Raymond McKee

Eldon Raymond McKee (December 7, 1892 – October 3, 1984), also credited as Roy McKee, was an American stage and screen actor. His film debut was in the 1912 production The Lovers' Signal. Over the next 23 years, he performed in no less than 172 additional films.

Raymond McKee
Raymond McKee 001.jpg
Born
Eldon Raymond McKee

(1892-12-07)December 7, 1892
DiedOctober 3, 1984(1984-10-03) (aged 91)
Other namesRoy McKee
OccupationActor
Years active1912–1935
Spouse(s)
(m. 1923)

Early lifeEdit

McKee was born in Keokuk, Iowa, to Albert N. McKee and Alice Yetter McKee. During World War I, he was an Army lieutenant in France and reportedly wore his uniform in four war-themed films.[1]

Stage and film careersEdit

On Broadway, McKee portrayed Jack Weaver in The Phantom Legion (1919).[2] He also acted on stage in A Fool There Was, The Fortune Teller, and Madame X.[1]

Early in his acting career, McKee also made films in the eastern United States for the Edison and Lubin studios and was billed as "Roy McKee".[1]

The Smith FilmsEdit

From 1926 to 1928, he was associated with Mack Sennett, with McKee portraying Jimmy Smith in a series of approximately 30 Smith Family comedy films.[1] Supporting cast included several regulars: Ruth Hiatt as Mabel Smith; Mary Ann Jackson as Bubbles Smith; Carole Lombard aa Lillian; Andy Clyde as Uncle Dan; Leo Sulky as Jimmy's friend; Sunshine Hart as Jimmy's Mother-in-Law. Produced by Mack Sennett the series included many of the regular Sennet characters: Tiny Ward, Vernon Dent, Irving Bacon, William McCall, Louise Carver, Barney Hellum, Billy Gilbert etc. The films (all silent) were released at a rate of roughly one per month as one-reel fillers.

The series is best remembered as the launch pad for Carole Lombard who quickly eclipsed McKee in her fame.

The films in sequence were: Smith's Baby (1926); Smith's Vacation (1926); Smith's Landlord (1926); Smith's Visitor (1926); Smith's Uncle (1926); Smith's Picnic (1926); Smith's Pets (1927); Smith's Customer (1927); Smith's New Home (1927); Smith's Surprise (1927); Smith's Kindergarten (1927); Smith's Fishing Trip (1927); Smith's Candy Shop (1927); Smith's Pony (1927); Smith's Cook (1927); Smith's Cousin (1927); Smith's Modiste Shop (1927); Smith's Holiday (1928); Smith's Army Life (1928); Smith's Farm Days (1928); Smith's Restaurant (1928); Smith's Burglar (1928); and Smith's Catalina Rowboat Race (1928).

Personal life and deathEdit

During the filming of The Unbeliever in 1918, McKee worked with his future wife, actress Marguerite Courtot. The two performers worked together again in 1922 in the production Down to the Sea in Ships. They wed the following year on April 14 and remained married for nearly 60 years, until Raymond's death.[1] After retiring from acting, McKee focused his attention on The Zulu Hut, a restaurant that he originally opened in Los Angeles in the 1920s.[1]

McKee died on October 3, 1984, at age 91, in Long Beach, California, from pneumonia. A United States Army veteran, his gravesite is at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, California.[3] His wife Marguerite was buried alongside him two years later.[citation needed]

Partial filmographyEdit

 
A still from the 1922 horror film A Blind Bargain with McKee (right) and Lon Chaney as "The Hunchback".

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Longden, Tom (March 23, 2008). "McKee proved his versatility in silent film era". The Des Moines Register. Iowa, Des Moines. p. 2 B. Retrieved April 30, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ "Raymond McKee". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on April 30, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2020.
  3. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). McFarland. p. 501. ISBN 9781476625997.

External linksEdit