Donald MacBride

Donald Hugh MacBride (June 23, 1893 – June 21, 1957) was an American character actor on stage, in films, and on television who launched his career as a teenage singer (making several recordings in 1907) in vaudeville and went on to be an actor in New York.

Donald MacBride
Donald MacBride in My Favorite Wife trailer.jpg
MacBride in the trailer for My Favorite Wife (1940)
Donald Hugh MacBride

(1893-06-23)June 23, 1893
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
DiedJune 21, 1957(1957-06-21) (aged 63)
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City
Years active1914–1955
Esther MacBride
(m. 1930)


Donald MacBride was born 1893 in Brooklyn, New York.[1]

MacBride appeared in nearly 140 films between 1914 and 1955. His year of birth is given variously as 1889 or 1893 in the standard reference books.[1]

Motion picturesEdit

Beginning in 1930, like many New York-based, stage-trained actors, he found work at the Paramount, Vitaphone, and Educational studios, all of which had East Coast branches. He is clearly visible as a crowd extra welcoming Groucho Marx in the Paramount feature Animal Crackers. Speaking roles in short subjects followed, establishing MacBride as a comic tough guy or villain opposite Tom Howard, Shemp Howard, Buster Keaton, and other comedy stars.

MacBride's fortunes improved when he was featured in the hit play Room Service.[2] In this farce comedy about a shoestring producer and his desperate associates trying to avoid eviction from a hotel, MacBride played the no-nonsense hotel manager, who frequently met bad news with an explosive "Oh, God damn!"

RKO Radio Pictures bought the film rights to Room Service as a vehicle for The Marx Brothers, and brought many of the Broadway cast members to Hollywood, including Donald MacBride reprising his role (with his catchphrase sanitized to "Jumping butterballs!"). Hollywood producers noticed MacBride's comic timing and he was established overnight as a skilled character actor. Like fellow character comedian Edgar Kennedy, MacBride specialized in the comedy of frustration, and his portrayals showed the harried MacBride enduring various indignities quietly and gradually until he finally reached a boiling point. He often played police inspectors, detectives, military officers, and other authority figures, all of whom were tormented by the leading players in the films.

MacBride signed a non-exclusive RKO contract, allowing him to freelance among the major studios for the next several years. In 1947, with the larger studios cutting down on the number of films in production, MacBride accepted featured roles at smaller studios: Monogram, Republic, and Lippert. He continued to work at the larger studios, but often in small or uncredited roles.

MacBride was an early arrival in the new field of television, having appeared in the pioneering series Public Prosecutor in 1947. He continued to work in television until shortly before his death.


MacBride died on 1957 in Los Angeles, California of a heart ailment. He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California.[3] Survivors included his wife and a stepson, Jack Craddock.[1][4]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Donald M'Bride, Actor, 63, Dead: Stage, Screen and Television Performer Was Noted for Many Character Roles". The New York Times. June 23, 1957. p. 84.
  2. ^ "("Donald MacBride" search results)". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Archived from the original on April 3, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2017.
  3. ^ "Donald MacBride (1893 - 1957) - Find A Grave Memorial".
  4. ^ "Film, Stage, TV Actor Donald MacBride Dies". The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Texas, Corpus Christi. Associated Press. June 24, 1957. p. 28.

External linksEdit