Biography

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Farrell MacDonald (June 6, 1875 – August 2, 1952) was an American character actor and director. He played supporting roles and occasional leads. He appeared in over 325 films over a 41-year career from 1911 to 1951, and directed forty-four silent films from 1912 to 1917.

MacDonald was the principal director of L. Frank Baum's Oz Film Manufacturing Company, and he can frequently be seen in the films of Frank Capra, Preston Sturges and, especially, John Ford.

Early in his career, MacDonald was a singer in minstrel shows, and he toured the United States extensively for two years with stage productions. He made his first silent film in 1911, a dramatic short entitled The Scarlett Letter made by Carl Laemmle's Independent Moving Pictures Company (IMP), the forerunner of Universal Pictures,. He continued to act in numerous films each year from that time on, and by 1912 he was directing them as well. The first film he directed was The Worth of a Man, another dramatic short, again for IMP, and he was to direct 43 more films until his last in 1917, Over the Fence, which he co-directed with Harold Lloyd. MacDonald had crossed paths with Lloyd several years earlier, when Lloyd was an extra and MacDonald had given him much-needed work – and he did the same with Hal Roach, both of whom appearing in small roles in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, which MacDonald directed in 1914. When Roach set up his own studio, with Lloyd as his principal attraction, he hired MacDonald to direct.

By 1918, MacDonald, who was to become one of the most beloved character men in Hollywood, had given up directing and was acting full-time, predominantly in Westerns and Irish comedies. He first worked under director John Ford in 1919's A Fight for Love. In all, Ford would use MacDonald on twenty-five films between 1919 and 1950.

With a voice that matched his personality, MacDonald made the transition to sound films easily, with no noticeable drop in his acting output – if anything, it went up. In 1931, for instance, MacDonald appeared in 14 films – among them the first version of The Maltese Falcon, in which he played "Detective Tom Polhaus" – and in 22 of them in 1932. Although he played laborers, policemen, military men and priests, among many other characters, his roles were usually a cut above a "bit part". His characters usually had names, and he was most often credited for his performances. A highlight of this period was his performance as the hobo "Mr. Tramp" in Our Little Girl with Shirley Temple (1935).

In the 1940s, MacDonald was part of Preston Sturges' unofficial "stock company" of character actors, appearing in seven films written and directed by Sturges. MacDonald appeared in Sullivan's Travels, The Palm Beach Story, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, The Great Moment, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, Unfaithfully Yours and The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, Sturges' last American film. Earlier, MacDonald had also appeared in The Power and the Glory, which Sturges wrote. His work on Sturges' films was generally uncredited. He was notable in 1946 in John Ford's My Darling Clementine in which he played "Mac," the bartender in the town saloon. MacDonald also had uncredited roles in It's a Wonderful Life and Here Comes The Groom.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Farrell MacDonald (June 6, 1875 – August 2, 1952) was an American character actor and director. He played supporting roles and occasional leads. He appeared in over 325 films over a 41-year career from 1911 to 1951, and directed forty-four silent films from 1912 to 1917.

MacDonald was the principal director of L. Frank Baum's Oz Film Manufacturing Company, and he can frequently be seen in the films of Frank Capra, Preston Sturges and, especially, John Ford.

Early in his career, MacDonald was a singer in minstrel shows, and he toured the United States extensively for two years with stage productions. He made his first silent film in 1911, a dramatic short entitled The Scarlett Letter made by Carl Laemmle's Independent Moving Pictures Company (IMP), the forerunner of Universal Pictures,. He continued to act in numerous films each year from that time on, and by 1912 he was directing them as well. The first film he directed was The Worth of a Man, another dramatic short, again for IMP, and he was to direct 43 more films until his last in 1917, Over the Fence, which he co-directed with Harold Lloyd. MacDonald had crossed paths with Lloyd several years earlier, when Lloyd was an extra and MacDonald had given him much-needed work – and he did the same with Hal Roach, both of whom appearing in small roles in The Patchwork Girl of Oz, which MacDonald directed in 1914. When Roach set up his own studio, with Lloyd as his principal attraction, he hired MacDonald to direct.

By 1918, MacDonald, who was to become one of the most beloved character men in Hollywood, had given up directing and was acting full-time, predominantly in Westerns and Irish comedies. He first worked under director John Ford in 1919's A Fight for Love. In all, Ford would use MacDonald on twenty-five films between 1919 and 1950.

With a voice that matched his personality, MacDonald made the transition to sound films easily, with no noticeable drop in his acting output – if anything, it went up. In 1931, for instance, MacDonald appeared in 14 films – among them the first version of The Maltese Falcon, in which he played "Detective Tom Polhaus" – and in 22 of them in 1932. Although he played laborers, policemen, military men and priests, among many other characters, his roles were usually a cut above a "bit part". His characters usually had names, and he was most often credited for his performances. A highlight of this period was his performance as the hobo "Mr. Tramp" in Our Little Girl with Shirley Temple (1935).

In the 1940s, MacDonald was part of Preston Sturges' unofficial "stock company" of character actors, appearing in seven films written and directed by Sturges. MacDonald appeared in Sullivan's Travels, The Palm Beach Story, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, The Great Moment, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, Unfaithfully Yours and The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, Sturges' last American film. Earlier, MacDonald had also appeared in The Power and the Glory, which Sturges wrote. His work on Sturges' films was generally uncredited. He was notable in 1946 in John Ford's My Darling Clementine in which he played "Mac," the bartender in the town saloon. MacDonald also had uncredited roles in It's a Wonderful Life and Here Comes The Groom.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 202

Birthday 1875-06-06

Day of Death 1952-08-02

Place of Birth Waterbury, Connecticut, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • Joseph Farrell MacDonald
  • John Farrell MacDonald
  • Farrell Macdonald
  • J. Farrell McDonald
  • J.F. McDonald

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1951 Superman and the Mole-Men as Pop Shannon
1951 Here Comes the Groom as Husband on Airplane
1951 Mr. Belvedere Rings the Bell as Mr. Kroeger
1950 Woman on the Run as Cap, the Retired Ferryboat Captain
1950 The Daltons' Women as Stage Co. Rep. Alvin
1950 Dakota Lil as Ellis
1949 The Dalton Gang as Judge Price
1949 Streets of San Francisco as Pop Lockhart
1948 Whispering Smith as Bill Baggs
1948 Belle Starr's Daughter as Doc Benson
1948 Fury at Furnace Creek as Pops Murphy (uncredited)
1948 If You Knew Susie as Police Sergeant (uncredited)
1947 Christmas Eve as Policeman (uncredited)
1947 The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer as Mac, Bailiff (uncredited)
1947 Keeper of the Bees as Postmaster
1947 Web of Danger as Scotty MacKronish - Bus Driver
1947 The Sin of Harold Diddlebock as Desk Sergeant (uncredited)
1946 It's a Wonderful Life as Man Whose Grandfather Planted Tree (uncredited)
1946 My Darling Clementine as Mac the barman
1946 Goodbye, Weeds as Gardener
1946 Smoky as Jim, the Cook
1946 Joe Palooka, Champ as Long-Count Bowman
1945 Fallen Angel as Bank Guard (uncredited)
1945 Johnny Angel as Capt. Angel
1945 Circumstantial Evidence as Jury Foreman
1945 A Tree Grows in Brooklyn as Mr. Carney The Junkman (uncredited)
1944 Texas Masquerade as John Martindale
1943 True to Life as Bit Role
1943 The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek as Sheriff (uncredited)
1943 Tiger Fangs as Geoffrey MacCardle
1943 The Ape Man as Captain
1942 The McGuerins from Brooklyn as Cop
1942 The Palm Beach Story as Officer O'Donnell (uncredited)
1942 Bowery at Midnight as Capt. Mitchell
1942 Phantom Killer as Police Captain
1942 The Living Ghost as Police Lt. 'Pete' Peterson
1942 One Thrilling Night as Police Sergeant Haggerty
1942 Reap the Wild Wind as Port Captain
1942 Captains of the Clouds as Dr. Neville (from Churchtown)
1942 Wild Bill Hickok Rides as Judge Henry Hathaway
1942 Private Snuffy Smith as Gen. Rosewater
1941 Law of the Timber as Adams
1941 Riders of the Timberline as Jim Kerrigan
1941 The Great Lie as Dr. Ferguson
1941 In Old Cheyenne as Tim Casey
1941 Meet John Doe as 'Sourpuss' as Sourpuss Smithers
1940 Friendly Neighbors as Sheiff Potts
1940 Untamed as Doctor Billar
1940 Pony Express Days as Nevada Jim
1940 Stagecoach War as Jeff Chapman
1940 The Last Alarm as Jim Hadley
1940 I Take This Oath as Insp. Tim Ryan
1940 The Light of Western Stars as Bill Stillwell - Rancher
1940 Dark Command as Dave
1940 Knights of the Range as Cappy
1939 The Gentleman from Arizona as Wild Bill Coburn
1939 The Housekeeper's Daughter as Captain
1939 They Shall Have Music as Police Chief (uncredited)
1939 Coast Guard as Capt. Hansen (uncredited)
1939 Conspiracy as Captain of the Falcon
1939 Susannah of the Mounties as Pat O'Hannegan
1939 Zenobia as Judge
1939 East Side of Heaven as Doorman
1939 The Lone Ranger Rides Again as Craig Dolan
1938 Little Orphan Annie as 'Pop' Corrigan
1938 Submarine Patrol as CWO 'Sails' Quincannon
1938 Come On, Rangers as Colonel Forbes
1938 Gang Bullets as Chief Reardon
1938 The Last Express as William Barton (Detective Agency Head)
1938 There Goes My Heart as Officer
1938 The Crowd Roars as Father Patrick Ryan
1938 Barefoot Boy as Warden
1938 White Banners as Dr. Thompson
1938 Numbered Woman as Capt. Ryan
1938 State Police as Charlie Wheeler
1938 My Old Kentucky Home as Mayor Jim Hopkins
1937 Courage of the West as Buck Saunders
1937 County Fair as Calvin Williams
1937 The Game That Kills as Joe Holland
1937 Topper as Policeman (as J. Farrell McDonald)
1937 Roaring Timber as Andrew MacKinley
1937 Flying Fists as Bill 'One-Punch' Fagin
1937 Slim as Pop
1937 Slave Ship as Proprietor
1937 Parnell as Irish Laborer (uncredited)
1937 My Dear Miss Aldrich as 'Doc' Howe
1937 The Hit Parade as Sgt. O'Hara
1937 Maid of Salem as Captain of Ship
1936 Mysterious Crossing as Police Chief Bullock
1936 Florida Special as Captain Timothy Harrigan
1936 Exclusive Story as Michael Devlin
1936 Riffraff as 'Brains'
1935 Fighting Youth as Coach Parker
1935 Waterfront Lady as Capt. O'Brien
1935 The Irish in Us as Capt. Jackson
1935 Danger Ahead as Harry Cromwell, City Editor
1935 Front Page Woman as Hallohan
1935 Shadows of the Orient as Inspector Sullivan
1935 The Arizonian as Marshal Andy Jordan
1935 The Healer as Applejack
1935 Let 'em Have It as Mr. Keefer
1935 Star of Midnight as Police Inspector Doremus
1935 The Whole Town's Talking as Prison Warden (uncredited)
1935 Northern Frontier as Inspector
1935 Square Shooter as Sheriff
1935 The Best Man Wins as Captain--Harbor Patrol
1935 Maybe It's Love as The Cop
1935 Romance in Manhattan as Officer Murphy
1935 Our Little Girl as Hobo
1934 Once to Every Woman as Flannigan
1934 The Crosby Case as The Doorman--Mike Costello
1934 Man of Two Worlds as Michael
1933 Murder on the Campus as Police Capt. Ed Kyne
1933 Myrt And Marge as Grady
1933 The Power and the Glory as Mulligan
1933 I Loved a Woman as Shuster
1933 How to Break 90 #6: Fine Points
1933 Peg o' My Heart as Patrick Shamus 'Pat' O'Connell
1933 The Working Man as Henry 'Hank' Davidson
1933 The Iron Master as J.C. Stillman
1932 No Man of Her Own as 'Dickie' Collins
1932 The Racing Strain as Mr. Martin
1932 Me and My Gal as Pop Riley
1932 Men Are Such Fools as Prison Warden Randolph
1932 Pride of the Legion as Chief Scott
1932 Heritage of the Desert as Adam Naab
1932 70,000 Witnesses as State Coach
1932 Hearts of Humanity as Tom O'Hara
1932 The Phantom Express as D.J. 'Smokey' Nolan
1932 The Thirteenth Guest as Police Capt. Ryan
1932 The Hurricane Express as Jim Baker
1932 Madame Racketeer as John Adams
1932 The Strange Love of Molly Louvain as Police Sgt. J.B. Antrim (uncredited)
1932 Scandal for Sale as Treadway
1932 Probation as Uncle George Holman, the judge
1932 Hotel Continental as Detective Martin
1932 Discarded Lovers as Sommers
1931 The Brat as Timson, the butler
1931 The Squaw Man as Big Bill
1931 How I Play Golf, by Bobby Jones No. 9: 'The Driver'
1931 Sporting Blood as MacGuire
1931 The Maltese Falcon as Det. Sgt. Tom Polhaus
1931 Too Young to Marry as Rev. Stump
1931 The Millionaire as Dan Lewis
1931 The Stolen Jools as Policeman
1931 Woman Hungry as Buzzard
1931 The Easiest Way as Ben Murdock
1931 Other Men's Women as Peg-Leg
1931 Under Eighteen as Pop Evans
1931 The Painted Desert as Jeff Cameron
1930 The Truth About Youth as Colonel Graham
1930 River's End as O'Toole
1930 The Girl of the Golden West as Sonora Slim
1930 Song o' My Heart as Rafferty
1930 Men Without Women as Costello
1929 South Sea Rose as Hackett
1929 The Painted Angel as Pa Hudler
1929 Happy Days as Train Conductor
1929 Masked Emotions as Will Whitten
1929 Strong Boy as Angus McGregor
1928 Riley the Cop as James 'Aloysius' Riley
1928 4 Devils as The Clown
1928 None But the Brave as John Craig
1928 Bringing Up Father as Jiggs
1927 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans as The Photographer
1927 East Side, West Side as Pug Malone
1927 Paid to Love as Peter Roberts
1927 The Cradle Snatchers as George Martin
1926 3 Bad Men as Mike Costigan
1926 The Shamrock Handicap as Con O'Shea
1926 The First Year as Mr. Barstow
1925 The Fighting Heart as Jerry
1925 Thank You as Andy
1925 Kentucky Pride as Donavan
1925 The Lucky Horseshoe as Mack
1925 Lightnin' as Lemuel Townsend
1924 The Iron Horse as Corporal Casey
1924 The Signal Tower as Pete
1924 Western Luck as 'Chuck' Campbell
1924 Mademoiselle Midnight as Duc de Moing (Prologue)
1923 While Paris Sleeps
1922 The Young Rajah as Amhad Beg - Prime Minister
1922 The Ghost Breaker as Sam Marcum
1922 Come on Over
1922 Sky High as Jim Frazer
1921 Trailin' as Joseph Piotto
1921 Action as Mormon Peters
1919 Marked Men as Tom Placer McGraw
1919 The Outcasts of Poker Flat
1919 A Sporting Chance
1919 Riders of Vengeance as Buell
1919 A Fight For Love as The Priest
1919 Roped as Butler
1915 Rags as Paul Ferguson (as Joseph Farrell MacDonald)
1912 A Timely Repentance as Louis Nordell
1911 'Tween Two Loves as Farmer Howard
1911 The Lighthouse Keeper as The Lighthouse Keeper
1911 The Dream as Secondary Role (uncredited)

Directing

1917 Over the Fence Director
1914 His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz Director
1914 The Magic Cloak of Oz Director
1914 The Patchwork Girl of Oz Director

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