Obituary: Macdonald Carey

Edward Macdonald Carey, actor: born Sioux City, Iowa 5 March 1913; married 1941 Betty Heckscher (three sons, three daughters; marriage dissolved 1969); died Beverly Hills, California 21 March 1994.

THE STAR or featured player in over 50 films, including Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt and Losey's The Damned, Macdonald Carey was also a prolific radio, theatre and television performer who, despite a nearly lifelong addiction to alcohol, rarely stopped working.

Born in Iowa in 1913 and educated at the Sioux City and Wisconsin Universities, Carey gained a Masters degree in Drama and made his stage debut in 1936 at the Globe Theatre in Dallas. His rich, virile voice led to extensive radio work and starring roles in popular soap operas of the period, including the deliciously titled John's Other Wife. By the time he made his Broadway debut as one of Gertrude Lawrence's leading men in the musical Lady in the Dark he was already drinking heavily. '1941 was probably the greatest year of my life,' he said later. 'I got my first big hit with Lady in the Dark, I got married and I signed with Paramount Pictures. I only wish I could remember it all better.'

His first film, Dr Broadway (1942), also the first for its director Anthony Mann, was a taut little thriller in which Carey was a Times Square doctor involved with murder. After a featured role in Mitchell Leisen's comedy Take a Letter, Darling (1942), Carey had two of his best opportunities. In John Farrow's Wake Island (also 1942), depicting the heroic stand of the 385 marines who vainly refused to surrender to the Japanese, Carey was a pilot who undertakes a suicide mission to avenge his wife's death at Pearl Harbor, and he followed this with a role as the detective who masquerades as a pollster while tracking a serial killer in Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt (1943). His performance won praise, though on one occasion during shooting he was shaking so much from the effects of a hangover that Hitchcock had to order that a bottle of bourbon be brought on to the set.

His career lost its momentum when he enlisted in the Marines. He had a champion at Paramount in the director Mitchell Leisen, but the post-war films in which he was cast were among the director's weakest. Carey was impressive as the mean-spirited villain in the western Streets of Laredo (1949) and as the narrator Nick Carraway in Elliott Nugent's earnest version of The Great Gatsby (1949), but too often his films were mild and his performances bland.

Joseph Losey's The Lawless (1950), a melodramatic account of bigotry against Mexican fruit-pickers in southern California, gave Carey, as a crusading journalist, his favourite role, and the same year he made his television debut. Though he made several more films only one, Losey's off-beat science-fiction thriller The Damned, filmed in England in 1961, was notable.

In 1965 he created the television role of the kindly patriarch Dr Tom Horton in the daytime soap opera The Days of Our Lives and was to play the role for nearly 30 years, opening each show with his voice- over intoning, 'Like sands through the hour-glass, so are the days of our lives.' The role brought him two Emmy Awards (1974 and 1975) as Best Actor in a Daytime Drama.

Carey wrote three books of poetry and in 1991 an autobiography, The Days of My Life, which revealed that his lifelong drinking problem was finally vanquished when he joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 1982.

(Photograph omitted)

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Talent Community Coordinator

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Talent Community Coordinator is nee...

Business Support - Banking - Halifax - £250 pd

£150 - £250 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - HR - Halifax - £150 - £250...

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little