Charles Butters (May 10, 1914 – July 30, 1980), best known by his stage name Charles McGraw, was an American actor.
May 10, 1914
Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.
|Died||July 30, 1980 66) (aged|
Studio City, California, U.S.
Freda Choy Kitt
(m. 1938; div. 1968)
The son of Francis Butters and Beatrice Crisp Butters, McGraw was born in Des Moines, Iowa. (A newspaper article published in 1951 says of McGraw, "He was born in New York City, but his parents moved to Akron, Ohio, when he was five years old.") In January 1932, he graduated from high school, later attending college for one semester.
McGraw made his first film in 1942 with a small, uncredited role in The Undying Monster at Fox. He was in Tonight We Raid Calais (1942) and They Came to Blow Up America (1943) at the same studio, and also Two Tickets to London (1943), Destroyer (1943), Corvette K-225 (1943), The Mad Ghoul (1943), The Impostor (1944), and The Seventh Cross (1944).
He developed into a leading man, especially in the film noir genre, during the late 1940s and early 1950s. His gravelly voice and rugged looks enhanced his appeal in that very stylistic genre.
McGraw was unbilled in The Farmer's Daughter (1947) and Brute Force (1947) and had small roles in The Big Fix (1947) and The Long Night (1947). He had slightly bigger parts in On the Old Spanish Trail (1947), a Roy Rogers Western, and some noirs, Roses Are Red (1947) and The Gangster (1947).
McGraw's parts remained small in T-Men (1947) for Anthony Mann, The Hunted (1948), Berlin Express (1948), Hazard (1948), and Blood on the Moon (1948). He had a bigger role in Once More, My Darling (1949), then went back to small parts in Reign of Terror (1949) and Border Incident (1949) for Mann, and The Story of Molly X (1949).
McGraw was finally given a leading role in RKO's Armored Car Robbery (1950) directed by Richard Fleischer. He played a gangster in His Kind of Woman (1951), then had the lead in Roadblock (1951) as "Honest Joe," the insurance investigator turned thief by love.
Fleischer used McGraw in the lead of The Narrow Margin (1952), which has become a cult classic. He was a sergeant in One Minute to Zero (1952) and War Paint (1953) and was a villain in Thunder Over the Plains (1954).
McGraw starred as Mike Waring, the title character, in the 39-episode 1954–55 syndicated television series Adventures of the Falcon. The series updated the original Falcon premise to have Michael Waring as a secret agent in the Cold War. He also starred in the first television version of Casablanca (1955), taking Humphrey Bogart's role as Rick Blaine.:165 Additionally, he had the role of Captain Hughes in The Smith Family. In 1963, McGraw played Dr. Simon Oliver in the pilot of Diagnosis: Danger, a medical drama.:257
In 1960, McGraw played United States Army scout Tom Barrows in the episode "The Scout" on the ABC/Desilu western television series The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp starring Hugh O'Brian. Though he has an Apache wife, Barrows is known for his attacks on Apache warriors. He is called "The Listener" because he cuts off and wears the ears of the Indians he has killed. The Indians retaliate by killing Barrows's wife. McGraw also appeared in an episode of The Untouchables titled "The Jake Lingle Killing." This was notable as a pre-Hawaii Five-O Jack Lord was the lead hero in the show instead of Ness. He also portrayed an trigger-happy rear admiral in an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea titled "The Sky is Falling."
Charles McGraw died after slipping and falling through a glass shower door in his Studio City, California, home on July 30, 1980, severing an artery in his arm. (A newspaper article published in 1981 gave August 2 as the date of McGraw's death.) His ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.
Honors and awards
- The Undying Monster (1942) - Strud Strudwick (uncredited)
- The Moon Is Down (1943) - Ole (uncredited)
- Tonight We Raid Calais (1943) - German Corporal (uncredited)
- They Came to Blow Up America (1943) - Zellerbach
- Two Tickets to London (1943) - Hendrik (uncredited)
- Mechanized Patrolling (1943) - Cpl. McGraw
- Destroyer (1943) - Assistant Chief Engineer (uncredited)
- Corvette K-225 (1943) - Chief Engineer (uncredited)
- The Mad Ghoul (1943) - Garrity
- The Impostor (1944) - Menessier
- The Seventh Cross (1944) - Allbright (uncredited)
- The Killers (1946) - Al
- The Farmer's Daughter (1947) - Fisher - Finley's Henchman (uncredited)
- The Big Fix (1947) - Armiston
- The Long Night (1947) - Policeman Stevens
- Brute Force (1947) - Andy (uncredited)
- On the Old Spanish Trail (1947) - Harry Blaisdell
- Roses Are Red (1947) - Duke Arno
- The Gangster (1947) - Dugas
- T-Men (1947) - Moxie
- The Hunted (1948) - Detective
- Berlin Express (1948) - USFET Col. Johns (uncredited)
- Hazard (1948) - Chick
- Blood on the Moon (1948) - Milo Sweet
- Once More, My Darling (1949) - Herman Schmelz, Chauffeur
- Reign of Terror (1949) - Sergeant
- Border Incident (1949) - Jeff Amboy
- The Story of Molly X (1949) - Police Capt. Breen
- The Threat (1949) - Arnold 'Red' Kluger
- Side Street (1949) - Det. Stan Simon
- Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town (1950) - Shotgun Mike Munger
- Armored Car Robbery (1950) - Lt. Jim Cordell
- Double Crossbones (1951) - Capt. Ben Wickett
- His Kind of Woman (1951) - Thompson / Narrator
- Roadblock (1951) - Joe Peters
- The Narrow Margin (1952) - Det. Sgt. Walter Brown
- One Minute to Zero (1952) - Sfc. Baker
- War Paint (1953) - Sgt. Clarke
- Thunder Over the Plains (1953) - Ben Westman
- Loophole (1954) - Gus Slavin
- The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955) - Cmdr. Wayne Lee
- Away All Boats (1956) - Lieut. Mike O'Bannion
- Toward the Unknown (1956) - Col. 'Mickey' McKee
- The Cruel Tower (1956) - Harry 'Stretch' Clay
- Joe Butterfly (1957) - Sgt. Jim McNulty
- Slaughter on Tenth Avenue (1957) - Lt. Anthony Vosnick
- Joe Dakota (1957) - Cal Moore
- Saddle the Wind (1958) - Larry Venables
- The Defiant Ones (1958) - Capt. Frank Gibbons
- Twilight for the Gods (1958) - Yancy
- The Man in the Net (1959) - Sheriff Steve Ritter
- The Wonderful Country (1959) - Dr. Herbert J. Stovall
- Spartacus (1960) - Marcellus
- Cimarron (1960) - Bob Yountis
- The Horizontal Lieutenant (1962) - Col. Charles Korotny
- The Birds (1963) - Sebastian Sholes - Fisherman in Diner
- It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) - Lt. Matthews
- Nightmare in Chicago (1964) - Harry Brockman
- In Cold Blood (1967) - Tex Smith
- The Busy Body (1967) - Fred Harwell
- Hang 'Em High (1968) - Sheriff Ray Calhoun
- Pendulum (1969) - Deputy Chief John P. Hildebrand
- Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969) - Sheriff Frank Wilson
- Johnny Got His Gun (1971) - Mike Burkeman
- Chandler (1971) - Bernie Oakman
- The Night Stalker (1972) - Chief Masterson
- The Longest Night (1972) - Father Chase
- A Boy and His Dog (1975) - Preacher
- The Killer Inside Me (1976) - Howard Hendricks
- Twilight's Last Gleaming (1977) - Air Force Gen. Peter Crane (final film role)
- Rode, Alan K. (2012). Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy. McFarland & Company. p. 7. ISBN 978-0786471720.
- West, Alice Pardoe (May 20, 1951). "Behind the Scenes". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. p. 23.
- Longden, Tom. "Charles McGraw". The Des Moines Register. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- "Charles McGraw Of 'Toki-Ri' Cast Has Lived Drama". Brooklyn Eagle. January 23, 1955. p. 29.
- Baxter, John (1970). The Gangster Film. New York: A. S. Barnes. p. 80. ASIN B007EUP0P4.
- "Adventures of The Falcon". ctva.biz. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- "The Falcon". The Thrilling Detective Web Site. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- Erickson, Hal (1989). Syndicated Television: The First Forty Years, 1947-1987. McFarland & Company. p. 18. ISBN 978-0786411986.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company. p. 984. ISBN 978-0786464777.
- The Scout (March 1, 1960) on IMDb
- "World mourns losses of giants of the entertainment world". Kokomo Tribune. January 2, 1981. p. 3.
- "Charles McGraw". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
- Charles McGraw on IMDb
- Charles McGraw at AllMovie
- Charles McGraw at the Internet Broadway Database
- Charles McGraw at Find a Grave
July, 2018: Information for any interested party: Not listed in Mr. McGraw's Wikipedia Filmography is his credited role as a French soldier in the 1949 movie: 'The Black Book 1' (Eagle-Lion Films).