Andrew V. McLaglen

Andrew Victor McLaglen (July 28, 1920 – August 30, 2014) was a British-born American film and television director, known for Westerns and adventure films, often starring John Wayne or James Stewart.[1]

Andrew V. McLaglen
Andrew Victor McLaglen

(1920-07-28)July 28, 1920
DiedAugust 30, 2014(2014-08-30) (aged 94)
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom, United States
OccupationFilm director
Spouse(s)Margarita Harrison
(m. 1943; div. 194?)
(m. 1946; div. 1958)

Sally Pierce
(m. 1958; div. 1977)

Sheila Greenan
(m. 1987; died 2005)

According to one obituary "His career in many ways mirrored that of Ted Post, another inexhaustible director of series television and undemanding movies: reliable rather than stylish, both were nimble soldiers of fortune renowned for bringing work in on time and on budget... Like the best journeymen, he took us on some heroic, enjoyable excursions. "[2]

Early life and careerEdit

McLaglen was born in London, the son of British-American actor Victor McLaglen and his wife, Enid Lamont, who moved to Hollywood in the early 1920s, shortly after his birth. He was from a film family that included eight uncles and an aunt, and he grew up on movie sets with his parents as well as John Wayne and John Ford. He attended Black Fox Military and The Carl Curtis School then the Cates School in Santa Barbara and the University of Virginia.[3]

During World War Two McLaglen was ruled 4F due to his height and went to work at Lockheed for four years.

Assistant directorEdit

When the war ended he wrote to Republic Pictures asking for a job and was made an assistant on Love, Honor and Goodbye (1945). He worked for two years as a general clerk at Republic on movies such as Dakota (1945) then became a second assistant director.[3]

He was an assistant on two Budd Boetticher films, Killer Shark (1950) and Bullfighter and the Lady (1951); on the latter he was promoted for first assistant director. He was 2nd AD on The Quiet Man (1952) with his father, and 1st AD on Wild Stallion (1952), Here Come the Marines (1952), Big Jim McLain (1952) with John Wayne, Hellgate (1952), Kansas Pacific (1953), and Fort Vengeance (1953).

He was assistant director on a series of films for John Wayne's company Batjac: Plunder of the Sun (1953), Island in the Sky (1954), The High and the Mighty (1954), Track of the Cat (1954) and Blood Alley (1954).[3]


Debut featuresEdit

After several more assistant director jobs, McLaglen directed his first film, Man in the Vault (1956), written by Burt Kennedy.

It was which was followed by Gun the Man Down (1956), a western B movie with James Arness, who McLaglen got to know making Big Jim McLain; it also sttarred Angie Dickinson and Harry Carey Jr.. He was going to direct Seven Men from Now (1956) but the job went to Boetticher; McLaglen was credited as a producer. McLaglen had impressed James Arness who arranged for the director to start helming episodes of Gunsmoke. McLaglen directed The Abductors (1957) starring his father Victor.

Television and low budget featuresEdit

In the late 1950s and early 1960s McLaglen focused on television directing, prolifically directing episodes of The Lineup, Hotel de Paree, Perry Mason (7), Gunslinger (5), Everglades!, Rawhide (6), 116 episodes of Have Gun – Will Travel with Richard Boone, The Lieutenant (4), The Virginian (2), The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, Wagon Train, and 96 episodes of Gunsmoke. He directed his father in episodes of Rawhide and Have Gun will Travel.[4]

During this time he directed two low budget children's films for Robert Lippert released through 20th Century Fox, Freckles (1960) and The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come (1960). [5] [6] In 1960 McLaglen said he was earning between $57,000 and $59,000 a year.[7]

Focus on feature filmsEdit

His first big budget feature film as director was McLintock! (1963) starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara. McLaglen later said " that put me in the big time."[3] The movie was a big success and led to McLaglen being offered another studio feature, Shenandoah (1965), starring James Stewart. It was another success. McLaglen followed it with The Rare Breed (1966), again with James Stewart. That year he said that now he was "supposed to be an outdoor specialist. I'm not knocking it if that's the course fate has allowed I'm to follow but personally I don't feel relegated to that kind of picture.[4]

He directed Monkeys, Go Home! (1967), a Disney movie; The Way West (1967) an epic Western with Kirk Douglas; The Ballad of Josie (1967), a comic Western with Doris Day, made at Universal; the war story The Devil's Brigade (1968) with William Holden, for producer David Wolper; and the western Bandolero! co-starring Stewart, Raquel Welch, and Dean Martin at Fox.[8]

McLaglen made three films in a row with John Wayne. The first was Hellfighters (1969), a biopic of Red Adair, for Universal.[9] Then was The Undefeated (1969), a Western with Rock Hudson; and Chisum (1970), a Western for Batjac and Warners.[3][10]

McLaglen continued to specialise in Westerns. He did One More Train to Rob (1971) with George Peppard, under the director's contract with Universal, then Fools' Parade (1971) with James Stewart and George Kennedy, which McLaglen made for his own company through Columbia and said was his favourite film[3]

He did Something Big starring Martin; and Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973) with Wayne and Kennedy. "I don't really have any formula," he said in 1971. "I just use myself as a guide."[11]

Return to televisionEdit

McLaglen says "Then I had a little bit of a lapse" in his career.[3] He returned to television doing episodes of Banacek with Peppard, Hec Ramsey with Richard Boone and Amy Prentiss. He made some TV movies The Log of the Black Pearl (1975) and Stowaway to the Moon (1975) then returned to features with Mitchell (1975) with Joe Don Baker and The Last Hard Men (1976) with James Coburn and Charlton Heston.

McLaglen made some more TV movies, Banjo Hackett: Roamin' Free (1976), Royce (1976), Murder at the World Series (1977), and Trail of Danger (1978). He also directed episodes of Code R, The Fantastic Journey, and Nashville 99,

Adventure filmsEdit

McLaglen was hired to make a adventure films, The Wild Geese (1978), with Richard Burton, Richard Harris and Roger Moore. McLaglen said the film " was a whole new start for my career".[3] It was a huge success, and McLaglen then made Breakthrough (1979), a war film with Burton; North Sea Hijack (1979), an action film with Moore; The Sea Wolves (1980), a war movie from the producer of The Sea Wolves, with Moore and Gregory Peck.

McLaglen returned to television to make The Shadow Riders (1982) with Tom Selleck; The Blue and the Gray, an elaborate mini series about the Civil War; and Travis McGee (1983) starring Sam Elliott as Travis McGee, a pilot for a proposed series.[12]

He directed Brooke Shields in Sahara (1983), then did two works for TV: The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985) and On Wings of Eagles (1986).[13]

His last feature films were Return from the River Kwai (1989) and Eye of the Widow (1991). McLaglen then retired and moved to San Juan Island, where he directed for the San Juan Island Community Theater.[3]

Later yearsEdit

McLaglen later moved to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington State, directing plays for San Juan Island Community Theater.[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

McLaglen and his first wife, Margarita Harrison, had one child: Sharon McLaglen Lannan (born 1944).

He and his second wife, actress Veda Ann Borg were married in 1946 and separated in 1954, divorcing in 1957. They had one child: Andrew Victor McLaglen II (August 3, 1954 – January 16, 2006).[14]

He and his third wife, Sally Pierce, had two children, Josh and Mary McLaglen.


Andrew V. McLaglen died August 30, 2014, age 94, in Friday Harbor, Washington.[15]

Films directedEdit

Television directedEdit

Miscellaneous contributionsEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Armstrong, Stephen B. Andrew V. McLaglen: The Life and Hollywood Career. McFarland & Co. 2011. ISBN 0-7864-4977-2.


  1. ^ Joyner, C. Courtney (2009-10-14). The Westerners: Interviews with Actors, Directors, Writers and Producers. McFarland. ISBN 9780786443031. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  2. ^ Andrew V McLaglen Farquhar, Simon. The Independent; London (UK) [London (UK)]06 Sep 2014: 43.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dixon, Wheeler Winston (April 2009). "Andrew V. McLaglen: Last of the Hollywood Professionals". Senses of Cinema.
  4. ^ a b Scheuer, Philip K, "Andrew McLaglen: A Home Product," Los Angeles Times 13 Dec 1966: E19
  5. ^ Scheuer, P. K. (Apr 28, 1960). "Laughs ill-timed in college comedy". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 167694965.
  6. ^ Dexter, Maury (2012). Highway to Hollywood (PDF). pp. 96–97.
  7. ^ "Victor McLaglen's Son Asks Child Support Cut", Los Angeles Times 8 Mar 1960: 5.
  8. ^ MOVIE CALL SHEET: Savalas Joins Lancaster Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 25 Nov 1966: d30.
  9. ^ MOVIE CALL SHEET: 'Hellfighters' for McLaglen Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 9 Dec 1967: 18.
  10. ^ Browning, Norma Lee (13 Apr 1969). "Here Come The Duke". Chicago Tribune. p. k20.
  11. ^ 'something big' in more ways than one Martin, James. Chicago Tribune (1963-1996); Chicago, Ill. [Chicago, Ill]28 Nov 1971: t17.
  12. ^ Mills, Bart (18 May 1983). "THIS STAR HATES WHAT THEY'VE DONE TO TRAVIS MCGEE". Philadelphia Inquirer. p. D.8.
  13. ^ 'Peg' eyes Broadway despite suit Beck, Marilyn. Chicago Tribune 24 Aug 1982: c10.
  14. ^ "Actress Veda Ann Borg Sues for Divorce", Los Angeles Times, 26 Feb 1957: B1
  15. ^ "Acclaimed film director, Andrew McLaglen, dead at 94". San Juan Journal. September 2, 2014.

External linksEdit