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Charles McGraw


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Best known as the gladiator trainer who was drowned in the soup by Spartacus and as Robert Blake's father in "In Cold Blood", McGraw was able to carry a film as well. He played the lead in a good number of late 40's noir films including "The Armored Car Robbery" and "The Narrow Margin" which I happened to catch on Flix last week. I have never seen him mentioned on this forum and was wondering if anyone else enjoyed his gravelly-voiced performances. BTW way, he could have served as the model for the "tough-guy" graphics the TCM often employs as it's logo.

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I like McGraw. He was one of those people I spent years noticing before I ever knew his name. I probably saw him for the first time in Hang 'Em High and most recently in The Bridges at Toko-Ri. I agree he could've been the model for the tough-guy logo. I do, however, think he was leagues out of his territory as Rick in the TV version of Casablanca. No matter how tough and cool McGraw was, he was certainly no match for Bogart. Maybe more people will notice him now that The Narrow Margain is out on DVD. Lucky for him (and us), Howard Hughes didn't shelve and remake the film as he'd thought about doing with, I think, Mitchum and Russell because he figured what was in the can just wasn't very good. Nice you brought him up; with so many figures in Hollywood I suppose many do get overlooked in these forums. And for a tough-guy, what a way to go out!

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Your right Slappy, Charles McGraw was indeed a dependable character actor. I always enjoyed his 'tough guy' roles in films, especially those that you mentioned.

Believe it or not he actually played Rick on the TV series of "Casablanca".


Sadly, he died in 1980 after a tragic accident in which he slipped and fell through a glass shower door. He was 66 years old. He last appeared on screen in 1977.


By the way, I do mention him every year in May on the forums birthday thread.




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Charles McGraw was a very unique actor; craggy faced and gravelly voiced. You always knew it was him - you didn't get him mixed up with someone else.

I'm glad he had that part in "Spartacus", an "A" picture with a grade "A+" performance......

During an interview in the 80's, Nina Foch said that during the scene where she is to pick the gladiators to fight - "I kept looking over at Charlie, he was by far the sexiest!! Stanley kept saying to me, 'Nina, stop looking at Charlie, you're ruining the take, pick Kirk, damn it'!!!!!".....


Another great villain was Lee Van Cleef.





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