Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy

Front Cover
McFarland, Aug 30, 2012 - Performing Arts - 228 pages
The iconic actor Charles McGraw appeared in over 140 roles on films and television, including the classic noir pictures The Killers (1946) and The Narrow Margin (1952). Whether portraying tough cops or sadistic killers, McGraw brought a unique authenticity to the screen. Emphasizing his impact on the film noir style, this comprehensive biography examines McGraw's lengthy career against the backdrop of a changing Hollywood. Through numerous personal interviews with his surviving intimates, close acquaintances and co-workers, his tumultuous personal life is detailed from his earliest days to his bizarre, accidental death. Also included are an extensive critical filmography of McGraw's feature film career, a complete list of television appearances and previously unpublished film stills and personal photos.

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User Review  - knahs - LibraryThing

Well researched book on tough guy McGraw who I always enjoyed on old time radio and in his films. It was always hard to find out anything about him but this book gives a great look at his life. Lots of interviews. Read full review

Selected pages


Prologue Not Ready for His CloseUp Foreword The McGraw Role No One Knows
Family Tensions 20 Character Actor 21 Spartacus
YoungThespian 3 HungryDuring the GoldenEra 4 What Did You Do in the War Charlie?
Bright Boy Gets a Break
The WatershedYear 7 The Lion GoesBlack 8 In Demand 9 The Capital of Noir
The Other Sideof the Hill 11 Not Enough BloodtoSuit Me 12 The Certifiable Howard Hughes
Good Evening 23 Golden Age Dissolution 24 A Glorious Time
Single Actor Needs Work
ColdBlooded Comeback 27 Last Hurrah 28 Means of Descent
Last Call
A NoirStained Legacy
Critical Filmography
Television Credits
Chapter Notes

The Sleeper That Almost Wasnt
Missing the Brass Ring
RKO Studios asAndersonville 16 Freelance Actor 17 Small Screen Evolution 18 Where Do We Get Such Men
Index of Terms

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About the author (2012)

Film historian and journalist Alan K. Rode is a director of the Film Noir Foundation ( He lives in Los Angeles.

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