Stephen McNally

Susan Peters & Horace McNally

Stephen McNally. Wikipedia.

Stephen McNally (born Horace Vincent McNally, July 29, 1911 – June 4, 1994) was an American actor remembered mostly for his appearances in many Westerns and action films. He often played hard-hearted characters or villains.

Born in New York City, McNally attended Fordham University School of Law and was an attorney in the late 1930s before he pursued his passion for acting. He was a one time president of the Catholic Actors Guild.

He started his stage career using his real name, Horace McNally, and began appearing uncredited in many World War II-era films. In 1948, he changed his stage name to Stephen McNally (taking the name of his then-2-year-old son)[3] and began appearing credited as both movie villains and heroes. In 1940, as “Horace McNally,” he played Dr. Richardson in the Broadway stage production of Johnny Belinda. 

He played menacing roles in such films as Johnny Belinda (1948)[6] and the James Stewart Western Winchester ’73 (1950). He co-starred in the Burt Lancaster film noir Criss Cross(1949). Other notable 1950s films included No Way Out (1950), Split Second (1953) and Johnny Rocco (1958).

McNally was cast in three episodes of the ABC religion anthology series Crossroads. He portrayed Monsigneur Harold Engle in “Ringside Padre” (1956) and Father Flanagan of the Boys Town orphanage in Nebraska in “Convict 1321, Age 21” (1957). In between, he was cast as United States Army General George S. Patton, in “The Patton Prayer” (also 1957). McNally also appeared in the episode “Specimen: Unknown” from the anthology series The Outer Limits.

McNally also co-starred on the 1958 episode, “The Ben Courtney Story” on Wagon Train as a former Union soldier turned sheriff. In 1959, he portrayed Clay Thompson, a bounty hunter, with Myron Healey as a sheriff, in the CBS Western series, The Texan, starring Rory Calhoun.

In the 1960 episode “The Mormons” on the CBS western, Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre McNally played Matt Rowland, who tries to block a wagon train of Mormons from entering his town, as they are suspected of carrying cholera. Things change quickly, when Rowland’s son, Tod (Mark Goddard), becomes interested in a young lady on the train, Beth Lawson (Tuesday Weld).

In another 1960 role, McNally was cast in the episode “Moment of Fear” of the CBS/Four Star Television anthology seriesThe DuPont Show with June Allyson, with episode co-stars Edgar Bergen and Darryl Hickman. Thereafter, he appeared in the NBC anthology series The Barbara Stanwyck Show, and in the Darren McGavin western series Riverboat. In 1961, he portrayed the part of Sky Blackstorm in the episode “Incident of the Blackstorms” on CBS’s Rawhide.

In the 1961–62 season, McNally and Robert Harland had their own crime drama on ABC, another Four Star Production called Target: The Corruptors!. The program aired on Friday in a good time slot after the popular 77 Sunset Strip, but it failed to gain renewal for a second season. McNally played a crusading newspaper reporter in the series, with Harland cast as his undercover agent. In 1971 McNally appeared as Gus Muller in “The Men From Shiloh” (rebranded name for the TV western The Virginian) in the episode titled “The Angus Killer.” During the 1970s, McNally guest starred on television programs such as Fantasy IslandStarsky & HutchCharlie’s Angels, and James Garner‘s The Rockford Files and Police Story.

McNally died of a heart attack June 4, 1994, at age 82, at his home in Beverly Hills, California. He and his wife, Rita, had eight children.

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