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Fred MacMurray

Usually typecast as a “nice guy”, but is best known to classic movie fans for his “bad guy” role opposite Barbara Stanwyck in the film noir Double Indemnity

Fred MacMurray



Girls Gone Wild

Why Leave Home?  

Tiger Rose  



Grand Old Girl  

The Gilded Lily  

Car 99  

Men Without Names  

Alice Adams  

Hands Across the Table  

The Bride Comes Home



The Trail of the Lonesome Pine

Thirteen Hours by Air

The Princess Comes Across

The Texas Rangers



Champagne Waltz  

Maid of Salem  

Swing High, Swing Low  


True Confession     



Cocoanut Grove

Men with Wings

Sing You Sinners



Cafe Society  

Invitation to Happiness  

Honeymoon in Bali



Remember the Night  

Little Old New York  

Too Many Husbands  

Rangers of Fortune  




One Night in Lisbon

Dive Bomber

New York Town



The Lady Is Willing  

Take a Letter, Darling  

The Forest Rangers  

Star Spangled Rhythm  




Flight for Freedom

No Time for Love

Above Suspicion



Standing Room Only  

And the Angels Sing

Double Indemnity

Practically Yours



Where Do We Go from Here?

Captain Eddie

Murder, He Says

Pardon My Past






Suddenly, It’s Spring

The Egg and I




On Our Merry Way

The Miracle of the Bells  

An Innocent Affair  



Family Honeymoon

Don’t Trust Your Husband  

Father Was a Fullback  




Never a Dull Moment    



A Millionaire for Christy

Callaway Went Thataway   



Fair Wind to Java

The Moonlighter



The Caine Mutiny


Woman’s World



The Far Horizons  

The Rains of Ranchipur

At Gunpoint



There’s Always Tomorrow



Gun for a Coward  




Day of the Bad Man  



Good Day for a Hanging  

The Shaggy Dog  

Face of a Fugitive

The Oregon Trail



The Apartment  



The Absent-Minded Professor  



Bon Voyage!



Son of Flubber



Kisses for My President  



Follow Me, Boys!



The Happiest Millionaire



Charley and the Angel  



The Swarm   


Fred MacMurray was never nominated for an Academy Award

The two films I did with Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity (1944) and The Apartment (1960), are the only two parts I did in my entire career that required any acting. ~Fred MacMurray

Fred MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois on August 30, 1908, the son of Maleta (née Martin) and Frederick MacMurray, Sr.

He later attended school in Quincy, Illinois, before earning a full scholarship to attend Carroll College (now Carroll University) in Waukesha, Wisconsin. While at Carroll, MacMurray performed in numerous local bands, playing the saxophone. He did not graduate from the school.

Before signing to Paramount Pictures in 1934, he appeared on Broadway in Three’s a Crowd (1930–31) and alongside Sydney Greenstreet and Bob Hope in Roberta (1933–34).

Later in the 1930s, MacMurray worked with film directors Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges, along with actors Barbara Stanwyck, Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich and, in seven films, Claudette Colbert, beginning with The Gilded Lily (1935). He co-starred with Katharine Hepburn in Alice Adams (1935), with Joan Crawford in Above Suspicion (1943), and with Carole Lombard in four productions: Hands Across the Table (1935), The Princess Comes Across (1936), Swing High, Swing Low (1937), and True Confession (1937).

Image from the movie "Alice Adams"

© 1935 RKO Radio Pictures − All right reserved.

Usually cast in light comedies as a decent, thoughtful character (The Trail of the Lonesome Pine 1936) and in melodramas (Above Suspicion 1943) and musicals (Where Do We Go from Here? 1945), MacMurray became one of the movie industry’s highest-paid actors in that period. By 1943, his annual salary had reached $420,000, making him the highest-paid actor in Hollywood and the fourth-highest paid person in the nation.

Despite being typecast as a “nice guy”, MacMurray often said his best roles were when he was cast against type, such as under the direction of Billy Wilder and Edward Dmytryk. Perhaps his best known “bad guy” performance was in the role of Walter Neff, an insurance salesman who plots with a greedy wife Barbara Stanwyck to murder her husband in the film noir classic Double Indemnity (1944). Sixteen years later, MacMurray played Jeff Sheldrake, a two-timing corporate executive in Wilder’s Oscar-winning comedy The Apartment (1960) with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. In another turn in the “not so nice” category, MacMurray played the cynical, duplicitous Lieutenant Thomas Keefer in Dmytryk’s 1954 film The Caine Mutiny.

In 1958, he guest-starred in the premiere episode of NBC’s Cimarron City Western series, with George Montgomery and John Smith. MacMurray’s career continued upward the following year, when he was cast as the father in the popular Disney Studios comedy, The Shaggy Dog. Then, from 1960 to 1972, he starred on television in My Three Sons, a long-running, highly rated series. Concurrent with My Three Sons, MacMurray stayed busy in films, starring as Professor Ned Brainard in Disney’s The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) and in the sequel Son of Flubber (1963). Using his star-power clout, MacMurray had a provision in his My Three Sons contract that all of his scenes on that series were to be shot in two separate month-long production blocks and filmed first. That condensed performance schedule provided him more free time to pursue his work in films, maintain his ranch in Northern California, and enjoy his favorite leisure activity, golf.

Don Grady, Barry Livingston, Stanley Livingston, and Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons (1960) - Photo by CBS Photo Archive/CBS via Getty Images - © 1969 CBS Photo Archive

Don Grady, Barry Livingston, Stanley Livingston, and Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons (1960) – Photo by CBS Photo Archive/CBS via Getty Images – © 1969 CBS Photo Archive

Over the years, MacMurray became one of the wealthiest actors in the entertainment business, primarily from wise real estate investments and from his “notorious frugality”. After the cancellation of My Three Sons in 1972, MacMurray made only a few more film appearances before retiring in 1978.

MacMurray was married twice. He married Lillian Lamont (legal name Lilian Wehmhoener MacMurray, born 1908) on June 20, 1936, and the couple adopted two children, Susan (born 1940) and Robert (born 1946). After Lamont died of cancer on June 22, 1953, he married actress June Haver the following year. The couple subsequently adopted two more children—twins born in 1956—Katherine and Laurie. MacMurray and Haver’s marriage was a long one, lasting 37 years, until Fred’s death.

In 1941, MacMurray purchased land in the Russian River Valley in Northern California and established MacMurray Ranch, where he spent time when not making films or later appearing on television. At the 1,750-acre ranch he raised prize-winning Aberdeen Angus cattle; cultivated prunes, apples, alfalfa, and other crops; and enjoyed watercolor painting, fly fishing, and skeet shooting. MacMurray wanted the property’s agricultural heritage preserved, so five years after his death, in 1996, it was sold to Gallo, which planted vineyards on it for wines that bear the MacMurray Ranch label. Kate MacMurray, daughter of Haver and MacMurray, now lives on the property (in a cabin built by her father), and is “actively engaged in Sonoma’s thriving wine community, carrying on her family’s legacy and the heritage of MacMurray Ranch.

A lifelong heavy smoker, MacMurray suffered from throat cancer in the late 1970s and it reappeared in 1987; he also suffered a severe stroke at Christmas 1988 which left his right side paralyzed and his speech affected, although with therapy he was able to make a 90% recovery.

After suffering from leukemia for more than a decade, MacMurray died from pneumonia at age 83 in November 1991 in Santa Monica. His body was entombed in Holy Cross Cemetery. In 2005, his wife June Haver died at age 79; and her body was entombed with his.

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