Always an interesting character. And often cast opposite the screen’s most beautiful actresses.

Yes, you will probably recognize this solid actor’s voice more than anything else about him — svelte, soothing, cultured and most menacing. Who can easily forget his silken portrayal of the mysteriously rich figure with ambiguous designs on Rita Hayworth in top form in 1946’s Gilda.

Gilda (1946)

In fact Macready, born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1899, was a college educated (Brown, class of 1921) actor who rolled up a significant backround in Shakespearean stage productions — he played opposite Kathryn Cornell in Romeo and Juliet in 1934 — before setting foot in Hollywood in the early Forties.

In Hollywood he remained for some 30 years, acting in a host of not-bad films and, later, a slew of commendable tv vehicles. In doing so, he rolled up a several hundred movie and tv credits, making Macready one of the busiest character actors in recent memory.

We especially like him as a nasty, ambitious French general during World War I, who almost blithely consigns his troops to sudden and grisly death while contemplating the day’s luncheon menu. The picture is director Stanley Kubrik’s 1957 drama Paths of Glory, in which Macready and Kirk Douglas go at it with gusto.

George Macready, Kirk Douglas - Paths of Glory (1957) -

Some final bits: Macready carried with him throughout his career a nasty curved scar on his right cheek (see above), the result of a car accident in 1919. A lifelong art connoisseur, he opened a small art gallery in Beverly Hills in the Forties. His partner? Fellow connoisseur and good friend Vincent Price.

Macready died of emphysema in 1973, at the age of 73. A great villain, indeed.

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