Edit
Gordon MacRae Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (14) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 12 March 1921East Orange, New Jersey, USA
Date of Death 24 January 1986Lincoln, Nebraska, USA  (cancer of the mouth and jaw)
Birth NameAlbert Gordon MacRae
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Albert Gordon MacRae was born on March 12, 1921, in East Orange, NJ. During his early years, he resided in Syracuse, NY, and, while in high school, spent much of his time singing and acting in the Drama Club. It was also during this time that he learned to play the piano, clarinet and the saxophone. At 19, he entered a singing contest and won a two-week engagement at The World's Fair in New York, performing with the Harry James and Les Brown bands. In 1940, while working in New York City as a page, he was "discovered" and hired to sing for the Horace Heidt Band. After a two-year stint, he joined the Army Air Corps and worked as a navigator for the next two years. He made his Broadway debut in a show called "Junior Miss", as a replacement in the role of "Tommy Arbuckle". Next, he appeared, again on Broadway, in Ray Bolger's 1946 revue, "Three To Make Ready". It was here that he was spotted by Capitol Records and signed to a long-term recording contract in 1947. He stayed with the label for more than 20 years. In October 1948, on ABC, he starred on the radio show "The Railroad Hour". The show moved to NBC in October 1949 and continued until June of 1954. It presented operettas and musical dramatizations, all starring Gordon and many different leading ladies. Also in 1948, he was signed to a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers Pictures and, soon after, made his film debut in the non-musical, The Big Punch (1948), opposite Lois Maxwell (well-known later as "Miss Moneypenny" in the James Bond films). What followed was a string of hit musicals, starting with Look for the Silver Lining (1949), in which MacRae had a featured role opposite June Haver and Ray Bolger, and five fondly remembered films with Doris Day, beginning with Tea for Two (1950). Perhaps his two best and well-known films were two of his last: Oklahoma! (1955) and Carousel (1956), both written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II and both opposite screen newcomer Shirley Jones. MacRae began to suffer, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, from bouts of heavy drinking and, by his own admission, developed into an alcoholic. He revealed that he had been "picked up for drunk driving" during the filming of "Carousel". He conquered the disease in the 1970s and went on to counsel other alcoholics. He continued recording and performing on dozens of television shows. He and his wife, Sheila MacRae, appeared together frequently and even released an album together. His daughters, Meredith MacRae and Heather MacRae, acted in films and on TV. On September 22, 1974, he appeared as a sheriff on an episode of McCloud (1970), starring Dennis Weaver, entitled "The Barefoot Girls of Bleeker Street". His final film came in 1979, a fine dramatic role in The Pilot (1981), which starred Cliff Robertson. He suffered a stroke in 1982. He continued on with the support of his second wife, Elizabeth, and his five children. This brilliant performer continued to tour, when his health would permit, allowing audiences to relive some of his biggest film hits. On January 24, 1986, Gordon MacRae died at the age of 64, at his home in Lincoln, NE, of pneumonia, the result of complications from cancer of the mouth and jaw.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Patrick Fullerton

Spouse (2)

Elizabeth Lambert Schrafft (25 September 1967 - 24 January 1986) (his death) (1 child)
Sheila MacRae (21 May 1941 - 15 April 1967) (divorced) (4 children)

Trade Mark (1)

The songs "Oklahoma!" and "If I Loved You"

Trivia (14)

The father of actresses Meredith MacRae and Heather MacRae.
Ex-father-in-law of Greg Mullavey.
Suffered a stroke in 1982 but managed to tour occasionally upon his recovery. In the fall of 1985, however, he underwent a carotid artery operation. At that time he was diagnosed with cancer and was forced to retire completely.
Was supposed to co-star with Judy Holliday in the original Broadway musical production of "Bells Are Ringing" in 1956. There were contractual problems, however, and he was replaced by Sydney Chaplin.
In high school (Nottingham High School in Syracuse, NY) he was quite athletic, participating in football, hockey, swimming, baseball, basketball, track, and lacrosse. The National Rifle Association awarded him a marksmanship medal.
At age 11 he was an emcee for a local radio station.
At age 19, he won a talent contest sponsored by Picture Magazaine, earning a two-week engagement at the New York World's Fair Outdoor Dancing Pavilion singing for Harry James and Les Brown.
Had four children with Sheila MacRae: Meredith MacRae (born 1944); Heather MacRae (1946); William Gordon (1948) and Robert Bruce (1954).
Some of his bigger songs with Capitol Records were "A Fellow Needs a Girl" and "Body and Soul."
While appearing in a nightclub act with his wife at Lake Tahoe, he received an emergency phone call to replace Frank Sinatra as "Billy Bigelow" in the film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's stage hit "Carousel", after Sinatra walked out on the filming when he discovered that every scene was to be filmed twice - once for regular CinemaScope and once for CinemaScope 55. Within three days MacRae, who was already familiar with the Broadway show and had wanted to play the role, reported to the set. Ironically, the producers then discovered a way to shoot in CinemaScope 55 and then convert it to regular CinemaScope without filming the movie twice.
Born of Scottish immigrant parents.
He performed in two film musicals with music by Richard Rodgers. Carousel (1956) and Oklahoma! (1955).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6325 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Had a son, Gar MacRae.

Personal Quotes (1)

"Some of my friends have jokingly accused me of sticking pins into an image of Frank Sinatra or exercising some other kind of voodoo charm to get him out of the role of "Billy" in Carousel (1956) so that I could inherit the role. As most everyone knows by now, Frank did bow out of the picture. His decision on this matter, however, was reached without assistance--mystic, telepathic or otherwise--from me. But I always felt that I would end up with Billy. I wasn't surprised when my agent called to say that 20th Century-Fox wanted me for it. I was excited that, at last, it was mine, but I wasn't surprised".

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page