August 30, 1908 – November 5, 1991
“Well, Freddy bear has been a naughty boy.”
He was best known as Steve Douglas in My Three Sons. Pretty much a good guy, I suppose. He did a string of Disney movies: The Shaggy Dog, TheAbsent-Minded Professor, and The Son of Flubber. It was weird to see him play a baddie though, like in Double Indemnity, with that hag Barbara Stanwyck. I love that flick, and Fred was less than fatherly in it. I would have thought that Fred would enjoy playing bad guys, but apparently he regretted those roles later in life. He thought the parts might have turned the public against him. I think Fred was Jimmy Stewart light.
My sister and I used to fight on Saturday nights, because My Three Sons was on opposite The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – my fave. Usually, she won, and I would have endure whichever creepy uncle or man was living with these young bucks and their father.
I’m back in LA now, and live very close to the Double Indemnity house, so I drove up there a few days ago, and snapped a picture of it
for you, and one more,
oh yes, the garage.
Fred was married to June Haver who, and get this: left a convent to marry Fred a year after his first wife, actress Lillian Lamont, died in 1953. She was perfect in every way.
With Fred’s success on the big screen secured, he was one of the first bankable stars to leave movies for television. In 1959, Fred was approached to do My Three Sons. He agreed to do the show, with the stipulation that he only work for three months out of the year. He shot his scenes first, and everyone else would film around him. Editing later on made it seem more intimate. The show ran for 12 years. There is a ton of information about the show, if you are interested, here.
Fred lived with June and their kids in this lovely home in Brentwood, which to me looks a lot like the house from My Three Sons.
Here’s the garage.
Later in life, Fred suffered from Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, which, according to their website, is “a condition characterized by an accumulation of abnormal lymphocytes in the blood and the bone marrow. These lymphocytes do not perform their functions as normal ones would and interfere with the production of other blood cells necessary for the normal functioning of the blood, leading to a host of complications like deficiency of the immune system, coagulation problems, swollen lymph nodes, and many other conditions.” He also developed Sepsis Syndrome, which is a really disgusting urinary infection. All in all, the poor guy could not have been doing too well.
He was admitted into St. John’s Hospital, in Santa Monica (same hospital bitch Stanwyck died in),
and on Tuesday the 6th of November 1991, his wife June was at his side when he died at 10:45 a.m. of pneumonia.
He was 83 years old.
Fred had a funeral mass – though I’m not sure where, and is buried in this Mausoleum at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Here’s the chapel there.
His costar in the later episodes of My Three Sons was Beverly Garland. When hearing about his death, Beverly said, “I’m shocked. I knew he had been ill, but I didn’t want him to go away. I wanted him always to be there.”
Trivia: She now owns the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn, in North Hollywood. Every few months, they have an autograph show there, where you can meet TONS of people from Televisionland. I met Beverly there, and she seemed okay. The one I really enjoyed meeting was the chick that played Dodie. There was a time in the mid-eighties when my favorite radio jock in Chicago, Kevin Matthews, became obsessed with finding Dodie for an interview. He finally found her, and when I met her we reminisced for about a minute. Then, realizing I had absolutely nothing more to say to her, and certainly not wanting to plop down 15 bucks for her autograph, I fucked off.
Get this, several people have sent in the fact that Dawn Lyn is actually ex teen idol Leif Garret’s sister. The first one that sent it in was Susan near Seattle, and to Susan and the rest of you, I humbly thank you. xx
I did meet the three sons one time.
Findadeath.com friend Kevin Hassell sends us this:
Before My Three Sons, he was offered the lead on both Perry Mason, and The Untouchables. He turned them both down to spend more time with his family. He also appeared on the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hoursin 1958, alongside June Haver. This would mark her first, last and only appearance on television.
He and June adopted twin girls.
In the 1970’s, Fred was the spokesman for the Greyhound bus line.
Findadeath.com friend Jonathan W. Hoyt sends us this: Fred was the original artistic inspiration behind Whiz Comics’ Captain Marvel (a.k.a. “Shazam!”). Cap’s distinctive, Fred-like eyebrows give the game away. I’ve always thought that Captain Marvel looked sort of like an amalgam of Superman and Jughead Jones, yet somehow far cooler than both (Cap’s stylized lightning bolt beats the crap out of Supe’s stylized “S.”). I chalk it all up to the “Fred Factor.” Just thought you’d like to know…
NOVEMBER 2002- This from someone cool: Fred MacMurray–what I know for certain. He was a dear friend of Paul Winchell’s. (Please don’t use my name on this one.) Winch, Fred and Rudy Vallee would lunch together once a week. Fred and Rudy were notorious cheapskates. I mean reaaaaaaaaal tightwads. When the check came, they’d be conveniently off in the bathroom, or they would have forgotten their wallets. Winch invariably got stuck paying, and he didn’t care. He was more amused than anything.
MacMurray was a great sax player, too. There is a persistent rumor that Alan Calder, the announcer on David Letterman’s show, is Fred’s illegitimate son. There is a resemblance. I don’t know if it’s hooey or not.
Findadeath.com friend Bruce sends this: June Haver appeared with Fred MacMurray on the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, on January 3, 1958. It was called The Ford Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show, when it first aired on CBS.
August 2003: Findadeath.com friend Eric sends us this: The Buick Open was in Grand Blanc recently, and a friend of mine and I got to talking about it. In the early days of the Open, Buick used to hire and ship celebs in to hype the event. Being that my friend worked for GM Service, part of his duties were to show the stars around Flint and Metro Detroit. Two such stars were Fred MacMurray and June Allyson. My friend says Fred was very friendly, and carried his own golf clubs, etc. But, what I found most interesting was when they dined at the Fenton Hotel, Fred drank scotch and milk.
Thanks, Erin. I used to bartend back in the olden daze, and Scotch and milk was common amongst those who imbibed heavily. Helped the ulcers. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.