Father Was a Fullback

Father Was a Fullback is a 1949 black-and-white film from 20th Century Fox based on a comedy by Clifford Goldsmith. The film is about a college American football star and his woes. The film stars Fred MacMurray, Maureen O'Hara, Natalie Wood, and Betty Lynn.

Father Was a Fullback
1950 Theatrical Poster
Directed byJohn M. Stahl
Produced byFred Kohlmar
Written byAleen Leslie
Casey Robinson
Mary Loos
Richard Sale
StarringFred MacMurray
Rudy Vallee
Maureen O'Hara
Natalie Wood
Betty Lynn
Thelma Ritter
Music byCyril J. Mockridge
CinematographyLloyd Ahern
Edited byJ. Watson Webb Jr.
Distributed byTwentieth Century Fox
Release date
  • September 30, 1949 (1949-09-30)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$1.8 million[1]

Plot summary

State College football coach George Cooper (Fred MacMurray) has more than enough problems on the job without his teenage daughter Connie (Betty Lynn) complicating his life at home. She has written a story but no one has agreed to publish it yet. Furthermore she is convinced that she is unattractive to the opposite sex and wallows in frustrated self-pity. Resigning herself to a loveless existence, she decides to make literature her life. When she gets a check for $180 for a fictional article she pens about a teenage bubble dancer that recently appeared in a confessions magazine, the boys come calling. The young author dates a high school football star from across town who chooses to attend State College (rather than Notre Dame University) to be near his newfound sweetheart. She is the first girl he likes more than football. George's football and domestic problems seem to be solved.

His wife Elizabeth (Maureen O'Hara) and housekeeper Geraldine (Thelma Ritter) support the family members in distress, while the younger sister Ellen (Natalie Wood) helps Connie and her father out during this difficult time. In the end she feels much like her sister did in the beginning.



  • Fred MacMurray as George "Coop" Cooper, a college football coach
  • Maureen O'Hara as Elizabeth Cooper, his wife
  • Betty Lynn as Constance "Connie" Cooper, his oldest daughter
  • Natalie Wood as Ellen Cooper, his youngest daughter
  • Thelma Ritter as Geraldine, his housekeeper
  • Jim Backus as Professor "Sully" Sullivan, his neighbor (performing under the name, James G. Backus)
  • Rudy Vallee as Mr. Roger "Jess" Jessup, a football supporter

Supporting players

  • Robert Adler as Grandstand Bit Part (uncredited)
  • Don Barclay as Grandstand "Coach" (uncredited)
  • Gilbert Barnett as Stinky Parker (uncredited)
  • Rodney Bell as Grandstand "Coach" (uncredited)
  • Tom Bernard as Delivery Boy (uncredited)
  • Harry Carter as Grandstand Bit Part (uncredited)
  • Ruth Clifford as Neighbor (uncredited)
  • Heinie Conklin as Ed (uncredited)
  • Fred Dale as Cheerleader (uncredited)
  • Gwenn Fields as Daphne Sullivan (uncredited)
  • Bess Flowers as Football Fan (uncredited)
  • Charles Flynn as Policeman (uncredited)
  • Tom Hanlon as Radio Announcer (uncredited)
  • Sam Harris as Alumnus at Dinner (uncredited)
  • Joe Haworth as Skip, Reporter in Locker Room (uncredited)
  • Don Hicks as Bill (uncredited)
  • Pat Kane as Bellhop (uncredited)
  • Kenner G. Kemp as Alumnus at Dinner (uncredited)
  • Louise Lorimer as Mrs. Jones (uncredited)
  • Lee MacGregor as Cheerleader (uncredited)
  • Mike Mahoney as Pete, the Sailor (uncredited)
  • Buddy Martin as Cheerleader (uncredited)
  • Mickey McCardle as Jones (uncredited)
  • John McKee as Cy (uncredited)
  • Frank Mills as Assistant Football Coach (uncredited)
  • Forbes Murray as Mr. Higgins, College President (uncredited)
  • Robert Patten as Manager (uncredited)
  • Bill Radovich as Football Player (uncredited)
  • William Self as Willie Davis (uncredited)
  • Richard Tyler as Hercules Smith a.k.a. Joe Birch (uncredited)
  • Wilson Wood as Grandstand "Coach" (uncredited)

Behind the scenes


  1. "Top Grossers of 1949". Variety. 4 January 1950. p. 59.
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