Johnny Mack Brown
|Born||September 1, 1904|
Dothan, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||November 14, 1974 (aged 70)|
|Spouse(s)||Cornelia "Connie" Foster (m.1926)|
|College football career|
|Alabama Crimson Tide – No. 17|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight||160 lb (73 kg)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|College Football Hall of Fame (1957)|
John Brown (September 1, 1904 – November 14, 1974) was an American college football player and film actor billed as John Mack Brown at the height of his screen career. He was mostly in Western films.
Born and raised in Dothan, Alabama, Brown was the son of Ed and Mattie Brown, one of eight siblings. His parents were shopkeepers. He was a star of the high school football team, earning a football scholarship to the University of Alabama. His little brother Tolbert "Red" Brown played with "Mack" in 1925.
After he finished college, he sold insurance and later coached the freshman running backs on the University of Alabama's football team.
University of Alabama
While at the University of Alabama, Brown became an initiated member of Kappa Sigma fraternity.
Brown was a prominent halfback on his university's Crimson Tide football team, coached by Wallace Wade. He earned the nickname "The Dothan Antelope" and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. Pop Warner called him "one of the fastest football players I've ever seen."
Brown helped the 1925 Alabama Crimson Tide football team to a national championship. In that year's Rose Bowl, he earned Most Valuable Player honors after scoring two of his team's three touchdowns in an upset win over the heavily favored Washington Huskies. The 1925 Crimson Tide was the first southern team to ever win a Rose Bowl. The game is commonly referred to as "the game that changed the south." Brown was selected All-Southern.
Brown's good looks and powerful physique saw him portrayed on Wheaties cereal boxes and in 1927, brought an offer for motion picture screen tests that resulted in a long and successful career in Hollywood. That same year, he signed a five-year contract with Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer. He played silent film star Mary Pickford's love interest in her first talkie, Coquette (1929), for which Pickford won an Oscar.
He appeared in minor roles until 1930 when he was cast as the star in a Western entitled Billy the Kid and directed by King Vidor. An early widescreen film (along with Raoul Walsh's The Big Trail starring John Wayne, produced the same year), the movie also features Wallace Beery as Pat Garrett. Brown was billed over Beery, who would become MGM's highest-paid actor within the next three years. Also in 1930, Brown played Joan Crawford's love interest in Montana Moon. Brown went on to make several more top-flight movies under the name John Mack Brown, including The Secret Six (1931) with Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, and Clark Gable, as well as the legendary Lost Generation celebration of alcohol, The Last Flight (1931), and was being groomed by MGM as a leading man until being abruptly replaced on Laughing Sinners in 1931, with all his scenes reshot, substituting rising star Clark Gable in his place. MGM and director Woody Van Dyke screen tested him for the lead role of Tarzan the Ape Man but Van Dyke didn't feel he was tall enough.
Rechristened "Johnny Mack Brown" in the wake of this extremely serious career downturn, he made low-budget westerns for independent producers and he never regained his former status. Eventually he became one of the screen's top B-movie cowboys, and became a popular star at Universal Pictures in 1937. After starring in four serials, in 1939 he launched a series of 29 B-westerns over the next four years, all co-starring Fuzzy Knight as his comic sidekick, and the last seven teaming him with Tex Ritter. This is considered the peak of his B-western career, thanks to the studio's superior production values; noteworthy titles include Son of Roaring Dan, Raiders of San Joaquin and The Lone Star Trail, the latter featuring a young Robert Mitchum as the muscle heavy. A fan of Mexican music, Brown showcased the talents of guitarist Francisco Mayorga and The Guadalajara Trio in films like Boss of Bullion City and The Masked Rider. Brown also starred in a 1933 Mascot Pictures serial Fighting with Kit Carson, and four serials for Universal (Rustlers of Red Dog, Wild West Days, Flaming Frontiers and The Oregon Trail).
Brown moved to Monogram Pictures in 1943 to replace that studio's cowboy star Buck Jones, who had died months before. Brown's Monogram series was immediately successful and he starred in more than 60 westerns over the next 10 years, including a 20-movie series playing "Nevada Jack McKenzie" opposite Buck Jones's old sidekick Raymond Hatton, beginning with the 1943 film The Ghost Rider. Brown was also featured in two higher-budgeted dramas, Forever Yours and Flame of the West, both released by Monogram in 1945 and both billing the actor under his former "A-picture" name, John Mack Brown.
When Monogram abandoned its brand name in 1952 (in favor of its deluxe division, Allied Artists), Johnny Mack Brown retired from the screen. He returned more than 10 years later to appear in secondary roles in a few Western films. Altogether, Brown appeared in more than 160 movies between 1927 and 1966, as well as a smattering of television shows, in a career spanning almost 40 years.
Brown was married to Cornelia "Connie" Foster from 1926 until his death in 1974, and they had four children.
For his contributions to the film industry, Brown was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960 with a motion pictures star at 6101 Hollywood Boulevard. He received a posthumous Golden Boot Award in 2004 for his contributions to the Western entertainment genre. In 1969, Brown was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame.
Brown's hometown holds an annual Johnny Mack Brown Western Festival because “If anyone ever brought attention to Dothan, it was Johnny Mack Brown,” a city official said.
In popular culture
From March 1950 to February 1959, Dell Comics published a Johnny Mack Brown series of comic books. He also was included in 21 issues of Dell's Giant Series Western Roundup comics that began in June 1952.
- Slide, Kelly, Slide (1927) as Himself
- The Bugle Call (1927) bit part (uncredited)
- Mockery (1927) as Russian Officer (uncredited)
- After Midnight (1927) as Party Boy (uncredited)
- The Fair Co-Ed (1927) as Bob
- The Divine Woman (1928) as Jean Lery
- Soft Living (1928) as Stockney Webb
- Square Crooks (1928) as Larry Scott
- The Play Girl (1928) as Bradley Lane
- Our Dancing Daughters (1928) as Ben Blaine
- Annapolis (1928) as Bill
- A Lady of Chance (1928) as Steve Crandall
- A Woman of Affairs (1928) as David Furness
- Coquette (1929) as Michael Jeffery
- The Valiant (1929) as Robert Ward
- The Single Standard (1929) as Tommy Hewlett
- Hurricane (1929) as Dan
- Jazz Heaven (1929) as Barry Holmes
- Undertow (1930) as Paul Whalen
- Montana Moon (1930) as Larry
- Billy the Kid (1930) as Billy the Kid
- Great Day (1930) (incomplete & unreleased)
- The Great Meadow (1931) as Berk Jarvis
- The Secret Six (1931) as Hank Rogers
- The Last Flight (1931) as Bill Talbot
- Lasca of the Rio Grande (1931) as Miles Kincaid
- Flames (1932) as Charlie
- The Vanishing Frontier (1932) as Kirby Tornell
- 70,000 Witnesses (1932) as Wally Clark
- Malay Nights (1932) as Jim Wilson
- Fighting with Kit Carson (1933) as Kit Carson, SERIAL
- Saturday's Millions (1933) as Alan Barry
- Female (1933) as Cooper
- Son of a Sailor (1933) as 'Duke'
- Three on a Honeymoon (1934) as Chuck Wells
- St. Louis Woman (1934) as Jim Warren
- Marrying Widows (1934) as The Husband
- Cross Streets (1934) as Adam Blythe
- Belle of the Nineties (1934) as Brooks Claybourne
- Against the Law (1934) as Steve Wayne
- Rustlers of Red Dog (1935) as Jack Wood, SERIAL
- Branded a Coward (1935) as Johnny Hume
- Between Men (1935) as Johnny Wellington Jr.
- The Courageous Avenger (1935) as Kirk Baxter
- Valley of the Lawless (1936) as Bruce Reynolds
- Desert Phantom (1936) as Billy Donovan
- Rogue of the Range (1936) as Dan Doran
- Everyman's Law (1936) as Johnny – aka The Dog Town Kid
- The Crooked Trail (1936) as Jim Blake
- Undercover Man (1936) as Steve McLain
- Lawless Land (1936) as Ranger Jeff Hayden
- The Gambling Terror (1937) as Jeff Hayes
- Trail of Vengeance (1937) as Ken Early / Dude Ramsey
- Bar-Z Bad Men (1937) as Jim Waters
- Guns in the Dark (1937) as Johnny Darrel
- A Lawman Is Born (1937) as Tom Mitchell
- Wild West Days (1937) as Kentucky Wade, SERIAL
- Boothill Brigade (1937) as Lon Cardigan
- Born to the West (1937) as Tom Fillmore
- Wells Fargo (1937) as Talbot Carter
- Flaming Frontiers (1938) as Tex Houston, SERIAL
- The Oregon Trail (1939) as Jeff Scott, SERIAL
- Desperate Trails (1939) as Steve Hayden
- Oklahoma Frontier (1939) as Jeff McLeod
- Chip of the Flying U (1939) as 'Chip' Bennett
- West of Carson City (1940) as Jim Bannister
- Boss of Bullion City (1940) as Tom Bryant
- Riders of Pasco Basin (1940) as Lee Jamison
- Bad Man from Red Butte (1940) as Gils Brady / Buck Halliday
- Son of Roaring Dan (1940) as Jim Reardon
- Ragtime Cowboy Joe (1940) as Steve Logan
- Law and Order (1940) as Bill Ralston
- Pony Post (1940) as Cal Sheridan
- Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie (1941) as Joe Henderson
- Law of the Range (1941) as Steve Howard
- Rawhide Rangers (1941) as Brand Calhoun
- Man from Montana (1941) as Sheriff Bob Dawson
- The Masked Rider (1941) as Larry Prescott
- Arizona Cyclone (1941) as Tom Baxter
- Fighting Bill Fargo (1941) as Bill Fargo
- Stagecoach Buckaroo (1942) as Steve Hardin
- Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942) as Alabam' Brewster
- The Silver Bullet (1942) as 'Silver Jim' Donovan
- Boss of Hangtown Mesa (1942) as Steve Collins
- Deep in the Heart of Texas (1942) as Jim Mallory
- Little Joe, the Wrangler (1942) as Neal Wallace
- The Old Chisholm Trail (1942) as Dusty Gardner
- Tenting Tonight on the Old Camp Ground (1943) as Wade Benson
- The Ghost Rider (1943) as Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Cheyenne Roundup (1943) as Buck Brandon & Gils Brandon
- Raiders of San Joaquin (1943) as 'Rocky' Morgan
- The Stranger from Pecos (1943) as Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Six Gun Gospel (1943) as Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- The Lone Star Trail (1943) as Blaze Barker
- Crazy House (1943) as Himself
- Outlaws of Stampede Pass (1943) as Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- The Texas Kid (1943) as Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Raiders of the Border (1944) as Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Partners of the Trail (1944) as U.S. Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Law Men (1944) as U.S. Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Range Law (1944) as U.S. Marshal Nevada McKenzie
- West of the Rio Grande (1944) as U.S. Marshal 'Nevada Jack' McKenzie
- Land of the Outlaws (1944) as Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Law of the Valley (1944) as Marshal Nevada McKenzie
- Ghost Guns (1944) as Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- The Navajo Trail (1945) as Marshal Nevada – aka Rocky Saunders
- Forever Yours (1945) as Maj. Tex O'Connor
- Gun Smoke (1945) as Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Stranger from Santa Fe (1945) as U.S. Marshal Nevada McKenzie, posing as Roy Ferris
- Flame of the West (1945) as Dr. John Poole
- The Lost Trail (1945) as Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Frontier Feud (1945) as Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Border Bandits (1946) as Marshal Nevada
- Drifting Along (1946) as Steve Garner
- The Haunted Mine (1946) as Marshal Nevada Jack McKenzie
- Under Arizona Skies (1946) as Dusty Smith
- The Gentleman from Texas (1946) as Johnny Macklin
- Trigger Fingers (1946) as Sam 'Hurricane' Benton
- Shadows on the Range (1946) as Steve Mason – Posing as Steve Saunders
- Silver Range (1946) as Johnny Bronton
- Raiders of the South (1947) as Captain Johnny Brownell
- Valley of Fear (1947) as Johnny Williams
- Trailing Danger (1947) as Johnny
- Land of the Lawless (1947) as Johnny Mack
- The Law Comes to Gunsight (1947) as Johnny Macklin
- Code of the Saddle (1947) as John Macklin
- Flashing Guns (1947) as Johnny Mack
- Prairie Express (1947) as Johnny Hudson
- Gun Talk (1947) as Johnny McVey
- Overland Trails (1948) as Johnny Murdock
- Crossed Trails (1948) as Johnny Mack
- Frontier Agent (1948) as Himself
- Triggerman (1948) as Himself
- Back Trail (1948) as Johnny Mack
- The Fighting Ranger (1948) as Ranger Johnny Brown
- The Sheriff of Medicine Bow (1948) as Sheriff Johnny
- Gunning for Justice (1948) as Johnny Mack
- Hidden Danger (1948) as Johnny Mack
- Law of the West (1949) as Federal Agent Johnny Mack
- Trails End (1949) as Johnny Mack
- Stampede (1949) as Sheriff Aaron Ball
- West of El Dorado (1949) as Johnny Mack
- Law of the West (1949) as Johnny Mack
- Range Justice (1949) as Himself
- Western Renegades (1949) as Himself
- West of Wyoming (1950) as Himself
- Over the Border (1950) as Himself
- Six Gun Mesa (1950) as Himself
- Law of the Panhandle (1950) as Himself
- Outlaw Gold (1950) as Himself
- Short Grass (1950) as Sheriff Ord Keown
- Colorado Ambush (1951) as Himself
- Man from Sonora (1951) as Himself
- Blazing Bullets (1951) as Marshal
- Montana Desperado (1951) as Himself
- Oklahoma Justice (1951) as Himself
- Whistling Hills (1951) as Himself
- Texas Lawmen (1951) as Marshall
- Texas City (1952) as Himself
- Man from the Black Hills (1952) as Himself
- Dead Man's Trail (1952) as Himself
- Canyon Ambush (1952) as Himself
- The Marshal's Daughter (1953) as Poker-Game Player #2
- Requiem for a Gunfighter (1965) as Enkoff
- The Bounty Killer (1965) as Sheriff Green
- Apache Uprising (1965) as Sheriff Ben Hall (final film role)
- Obituary Variety, November 20, 1974.
- Sol Metzger (November 16, 1926). "Mack Brown Was Expert Dodger". The Pantagraph. Retrieved March 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Beidler, Philip. "Johnny Mack Brown". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
- "Fiery-Topped Trio Plays Big Role At Alabama U." The Post-Crescent. Wisconsin, Appleton. September 28, 1926. p. 13. Retrieved June 8, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Matherne, Bob (January 7, 1929). "Johnny Mack Brown, Dixie Grid Hero, Landed Film Job through Loyalty to College". Santa Ana Register. California, Santa Ana. Newspaper Enterprise Association. p. 6. Retrieved June 8, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Rielly, Edward J. (2009). Football: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-0803226302. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
Johnny Mack Brown.
- Anderson, Dave (December 24, 1962). "A Bunch of Farmers Upset Football Tradition". Sports Illiustrated Vault. Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on June 9, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
- "The Football Game That Changed the South". The University of Alabama. Archived from the original on April 21, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
- "All Southern Grid Team Compiled By The Associated Press". Kingsport Times. November 30, 1925.
- "Motion Picture Idol". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Pennsylvania, Shamokin. March 9, 1927. p. 6. Retrieved June 8, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Weissmuller Jr., Johnny Tarzan, My Father ECW Press, February 1, 2008
- "Alabama Grid Star Downed By Cupid". Altoona Tribune. Pennsylvania, Altoona. Central Press. June 16, 1926. p. 12. Retrieved June 8, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Johnny Mack Brown". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Archived from the original on July 9, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- "The Golden Boot Awards". b-westerns.com. Archived from the original on February 28, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- "Johnny Mack Brown". Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on June 7, 2017. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- Brackin, Elaine (April 20, 2009). "Johnny Mack Brown Western Festival brings Old West to Landmark Park". Dothan Eagle. Archived from the original on June 8, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
- Hoffmann, Henryk (2012). Western Movie References in American Literature. McFarland. p. 23. ISBN 9780786493241. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
- Alive at the Johnny Mack Brown High School at AllMusic
- "Johnny Mack Brown". The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune. Missouri, Chillicothe. Associated Press. November 19, 1974. p. 16. Retrieved June 8, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.
- Lambert, Hillyer (Director) (1945). Flame of the West.
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