Malcolm Atterbury

Malcolm MacLeod Atterbury (February 20, 1907 – August 16, 1992) was an American stage, film, and television actor, and vaudevillian.

Malcolm Atterbury
Malcolm Atterbury as Grandpa Aldon (right) with Apple's Way co-stars Ronny Cox and Lee McCain
Born(1907-02-20)February 20, 1907
DiedAugust 16, 1992(1992-08-16) (aged 85)
Years active1954-1979
Spouse(s)Ellen Ayres Hardies (1937-1992; his death) 3 children

Early years

A native of Philadelphia, Atterbury was the son of Malcolm MacLeod, Sr. and Arminia Clara (Rosengarten) MacLeod (1879–1937). He had an older sister, Elizabeth, a twin brother, Norman, and a younger brother, George Rosengarten MacLeod. After his father's death his mother remarried to General William Wallace Atterbury,[1] president of Pennsylvania Railroad. Through this marriage he had a half-brother, William Wallace Atterbury, Jr. (1916–1995).

He graduated from The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.[2]

In the mid-1930s, Atterbury decided to pursue a career in drama. He enrolled at Hilda Spong's Dramatic School using an assumed name. Later, after revealing his true identity, he went on to "finance a summer theater for the Hilda Spong Players at Cape May, and they, in turn, asked him to be their managing director."[3]


In 1928, Atterbury was the bass singer in a quartet that sang on WLIT in Philadelphia.[4] In 1930, he became the program director of a radio station in Philadelphia.[1] He went on to become business manager of WHAT.[2]


Atterbury was a devoted theatre actor. He owned and operated two theatres in the Adirondack Mountains of New York, the Tamarack Playhouse in Lake Pleasant, New York and the Albany Playhouse Co. in Albany.[5] He also appeared on Broadway in the original cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, as Scanlon.[6]


Atterbury is perhaps best known for his uncredited role in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959), as the rural man who exclaims, "That plane's dustin' crops where there ain't no crops!" Four years later, Atterbury appeared as the Deputy in Hitchock's The Birds (1963). He further appeared in such films as I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), Crime of Passion (1957), Blue Denim (1959), Wild River (1960), Advise and Consent (1962), and Hawaii (1966). His last film was Emperor of the North Pole (1973).[7]


Atterbury made frequent appearances on television. He was cast in five episodes of CBS's Perry Mason during the late 1950s and early 1960s, playing the role of murderer in three of the episodes such as Sam Burris in the 1957 episode, "The Case of the Angry Mourner".[7] His guest-starring roles included appearances on Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Window on Main Street, The Asphalt Jungle, Straightaway, Bonanza, Hazel, The Odd Couple, Sheriff of Cochise, The Fugitive, State Trooper, Rescue 8, Fury, The Man from Blackhawk, Happy, The Tall Man, Kentucky Jones, The Invaders (episode: "The Trial"). and The Andy Griffith Show (episode: "The Cow Thief", 1962). He had a regular role as Grandfather Aldon in the 1974–75 CBS television family drama, Apple's Way.[7]

Personal life

Atterbury was married on February 6, 1937 to Ellen Ayres Hardies (1915–1994) of Amsterdam, New York, daughter of judge Charles E. Hardies Sr. and sister of Charles Hardies Jr., who later became Montgomery County district attorney.[2]



  1. "Well-Known People". Harrisburg Telegraph. Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. April 11, 1930. p. 10. Retrieved June 23, 2016 via
  2. "Gilded Statue on Boro Stage Played by Gen. Atterbury's Son". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. February 9, 1938. p. 16. Retrieved June 24, 2016 via
  3. Ross, George (June 25, 1936). "In New York". Fitchburg Sentinel. Massachusetts, Fitchburg. p. 6. Retrieved June 23, 2016 via
  4. "Radio Programs: Philadelphia Stations". Delaware County Daily Times. Pennsylvania, Chester. May 15, 1928. p. 11. Retrieved June 23, 2016 via
  5. Variety, May 12, 1948, p. 56
  7. Malcolm Atterbury on IMDb

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