Who was Fred MacMurray?

Fred MacMurray was likely the most underrated actor of his generation. No other actor working in the 1940s and 50s was able to score so supremely whenever cast against type. Despite his early successes, his career waned considerably by the late 1950s and he finished out the decade working in a handful of non-descript westerns. Yet he was one of Walt Disney’s favorite actors and MacMurray's career got its second wind beginning in 1959 when he was cast as the dog-hating father figure (well, he was a retired mailman) in the first Walt Disney live-action comedy, The Shaggy Dog in 1959. The film was an enormous hit and Uncle Walt green lighted several projects around his middle-aged star. He went on to star in several more of Walt Disney movies.

MacMurray was also cast in 1961 as Professor Ned Brainerd in Disney's The Absent Minded Professor (1961) and in its superior sequel, Son of Flubber (1963).  Between those two successful movies, Walt cast him in Bon Voyage! (1962). These hit Disney comedies raised his late-career profile considerably and producer Don Fedderson beckoned with My Three Sons debuting in 1960 on ABC. In 1966, Fred starred in another Disney favorite, Follow Me Boys along with a young actor, Kurt Russell.

His last film for Walt was The Happiest Millionaire, which was the last live- action films Walt Disney personally oversaw but would never see the finished product.

 

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Fred was born on August 30, 1908  in Kankakee, Illinois, USA. He died on November 5, 1991 at the age of 83.

 


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