David Bruce (actor)

David Bruce (born Marden Andrew McBroom; January 6, 1914 – May 3, 1976)[1] was an American film actor. He was a company member of Peninsula Players Theatre in Fish Creek, Wisconsin in 1939.

David Bruce
David Bruce in Salome Where She Danced.jpg
Bruce in Salome, Where She Danced (1945)
Marden Andrew McBroom

(1914-01-06)January 6, 1914
DiedMay 3, 1976(1976-05-03) (aged 62)
Alma materNorthwestern University
Years active1940–1956
Cynthia Sory
(m. 1943; died 1962)
Children2, including Amanda McBroom

Life and careerEdit

Born in Kankakee, Illinois, Marden Andrew McBroom was known as "Andy" to his friends. McBroom entered Northwestern University in 1934 intending to study law but became a drama major.[2]

In 1940, after extensive travel for theater work, McBroom made his way to California and signed with a Hollywood agent, Henry Willson.[2] The agent changed his name to David Bruce and got him a stock contract at Warner Brothers. Bruce's first role was in the Errol Flynn movie The Sea Hawk (1940). The 6' 1" (1.85 m) actor was released from his Warner's contract to join the Naval Air Force at the outset of World War II, but he was discharged due to a chronic ear infection.[2] After appearing in the John Wayne movie Flying Tigers (1942), Universal Pictures offered him a long-term contract. At the war's end, Universal did not renew Bruce's contract. During the 1950s, Bruce acted in several Columbia pictures, appeared on television, and wrote for television.[3]

Bruce (left) plays a Protestant and Bruce Edwards his Jewish colleague in Prejudice (1949)

Personal lifeEdit

He met his future wife, Cynthia Sory when she directed him in a Northwestern University production of Henry IV.[4] Bruce was the father of singer-songwriter Amanda McBroom, who wrote the song The Rose, made popular by Bette Midler. His daughter wrote a tribute to her father in a song titled "Errol Flynn."[5] He was also the father of John Jolliffe, a psychologist in Orange County, CA.


Bruce withdrew from acting after 1956. His wife died after a lengthy illness in 1962. Bruce eventually returned to Kankakee to work for a relative's promotional film company.[3] Amanda McBroom's own burgeoning Hollywood acting career paved the way for Bruce's return to acting.[5] Bruce died from a heart attack in Hollywood, California at the age of 62, immediately after wrapping his first scene on the film Moving Violations.[6][2]


Errol Flynn songEdit

Amanda McBroom says that the lyrics to her song about her father, Errol Flynn, are "absolutely" true, including that Errol Flynn was one of Bruce's best friends."[4] Amanda McBroom confirms that excessive drinking "destroyed him for a while."[4] The lyric that Bruce "died with his boots on" does not refer to the Errol Flynn movie (which Bruce did not appear in) but rather to the manner in which David Bruce died, on a film set as a working actor.[4]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "David Bruce". BFI.
  2. ^ a b c d "Pygmy Island". Retrieved September 9, 2014.(dead link)
  3. ^ a b Johnson, Vic. "Celluloid Dreams on the Silver Screen: "To the delirious eye/More lovely things of Paradise and Love" by Vic Johnson". Goodreads. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d "Radio Interview with Amanda McBroom by John Haines, Voices of the North program, January 15, 2009". Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Amanda McBroom: Errol Flynn". Retrieved September 17, 2012.
  6. ^ Hal Erickson. "David Bruce – Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos – AllMovie". AllMovie.

External linksEdit