpg
in Sea Devils (1937)
BornVictor Andrew de Bier Everleigh McLaglen
(1886-12-10)10 December 1886
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, UK
Died7 November 1959(1959-11-07) (aged 72)
Newport Beach, California, U.S.
Years active1920–1958
Spouse(s)Enid Lamont (1919-1942) (her death)
Suzanne M. Brueggeman (1943-1948)
Margaret Pumphrey (1948-1959) (his death)
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Victor McLaglen
Victor McLaglen in Sea Devils trailer.jpg
in Sea Devils (1937)
BornVictor Andrew de Bier Everleigh McLaglen
(1886-12-10)10 December 1886
Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England, UK
Died7 November 1959(1959-11-07) (aged 72)
Newport Beach, California, U.S.
Years active1920–1958
Spouse(s)Enid Lamont (1919-1942) (her death)
Suzanne M. Brueggeman (1943-1948)
Margaret Pumphrey (1948-1959) (his death)

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]

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 (1884-1951), 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]

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]

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 following year, McLaglen was the top-billed lead in director Raoul Walsh's legendary World War I classic What Price Glory?(1926) with Edmund Lowe and Delores del Rio, one of the most revered films about the war. He made the transition to sound films with ease, memorably starring opposite Boris Karloff's crazed religious fanatic in John Ford's The Lost Patrol (1934), a picture about desperate soldiers gradually losing their minds fighting Arabs in the desert of what is now Iraq. Another highlight of his career was winning an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Ford's 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 apart from What Price Glory? remains Gunga Din (1939) with Cary Grant and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., an adventure epic loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's poem that served as the template decades later for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984). McLaglen was later nominated for another Oscar, this time for an 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, earlier as leading man then later as comedy relief for films starring John Wayne. 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 became a film director frequently directing John Wayne.

Personal life[edit]

In 1935 McLaglen spent a reported $40,000 to build his own stadium near Riverside Drive and Hyperion Avenue, near Griffith Park and the Atwater Village neighborhood of Los Angeles. The stadium was used for soccer and many other activities. The Los Angeles River flood of 1938 seriously damaged the stadium and it fell into disuse thereafter.[8][9]

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 who worked on several film projects with John Wayne. 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.[10] 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.


1920Call of the Road, TheThe Call of the RoadAlf Truscott
1921Corinthian JackJack Halstead
1921Sport of Kings, TheThe Sport of KingsFrank Rosedale
1921Prey of the Dragon, TheThe Prey of the DragonBrett 'Dragon' Mercer
1922Glorious Adventure, TheThe Glorious AdventureBulfinch
1922Romance of Old Baghdad, AA Romance of Old BaghdadMiski
1922Crimson Circle, TheThe Crimson Circle
1922Sailor Tramp, AA Sailor TrampSailor Tramp, TheThe Sailor Tramp
1922Little Brother of GodKing Kennidy
1923Woman to WomanNubian slaveuncredited
1923M'Lord of the White RoadLord Annerley/John
1923HeartstringsFrank Wilson
1923In the BloodTony Crabtree
1923Romany, TheThe RomanyChief, TheThe Chief
1924Passionate Adventure, TheThe Passionate AdventureHerb Harris
1924Beloved Brute, TheThe Beloved BruteCharles Hinges
1924Gay Corinthian, TheThe Gay CorinthianSquire Hardcastle
1924Boatswain's Mate, TheThe Boatswain's MateNed Travers
1924Women and DiamondsBrian Owen
1925Fighting Heart, TheThe Fighting HeartSoapy Williams
1925Winds of ChancePoleon Doret
1925PercyReedy Jenkins
1925Hunted Woman, TheThe Hunted WomanQuade
1925Unholy Three, TheThe Unholy ThreeHercules, the strongman
1926Men of SteelPete Masarick
1926Isle of Retribution, TheThe Isle of RetributionDoomsdorf
1926What Price Glory?Capt. Flagg
1926Beau GesteHank
1927The Loves of CarmenEscamillo
1928River Pirate, TheThe River PirateSailor Fritz
1928Girl in Every Port, AA Girl in Every PortSpike Madden
1928Mother MachreeGiant of Kilkenny (Terence O'Dowd), TheThe Giant of Kilkenny (Terence O'Dowd)
1928Hangman's HouseCitizen Denis Hogan
1929Hot for ParisJohn Patrick Duke
1929Cock-Eyed World, TheThe Cock-Eyed WorldTop Sergeant Flagg
1929Strong BoyStrong Boy
1929Captain LashCaptain Lash
1929Black Watch, TheThe Black WatchCapt. Donald Gordon King
1930Devil with Women, AA Devil with WomenJerry Maxton
1930On the LevelBiff Williams
1931DishonoredCol. Kranau
1931WickedScott Burrows
1931Annabelle's AffairsJohn Rawson aka Hefly Jack
1931Women of All NationsCapt ain Jim Flagg
1931Stolen Jools, TheThe Stolen JoolsSergeant Flagg
1931Three RoguesBull Stanley
1932Rackety Rax'Knucks' McGloin
1932Guilty as HellDetective Capt. T.R. McKinley
1932While Paris SleepsJacques Costaud
1932Devil's LotteryJem Meech
1932Gay Caballero, TheThe Gay CaballeroDon Bob Harkness aka El Coyote
1933Hot PepperJim Flagg
1933Dick TurpinDick Turpin
1933Laughing at LifeDennis P. McHale aka Burke aka Captain Hale
1934Captain Hates the Sea, TheThe Captain Hates the SeaSchulte
1934Wharf AngelTurk
1934No More WomenForty-Fathoms
1934Lost Patrol, TheThe Lost PatrolSergeant, TheThe Sergeant
1934Murder at the VanitiesPolice Lt. Bill Murdock
1935Professional SoldierMichael Donovan
1935Great Hotel Murder, TheThe Great Hotel MurderAndrew W. 'Andy' McCabe
1935Under PressureJumbo Smith
1935Informer, TheThe InformerGypo NolanAcademy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
1936Magnificent Brute'Big Steve' Andrewsas Victor McLaglen - Academy Award Winner
1936Under Two FlagsJ.C. Doyle
1936Klondike AnnieBull Brackett
1937This Is My AffairJock Ramsay
1937Nancy Steele Is Missing!Dannie O'Neill
1937Sea DevilsCPO William 'Medals' Malone
1937Wee Willie WinkieSgt. Donald MacDuff
1938We're Going to Be RichDobbie
1938Battle of BroadwayBig Ben Wheeler
1938Devil's PartyMarty Malone
1939Big Guy, TheThe Big GuyWarden Bill Whitlock
1939Full ConfessionMcGinnis
1939Captain FuryJerry Black aka Blackie
1939Ex-ChampTom 'Gunner' Grey
1939Pacific LinerJ.B. 'Crusher' McKay, Chief Engineer
1939Gunga DinSgt. 'Mac' MacChesney
1939Let Freedom RingChris Mulligan
1940Diamond FrontierTerrence Regan
1940South of Pago PagoBucko Larson
1941Broadway LimitedMaurice 'Mike' Monohan
1942Powder TownJeems O'Shea
1942Call Out the MarinesSgt. Jimmy McGinnis
1942China GirlMajor Weed
1943Forever and a DayArchibald Spavin (hotel doorman)
1944Princess and the Pirate, TheThe Princess and the PirateCaptain Barrett ak The Hook
1944Roger Touhy, GangsterHerman 'Owl' Banghart
1944TampicoFred Adamson
1945Love, Honor and GoodbyeTerry O'Farrell
1945Rough, Tough and ReadyOwen McCare
1946Whistle StopGitlo
1947Foxes of Harrow, TheThe Foxes of HarrowCaptain Mike Farrell
1947Michigan Kid, TheThe Michigan KidCurley
1947Calendar GirlMatthew O'Neil
1948Fort ApacheSgt. Festus Mulcahy
1949She Wore a Yellow RibbonTop Sgt. Quincannon
1950Rio GrandeSgt. Maj. Timothy Quincannon
1952Quiet Man, TheThe Quiet ManSquire 'Red' Will DanaherNominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
1953Fair Wind to JavaO'Brien
1954Prince ValiantBoltar
1954Trouble in the GlenParlan
1955BengaziRobert Emmett Donovan
1955City of ShadowsBig Tim Channing
1955Many Rivers to Cross (film)Mr. Cadmus Cherne
1955Lady Godiva of CoventryGrimald
1956Around the World in 80 DaysHelmsman of the 'Henrietta'
1957Abductors, TheThe AbductorsTom Muldoon
1958Gli Italiani sono matti
1958Sea FuryCaptain Bellew

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Obituary Variety, 11 November 1959, page 79.
  2. ^ Victor McLaglen’s father – new revelations; Peter Anson BISHOPS AT LARGE (1964) has further information on Bishop McLaglen.
  3. ^ Victor McLaglen, Query. Great War Forum. 19 March 2006.
  4. ^ "The Science of Jiujitsu". Journal of Non-lethal Combatives. December 2002.
  5. ^ Noble, Graham. Early Ju-jutsu: The Challenges.
  6. ^ a b Victor McLaglen. Cyber Boxing Zone.
  7. ^ Victor McLaglen myth?. Great War Forum. 26 September 2005.
  8. ^ Jim Thurman, "10 L.A. Sports Venues That Are No More", LA Weekly, December 23, 2013.
  9. ^ Ted Elrick, Los Angeles River (Arcadia Publishing, 2008), ISBN 978-0738547183, pp. 27, 45-47. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  10. ^ Time Magazine, Milestones

External links[edit]