By the time Fred MacMurray, born in Kankakee, Illinois in 1908, emerged as one of Hollywood’s highest paid male movie stars in 1943, he probably long had gotten used to being taken for granted.
Today, he is known primarily not as a movie star but as a prime-time tv sitcom luminary who became one of Hollywood’s richest actors.
We’d like to think that our Monday Quiz is a way to assure MacMurray (wherever he is; he died in 1991 at age 83) that his earlier film work is appreciated, and even taken seriously. After all, he worked with the likes of Bogart, Katherine Hepburn and Deitrich, and costarred in some of the finest movies made in the 1940’s.
More than one critic has observed that behind that all-American wholesomeness lay a tawdry con man who would betray you as easily as smile at you. In other words, MacMurray was a remarkably effective actor — often convincingly implying one thing and doing quite another.
MacMurray’s career was long, from the early 1930’s until the late 1970’s. Let’s see just how much you know about his work, especially in the earlier years. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow. Here we go:
1) Question: Which one of the following classic movie actresses made the most movies opposite MacMurray? a) Barbara Stanwyck; b) Paulette Goddard; c) Carol Lombard or d) Claudette Colbert.
2) Question: MacMurray did not set out to be an actor initially. Instead he persued a career as a) a musician; b) a magician; c) an insurance salesman; or d) a movie studio executive?
3) Question: MacMurray was personally and politically a conservative type (he voted Republican), and married only twice (his first wife left him a real life widower when she died at age 43) — the second time for 37 years to an actress who had quit the movies to enter a convent. Who is wife No. 2? a) June Haver; b) June Allyson; c) Barbara Payton; or d) Betty Hutton.
4) Question: MacMurray was said to have been formally introduced to wife No. 2 by: a) Bob Hope; b) John Wayne; c) Alan Ladd; or d) Louella Parsons.
5) Question: When first approached by director Billy Wilder to play the male lead in 1944’s Double Indemnity, Mac Murray resisted. Why?
6) Question: MacMurray’s movie career was profitably extended by which one of the following moguls? a) Harry Cohn; b) Jack Warner; c) Darryl Zanuck; or d) Walt Disney.
7) Question: MacMurray’s successful 1947 film, The Egg and I, spawned an even more successful comedy series costarring Marjorie Main and Percy Kilbride. What was the name of this franchise?
8) Question: In perhaps MacMurray’s finest role, in 1954’s The Caine Mutiny, he plays a stalwart good guy who protects his military superior. a) True; or b) False?
9) Question: MacMurray famously played ultimate widower/father Steve Douglas in the 1960 tv series, My Three Sons, but he wasn’t the first choice for the part. Who was? a) Edd ‘Kookie’ Byrnes; b) Robert Young; c) Robert Walker; or d) Eddie Albert.
10) Question: Which one of the following directors worked most often with MacMurray? a) George Cukor; b) Mitchell Leisen; c) Willard Van Dyke; or d) Michael Curtiz.