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Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflys, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.


Merrill McCormick

Full name:
William Merrill McCormick

1892 - 1953


In the sound era, he appeared in at least 185 westerns and 16 serials



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Charles Starrett, Merrill McCormick and Frank Ellis in TWO-FISTED SHERIFF (Columbia, 1937).

Colorado born Merrill McCormick began his screen career in silent films - and there is an occasional mention of an actor and director named Merrill McCormick in tradepapers and magazines of that period. When he registered for the World War I draft in 1917, McCormick was an actor employed by the Universal Film Company.

By the 1930s, he had become typecast in westerns, generally portraying a henchman, cowhand, barfly, et al. He was pencil thin which gave him a tallish appearance. And he generally sported a mustache and whiskers, wore a high top hat, and often had a cigarette hanging from his lips.

Suffering from heart problems, Merrill McCormick died August 19, 1953 at the Baldy View Sanitarium, San Gabriel, California. As a footnote, Jerome 'Curly' Howard of Three Stooges fame lived out his final days at Baldy View, and passed away there on January 18, 1952.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Merrill McCormick: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0566575/

The Family Search website (free), the California Death Records database, and the death certificate provide more on Merrill McCormick:

  • World War I draft registration - 25 year old William Merrill McCormick was born February 5, 1892 in Denver, Colorado; he is single; lives at the Santa Barbara Apartments, Los Angeles; occupation is "Actor, Moving Pictures" and employer is Universal Film Co., Universal City California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-26181-39090-31?cc=1968530
  • 1920 census - 27 year old William M. McCormick (born Colorado) and his 59 year old mother Jeannette McCormick (born Wisconsin) are living in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MHQF-4S8
    Ancestry had the 1920 census takers worksheet: William McCormick and his mother Jeannette (widowed) are living at 1603 North Kingsley Drive, Los Angeles. He is single and occupation is "Actor - Motion Pictures".
  • 1930 census - 38 year old William M. McCormick (born Colorado) and his 66 year old mother Jeannette (born Wisconsin) are living in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XCV9-DW5
    Ancestry had the 1930 census takers worksheet: William M. McCormick and his mother Jeannette (widowed) are renting at 2354 Stanley Hills Drive, Los Angeles. He is single; occupation is "Actor - Motion Pictures"; and he replies "No" to the are you a veteran question.
  • 1940 census - 47 year old William M Mccormick (born Colorado) is single and one of many lodgers residing at a rooming house or hotel in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9CD-68M
    1940 census takers worksheet - McCormick is one of many lodgers residing at 2307 Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles. He is single; has 3 years of college; and occupation is "Actor - Motion Picture Studio", and in 1939, he worked 30 weeks and earned $1200.00: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27797-2827-52?cc=2000219
  • 1942 World War II draft registration - William Merrill McCormick was born February 5, 1892 in Denver, Colorado; still resides at 2307 Cahuenga, Los Angeles; his occupation is "free lance actor". His contact is Grace Seidel (the manager of the rooming house - see the 1940 census): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-16388-22645-44?cc=1861144
  • You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the California Death Records database. There you will find a record for: William Merrill Mccormick, born February 5, 1892 in Colorado, and passed away on August 19, 1953 in the Los Angeles area.
  • Death certificate - William Merrill McCormick passed away on August 19, 1953 at the Baldy View Sanitarium, 8101 E. Hill Drive, San Gabriel, California, and he had been a patient there for 2 1/2 weeks. He was born February 5, 1892 in Colorado; was never married; no military service; and occupation was "Actor - Stage & Screen". Cause of death was arterioscloratic heart disease, 5 years duration. Funeral director was Utter-McKinley and burial at Valhalla Cemetery.



(Courtesy of Dorothy Hack)

Above are Merrill McCormick (on the left) and Herman Hack on their way to work circa mid 1930s. The street intersection may be Hollywood and Western.


(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Merrill McCormick, Buddy Roosevelt and Barbara Starr in RANGE RIDERS (Superior, 1934). In this, McCormick is Roosevelt's sidekick 'Pedro'.


(Image courtesy of Carol Murray and her "Jack Hendricks Photo Album")

Above from left to right are Jack Hendricks (grounded), George Morrell, Merrill McCormick (beard), George Regas (moustache) and Leroy Mason in a still from the Kermit Maynard mountie film THE FIGHTING TROOPER (Ambassador-Conn, 1934).


(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Tex Palmer, Oscar Gahan, Merrill McCormick, Charlie King and Denver Dixon (Victor Adamson) in a scene from the Tex Ritter WHERE THE BUFFALO ROAM (Monogram, 1938) .


(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above are an older Merrill McCormick (black hat and mustache, left side), Smiley Burnette and an older Frank McCarroll. Les Adams adds that McCarroll probably doubled Smiley in this, as he often did Dub Taylor.  Lobby card from THE BLAZING TRAIL (Columbia, 1949), one of the Charles Starrett/Durango Kid adventures.





 

Frank Leo McCarroll
1891 - 1954
Appeared in at least 159 westerns and 10 serials.

     
Above are face shots of McCarroll in 1936 (left) and 1947 (right).

Frank McCarroll won several steer wrestling championships in the 1910s-1920s. His wife Mary Ellen 'Bonnie' Treadwell McCarroll was also a rodeo performer and was severely injured while bronc riding at the 1929 Pendleton Roundup. She passed away about two weeks later.

The "Bonnie and Frank McCarroll Rodeo Archives" is housed at the Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It includes a biography of Frank and his wife Bonnie along with many photos:
http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/research/findingaids/collections/mccarroll.aspx
http://www.nationalcowboymuseum.org/research/exhibits/mccarroll/default.aspx

In May, 2012, the Pendleton Round-Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame inducted Frank McCarroll into their Hall of Fame.

After hanging up his spurs on the rodeo circuit, McCarroll switched careers to the movie business. For 20+ years - from about 1932-1953 - McCarroll portrayed henchmen as well as doing stunt work and doubling, mostly in B westerns. He free-lanced anywhere and everywhere. You can spot him in:

  • a half-dozen of the Kermit Maynard mountie and western features for Ambassador-Conn.
  • seven of Dick Foran's Warner westerns.
  • a dozen Bill Elliott westerns and serials at Columbia and Republic.
  • sixteen Charles Starrett adventures for Columbia Pictures.
  • fourteen Johnny Mack Brown serials and oaters at Supreme, Republic, Universal and Monogram.
  • a dozen of the Buster Crabbe Billy the Kid/Billy Carson sagebrushers for PRC.
  • over three dozen Republics starring the Three Mesquiteers, Gene Autry, Sunset Carson, Allan Lane, Don Barry and Roy Rogers.
  • nine Jimmy Wakely and Whip Wilson starrers for Monogram.
  • a half-dozen Range Busters at Monogram.

There are mentions that McCarroll passed away after a fall at his Burbank, California home. However, his death certificate contradicts that information. According to the death certificate, he was working or visitng at a Los Angeles address and died on March 8, 1954. An autopsy was performed and cause of death was coronary occlusion (heart attack due to an arterial blockage). The death certicate also notes that Frank had two jobs - actor and painting contractor. Perhaps he succumbed when on a painting job.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Frank McCarroll: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0564991/

The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), Brigham Young University Western States Marriage Index, the California Death Records database, and the death certificate provide more on Frank McCarroll:

  • 1900 census - living in Morris Township, Stevens County, Minnesota are 44 year old James Mccarroll (born Canada), his 38 year old wife Anna (born Minnesota) and eleven children ages newborn to 20 years old. Among their children is 9 year old Frank Mccarroll (born Minnesota): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M9Q9-HQ1
    1900 census takers worksheet - father James' occupation is farmer. Son Frank is "at school": https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-266-11601-64838-46?cc=1325221
  • 1910 census - 18 year old Frank Mccarroll (born Minnesota) is a lodger residing in the home of John D. Seyfert in Idaho Falls, Bingham County, Idaho: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MLHV-SWG
    Ancestry had the 1910 census takers worksheet - Frank Mccarroll is single and occupation is "Farm Laborer".
  • November 18, 1914 marriage record (not the license) of of Frank L. Mccarroll to Mary Ellen Treadwell (this is 'Bonnie' McCarroll) in Boise, Ada County, Idaho: http://abish.byui.edu/specialCollections/westernStates/westernStatesRecordDetail.cfm?recordID=83991
  • World War I draft registration dated June 5, 1917 - 25 year old Frank Leo McCarroll was born September 5, 1891 in Morris, Minnesota. He and his un-named wife live at 207 Myrtle, Boise, Idaho, and he is a "Deputy Sheriff" working for the Boise Payette Lumber Co., Barber Dam, Idaho: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-26176-57090-43?cc=1968530
  • 1920 census - 28 year old Frank Mccarroll (born Minnesota) and 27 year old wife Mary E. (born Idaho; this is 'Bonnie' McCarroll) are living in Boise, Idaho: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MDCD-VS8
    Ancestry had the 1920 census takers worksheet which was faded and very difficult to read - they are renting at 501 South Third Street, Boise, Idaho. Frank's occupation looks like "Contestant - Show" and his wife is "??? - Show".
  • 1940 census - 45 year old Frank L. McCarroll (born Minnesota), 32 year old wife Lorris [sic] (born Illinois), and 6 year old son Bruce (born Illinois) are living in Burbank, California: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K97N-PXN
    1940 census takers worksheet - the McCarroll family owns their home 623 Whitnall Highway, Burbank, California. Frank's occupation is "Actor - Moving Pictures", and in 1939, he worked 52 weeks and earned $2300.00: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-27791-16246-95?cc=2000219
  • 1942 World War II draft registration - 50 year old Frank Leo McCarroll was born in Morris, Minnesota on September 5, 1891. He and his wife reside at 623 No. Whitnall Hwy, Burbank, California and his employer is Central Casting Corporation: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-16373-42138-97?cc=1861144
  • You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the California Death Records database. There you will find a record for: Frank Leo McCarroll, born September 5, 1892 in Minnesota, mother's maiden name of Hartrick, and he passed away on March 8, 1954 in the Los Angeles area.
  • Death certificate - Frank Leo McCarroll was born September 5, 1892 in Minnesota and passed away March 8, 1954. Two occupations are listed: "Actor-Motion Pictures" and "Painting Contractor". Appears he was visiting or working at 4815 Colfax Avenue, Los Angeles when he died. An autopsy was performed and cause of death was coronary atherosclerosis. Parents were James William McCarroll (born Canada) and Anna L. Hartrick (born Minnesota). The informant was wife Lorrie McCarroll, and they lived at 623 Whitnall Highway, Burbank, California. He was cremated and interred at Forest Lawn.

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a picture of the grave marker for McCarroll at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5970964



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from L-to-R are Frank McCarroll and Roger Williams (without his usual moustache) in a still from BRANDED A COWARD (Supreme, 1935) which starred Johnny Mack Brown.


(Courtesy of Les Adams)

Above is the title lobby card from BRANDED A COWARD (A. W. Hackel/Supreme, 1935) which starred Johnny Mack Brown. On the left are Frank McCarroll (with white shirt) and Roger Williams.


(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from L-to-R are Kermit Maynard, Dick Curtis, Frank McCarroll and Roger Williams in a lobby card from Kermit's VALLEY OF TERROR (Ambassador/Conn, 1937).


(From Old Corral image collection)

Above are Frank McCarroll (left) and a clean shaven Tex Terry (right) with six-guns leveled at Gene Autry. At the desk is Charles Evans. Lobby card from TWILIGHT ON THE RIO GRANDE (Republic, 1947), one of five films that Gene did for Republic after he returned from World War II duty. He then left Republic, formed his own production company, and released new films through Columbia Pictures.



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