Wilbur McGaugh

Active - 1921 - 1934  |   Born - Mar 12, 1895   |   Died - Jan 31, 1965   |   Genres - Western, Action, Crime, Drama

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Western film historian Jon Tuska termed this American supporting actor "sardonically photogenic," and he certainly was that in scores of minor Westerns of the 1920s. As young -- and, in his own way, as handsome -- as most cowboy heroes, McGaugh could be a formidable adversary and was never to be trusted alone with any prairie flower, much less such naive heroines as Jean Arthur (Bringin' Home the Bacon, 1924) or Alma Rayford (Cactus Trails, 1925). Neva Gerber, on the other hand, saw through him immediately in the dime-store serial Days of '49 (aka California in '49, 1924), where, as leader of the notorious San Francisco gang "The Hounds," McGaugh did perhaps his finest work. Sadly inept in front of the microphones, McGaugh billed himself "Don Francis" for his role as the villain Rance Carter in The Indians are Coming (1929), the first sound serial. The writing was on the wall, however, and the now-veteran actor went behind the cameras in the 1930s and 1940s as assistant director to such Hollywood professionals as D. Ross Lederman and Joseph Lewis.