Victor McLaglen

Active - 1921 - 2016  |   Born - Dec 10, 1886 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England  |   Died - Nov 7, 1959   |   Genres - Drama, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Action

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Biography by Rovi

A boy soldier during the Boer War, British actor Victor McLaglen later worked as a prizefighter (once losing to Jack Johnson in six rounds) and a vaudeville and circus performer. He served in World War I as a captain with the Irish Fusiliers and as provost marshal of Baghdad. In the early '20s he broke into British films. He soon moved to Hollywood, where he got lead and supporting roles; his basic screen persona was that of a large, brutish, but soft-hearted man of action. He appeared in many John Ford films, often as a military man. McLaglen made the transition to sound successfully, and for his work in Ford's The Informer (1935), he won the Best Actor Oscar. He remained a busy screen actor until the late '50s. Five of his brothers were also film actors: Arthur, Clifford, Cyril, Kenneth, and Leopold. He was the father of director Andrew V. McLaglen.

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  • Enlisted in the British Army at age 14.
  • Served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers during World War I.
  • Held many jobs after the Army, including circus performer, farmer and police officer.
  • Also made a living as a wrestler and a boxer; fought then-heavyweight champ Jack Johnson in 1909.
  • Took up acting at the suggestion of a friend who was a producer.
  • Became popular as a character actor, appearing in such films as Gunga Din, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and Rio Grande; frequently worked with John Ford.
  • Was directed by his son, Andrew V. McLaglen, in the 1957 film The Abductors.