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The Ottawa Citizen (21/Oct/1990) - Cowboy star Joel McCrea dies at 84



Cowboy star Joel McCrea dies at 84

Actor Joel McCrea, the grandson of a stagecoach driver who starred in more than 80 films including the western classic The Virginian and Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, died Saturday. He was 84.

McCrea, Hollywood's good-humored, dependable star of the 1930s, '40s and '50s, died of pulmonary complications at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital.

McCrea retired from Hollywood in 1962 to go back to his first love, ranching. But he was persuaded in 1975, when he was about to enter his 70s, to come back to make another film, Mustang Country.

"I've decided I'll never read another script," he said after and returned to his giant ranch, surrounded by 40 kilometres of barbed wire, north of Los Angeles.

McCrea, who married one of his leading ladies, Frances Dee, and had three sons, began his career in the silent era, mostly as a stunt man in cowboy films or as a double for leading men.

McCrea's first role came in Penrod and Sam in 1923 when he was 18. He waited six years for his next film part, in The Jazz Age in 1929.

He hardly stopped working again until retiring in 1962, starring in such films as Bird of Paradise, The Most Dangerous Game, The Palm Beach Story in 194O; Buffalo Bill, The Virginian in 1946; Cattle Drive, Wichita, Saddle Tramp, The Oklahoman, and Gunfight at Dodge City.

He also starred in a television series, Wichita Town, in 1959.