Andrew McLaglen

Andrew V. McLaglen


Veteran film director, Andrew V. McLaglen, 94, of Friday Harbor, Washington, passed away peacefully at his home on Saturday morning, August 30, 2014.

Born in London, England, he was the son of Academy Award-winning British actor Victor McLaglen and Enid Lamont. The family moved to Hollywood in 1925 when Andrew was five years old.

His interest in filmmaking began during his high school years at Cate School, just outside Santa Barbara, Calif. There he began making 16mm movies with his friends.

After spending one year at the University of Virginia he decided to pursue a film career against the advice of his father. He got his first job in 1945 as a production assistant at Republic Pictures. Andrew went on to work as an assistant director with John Ford (“The Quiet Man”) and William A. Wellman (“The High and the Mighty,” “Island in the Sky,” and “Blood Alley”). Andrew was then given his first directing opportunities by John Wayne on “Gun the Man Down” and “Man in the Vault.”  

Andrew went on to a prolific career in television, directing 96 episodes of Gunsmoke (1956-1965) and 116 episodes of Have Gun Will Travel (1957-1963).

He returned to films in 1963 when he directed “McClintock!” starring John Wayne. He subsequently directed 26 films, among them the John Wayne starrers “Hellfighters,” “The Undefeated,” “Chisum” and “Cahill, US Marshall.” His other films include “Shenandoah,“ “The Rare Breed,” “Bandalero!” and “Fools Parade” all starring James Stewart.

He worked with many of Hollywood’s greatest actors, including Richard Burton, Dean Martin, Kirk Douglas, Roger Moore, Robert Mitchum, Burt Lancaster, Gregory Peck, and William Holden.

At 6-foot, 7-inches he earned the nickname “Big A.” He was indeed larger than life and loved by all of his actors and crews.

Many who worked with Andrew share his favorite little trick. He would stand on the edge of your shoe, stepping just enough so you couldn’t pull your foot away. He would watch you struggle, all the while pretending not to notice. Always a twinkle of play in every encounter…

He moved to San Juan Island, Washington in 1975, where he found his paradise. He met and married his 4th wife, Sheila Corbett in 1987. She passed away in 2005.

He was very active in the local community theatre in Friday Harbor, directing many plays over the years with the local talent. His love of film, theatre and life was evident in all that he did.

An avid tennis player and fan, Andrew traveled yearly to London to attend Queen’s Club and Wimbledon. Screams echoed off the pond on Sundays when everyone gathered at Andrew’s house to watch his beloved Seahawks. You could hear his roar across the island this January when his team made Superbowl history.

He is survived by his three children; Sharon Lannan, Josh McLaglen and Mary McLaglen, and his step daughter Laura Geniuch. His son Andrew Jr. died in 2006. He is also survived by his 10 grandchildren, all of whom will dearly miss him.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the San Juan Community Theatre, 100 2nd Street North, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.

— Family of Andrew V. McLaglen