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Acclaimed film director, Andrew McLaglen, dead at 94
Celebrated film director and longtime San Juan Island resident Andrew McLaglen died Saturday, Aug. 30, at his Friday Harbor home.
He was 94.
The son of former professional boxer and Academy Award-winning British actor Victor McLaglen ("The Informer," 1935) and Enid Lamont, MaLaglen was born July 28, 1920, in England, and later raised in Southern California, and Hollywood, where the McLaglens relocated from England shortly after his birth.
Born into a theatrical family with a rich cinematic history, McLaglen became a film industry luminary in his own right, directing 28 full-length feature films, largely Western and action-adventure movies, many of which featured John Wayne ("Cahill U.S. Marshal," "McLintock!") or James Stewart ("Shenandoah," "Rare Breed") in the lead role.
He earned accolades as a television director as well, directing countless episodes of many of the most popular television series of his day, including seven episodes of Perry Mason, six episodes of Rawhide and 96 episodes of Gunsmoke.
Beginning in 1956, with "Man in a Vault," MaLaglen's career as a film and television director spanned more than three decades. He directed his last major motion picture, "Return from the River Kwai," in 1989.
Following retirement from the Hollywood film industry, McLaglen relocated to San Juan Island, where he became a year-round resident, outspoken supporter of the performing arts and would frequently lend his expertise at San Juan Community Theatre, including directing the memorable 2008 production of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple."
Many milestones and highlights of McLaglen's illustrious career behind the camera are on display in San Juan Island sole movie house, The Palace Theater, which has long maintained a "Wall of Fame" in its foyer in his honor, featuring on-location and candid photographs, movie billboards and a host of cinematic memorabilia.
— Editor's note: A full obituary from the McLaglen family is expected to be published in the near future