Actor. One of filmdom's most hardboiled character players. Born in Columbia, South Carolina, he was a football star at Wesleyan University and got hooked on acting when he landed a bit part in the Richard Dix comedy "The Quarterback" (1926). After further study at the Academy of Dramatic Arts he made his Broadway debut in 1927 and then alternated between the stage and small roles in Paramount films, shot at New York's Astoria Studios. In 1935 he went to Hollywood under contract to Warner Bros. MacLane's performance as the savage gangleader Brad Collins in "G-Men" (1935) established him as a leading screen heavy. With his gorilla-like frame, piercing eyes, and sandpapery snarl of a voice, he was usually cast as gangsters or western outlaws, and when playing tough good guys he projected the same air of menace he brought to his villains. He was the surly cop who slugged Humphrey Bogart in "The Maltese Falcon" (1941); Bogart returned the favor (with interest) in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948), beating MacLane's crooked businessman to a pulp in the cantina scene. In a lighter vein he also played Glenda Farrell's nemesis/love interest in the "Torchy Blane" mysteries of the late 1930s. Among his 125 other films are "The Cocoanuts" (1929), "Tillie and Gus" (1933), "Bullets or Ballots" (1936), "You Only Live Once" (1937), "Mutiny in the Big House" (1939), "High Sierra" (1941), "Western Union" (1939), "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" (1941), "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" (1950), "Hell's Outpost" (1954), and "Pocketful of Miracles" (1961). From the mid-1950s MacLane was active primarily in television and from 1965 until his death he had the recurring role of General Peterson in the series "I Dream of Jeannie". He was married to actress Charlotte Wynters, who co-starred in six of his films.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards