Macdonald Carey

Edward Macdonald Carey (March 15, 1913 – March 21, 1994) was an American actor, best known for his role as the patriarch Dr. Tom Horton on NBC's soap opera Days of Our Lives. For almost three decades, he was the show's central cast member.[1]

Macdonald Carey
Macdonald Carey in 1969
Edward Macdonald Carey

(1913-03-15)March 15, 1913
DiedMarch 21, 1994(1994-03-21) (aged 81)
Burial placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Iowa
OccupationActor, Singer
Years active1938–1994
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Heckscher (19431969, divorced)
Partner(s)Lois Kraines (1973-1994) (his death)
AwardsBest Lead Actor in a Drama Series
1974 Days of Our Lives
1975 Days of Our Lives

He first made his career starring in various B-movies of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s (with a few A-picture exceptions like Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt). He was known in many Hollywood circles as "King of the Bs", sharing the throne with his "queen", Lucille Ball.


Early life

Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Carey graduated from the University of Iowa in Iowa City with a bachelor's degree in 1935, after attending the University of Wisconsin–Madison for a year where he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. He became involved with the drama school at the University of Iowa and decided to become an actor.[2]

Radio and Broadway

Carey toured with the Globe Players. He began to work steadily on radio, including playing Dick Grosvenor on the soap opera Stella Dallas[3] and Ridgeway Tearle in John's Other Wife,[4] both in the early 1940s. He was also in Lights Out.[5]

Carey was on Broadway in Lady in the Dark (1941) opposite Gertrude Lawrence, Danny Kaye and Victor Mature. His performance led to him receiving a contract offer from Paramount. He later recalled, "1941 was probably the greatest year of my life. 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." The reason was his alcoholism.[6]


Carey made his film debut in Star Spangled Rhythm (1942). Paramount gave him the third lead in Take a Letter, Darling (1942), directed by Mitchell Leisen. He followed it with Dr. Broadway (1942), which was his first starring role. He had a leading part in Wake Island (1942), directed by John Farrow, a big hit.

Carey's career received a boost when borrowed by Alfred Hitchcock at Universal to play the romantic lead in Shadow of a Doubt (1943) with Joseph Cotten and Teresa Wright. However the momentum was halted when he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He had two months before he left, which enabled him to star in a musical for Paramount, Salute for Three (1943). Carey was commissioned and served in Air Warning Squadron 2 in the Pacific.[7] He stayed on active duty until 1947 obtaining the rank of captain.[8]

In 1947 Carey returned to Paramount. They put him back into leading roles: Suddenly, It's Spring (1947), directed by Leisen, co-starring Paulette Goddard; Hazard (1948), again with Goddard; and Dream Girl (1948), supporting Betty Hutton, directed by Leisen.

Carey played Cesare Borgia in Bride of Vengeance (1948) alongside Goddard, directed by Leisen, but it was a flop. More popular was a Western, Streets of Laredo (1949), but William Holden was the hero; Carey was the villain.

In 1949 he co-starred as "Nick Carraway" in Alan Ladd's version of The Great Gatsby. Carey followed this with Song of Surrender (1949), once again directed by Leisen.

Universal and Fox

Universal borrowed Carey for two films: a Western with Maureen O'Hara, Comanche Territory (1950), and South Sea Sinner (1950) with Shelley Winters.

Back at Paramount he was in a low budget Western, The Lawless (1950) directed by Joseph Losey. Back at Paramount he was a villain to Ray Milland in Copper Canyon (1950), directed by John Farrow. At Paramount he was in Jesse James in The Great Missouri Raid (1951) and Mystery Submarine (1950) at Universal.

Carey supported Red Skelton at MGM in Excuse My Dust (1951).

At 20th Century Fox Carey supported Betty Grable in Meet Me After the Show (1951) and Claudette Colbert in Let's Make It Legal (1951). He went back to Universal for Cave of Outlaws (1951)

Carey began appearing on television in episodes of The Christophers, Celanese Theatre, Hope Chest, and Lux Video Theatre.

He continued to appear in films like My Wife's Best Friend (1952), at Fox with Anne Baxter; Count the Hours (1953), with Teresa Wright at RKO; Hannah Lee (1953), a Western with John Ireland; It's Everybody's Business (1953), and Malaga (1954) with Maureen O'Hara.

Carey returned to Broadway in Anniversary Waltz (1954–55), directed by Moss Hart, which was a big hit and ran for two years.[9]


Carey's work was increasingly on the small screen: The Quiet Gun, Stage 7, Science Fiction Theatre, Hour of Stars, Celebrity Playhouse, and The 20th Century-Fox Hour. For the latter he appeared as Fred Gaily in a remake of the 1947 film classic, Miracle on 34th Street, starring Maureen O'Hara and Thomas Mitchell. He was also in General Electric Theatre, Screen Directors Playhouse, The Alcoa Hour, and Climax!.

He did make some features such as Stranger at My Door (1956), a Western for Republic Pictures, and Odongo (1956) for Warwick Films.

Dr Christian

In 1956 Carey took over the role of the kindly small-town physician Dr. Christian, a character created in the late 1930s by actor Jean Hersholt on radio and in films. Carey portrayed Dr. Christian on syndicated television for one season.

Carey guested on The Kaiser Aluminium Hour, The Joseph Cotten Show, Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre, Zane Grey Theatre, Wagon Train, Studio One in Hollywood, Playhouse 90, The Frank Sinatra Show, Suspicion, Target, Pursuit, Schlitz Playhouse, The Dupont Show of the Month, and Rawhide.

Carey was in the Western film Man or Gun (1958), for Republic. and The Redeemer (1959). He played patriot Patrick Henry in John Paul Jones (1959), directed by John Farrow who had worked with Carey at Paramount. He appeared in Blue Denim (1959).

Lock Up

Carey starred as crusading Herb Maris in the 1950s syndicated series Lock-Up. A total of seventy-eight episodes were made between 1959 and 1961.[10]

Carey guest starred on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Moment of Fear, Thriller ("The Devil's Ticket"), The United States Steel Hour, Insight, Target, Checkmate and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Carey went to England to make the films The Devil's Agent (1962_ and The Damned (known as These Are the Damned in the US) (1963), for director Joseph Losey. He was also in Stranglehold (1962),

In the first season of The Outer Limits, Carey starred in the episode titled "The Special One". He was also in The Dick Powell Theatre, Kraft Mystery Theatre, and Arrest and Trial,

Carey supported Sandra Dee in Tammy and the Doctor (1963). He guest starred in the 1964–1965 sitcom The Bing Crosby Show on ABC. He appeared as Mr. Edwards in the 1963 episode "Pay the Two Dollars" of the NBC education drama series, Mr. Novak, starring James Franciscus. He could also be seen on Burke's Law, Branded, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Run for Your Life, Ben Casey, Lassie, and Bewitched.

Days of Our Lives

Carey started playing Tom Horton on Days of Our Lives in 1965.[11] He says he took the show "because I couldn't get a movie at the time".[2] He ended up playing it until his death from lung cancer[12] in Beverly Hills, California, in 1994, six days after his 81st birthday.

During this time, Carey suffered from a drinking problem, and eventually joined Alcoholics Anonymous in 1982.[13][14]

A longtime pipe smoker, he was seen in many films and early episodes of Days of Our Lives with it. He was ordered by his doctor to quit in September 1991 after having to take a leave of absence from Days in order to remove a cancerous tumor from one of his lungs. He returned to the show in November of that year.[13]

He is most recognized today as the voice who recites the epigraph each day before the program begins: "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives." From 1966 to 1994 he would also intone, "This is Macdonald Carey, and these are the Days of Our Lives." (After Carey's death, the producers, out of respect for Carey's family, decided not to use the second part of the opening tagline.) At each intermission, his voice also says "We will return for the second half of Days of Our Lives in just a moment".[15] Since the Horton family is still regarded as the core of Days of our Lives, his memory has been allowed to remain imprinted on the show by leaving the voice-overs intact. He also served as voice-over for the very first PBS ident, in which he said "This is PBS ... the Public Broadcasting Service."

Other appearances

Carey continued to act in other productions during his run on Days. He had roles in Gidget Gets Married (1972), The Magician, Ordeal (1973), Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law, Who Is the Black Dahlia? (1975), McMillan & Wife, Police Story, Switch, The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Fantasy Island and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

He later appeared in many all-star television miniseries, such as Roots, The Rebels, Top of the Hill and Condominium.

He was in the films Foes (1977), End of the World (1977), and Summer of Fear (1978), and had a small part in American Gigolo (1980).

Carey was in the TV movie The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything (1980) and the films Access Code (1984) and It's Alive III: Island of the Alive (1987). He guest starred on Finder of Lost Loves, and Murder, She Wrote. His last non-Days role was in A Message from Holly (1992).

Carey did the onstage introduction for the "Stars of the Days Of Our Lives" and musical artist/director Ricky Dee at the Greek Theatre (1992)[16]


Carey wrote several books of poetry, and a 1991 autobiography, The Days of My Life. For his contribution to television, Carey has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6536 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life

Carey was married to Elizabeth Heckscher from 1943 until their divorce in 1969. They had six children: Lynn (born October 29, 1946), Theresa (born July 12, 1952), Lisa (born July 12, 1949), Steven (born March 30, 1951), Edward Macdonald Jr. (born April 22, 1954), and Paul(born February 7, 1956). Later, he dated Lois Kraines. The couple remained together from 1973 until Carey's death.[17]

Theresa Carey is the mother of Survivor: Panama winner Aras Baskauskas. Baskauskas later went on to play in Survivor: Blood vs. Water with his brother, Vytas, finishing in 10th and 11th place respectively. Vytas returned to compete in Survivor: Cambodia where he was the first person voted out. Lynn Carey was a 1970s Penthouse Pet and singer of rock, blues and jazz music, providing lyrics and vocals for Russ Meyer's legendary cult classic film Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and The Seven Minutes as well as acting roles in other films and TV shows. She fronted the bands Mama Lion and C.K. Strong in the 1970s, releasing albums and performing in world tours. He has a godson, Maurice Heckscher. He was a Roman Catholic, and a member of the Good Shepherd Parish and the Catholic Motion Picture Guild in Beverly Hills, California.[18] He is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California, alongside a space already set aside for his daughter Lisa.

Selected filmography

Radio appearances

1952Stars over HollywoodUnder a Lucky Star[19]
1952Stars in the AirSuddenly, It's Spring[19]
1953Stars over HollywoodI Found Glenda Roberts[20]
1953Cavalcade of AmericaBless This House[21]
1953Cavalcade of AmericaDangerous Mission[22]
1953Stars over HollywoodA Bunch of Keys[23]



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  3. "Friday's Highlights" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 13 (4): 50. February 1940. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  4. "Thursday's Highlights" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 14 (2): 48. June 1940. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  5. By, P. K. (1948, Oct 31). ACCORDING TO PLAN. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
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  11. Macdonald carey in try for day TV series. (1965, Jun 22). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  12. Severo, Richard (March 22, 1994). "Macdonald Carey, 81, Film Actor With a Soap Opera Career, Dies". New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  13. "MacDonald Carey". Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  14. Bergan, R. (1994, Apr 21). Velvet villain obituary:Macdonald carey. The Guardian (Pre-1997 Fulltext) Retrieved from
  15. Basbanes, N. A. (1991, Mar 24). Macdonald carey: Sobriety and a steady income. Telegram & Gazette Retrieved from
  16. "Acts Announced at Greek, Universal : Entertainers: Aretha Franklin, Garth Brooks, Diana Ross and Frank Sinatra are among the most prominent names". Los Angeles Times. 1991-03-22. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  17. "Yahoo TV biodata". 1913-03-15. Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  18. "Church of the Good Shepherd: Our History". Church of the Good Shepherd. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  19. Kirby, Walter (February 17, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 40. Retrieved June 1, 2015 via
  20. Kirby, Walter (January 11, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved June 19, 2015 via
  21. Kirby, Walter (January 18, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 40. Retrieved June 20, 2015 via
  22. Kirby, Walter (February 15, 1943). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved June 21, 2015 via
  23. Kirby, Walter (May 17, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 48. Retrieved June 27, 2015 via
  24. "Soap Opera Digest Awards (1985)". Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  25. "Soap Opera Digest Awards (1990)". Retrieved 27 September 2011.
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