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Johnny Mack Brown

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Occupation  Actor
Bowl games  Rose Bowl (1926)
Years active  1927–1966
Height  5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)

Position  Halfback
Name  Johnny Brown
College  Alabama (1924–1925)
Role  American football player
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Born  September 1, 1904 (1904-09-01) Dothan, Alabama, U.S.
Died  November 14, 1974, Woodland Hills, California, United States
Spouse  Cornelia 'Connie' Foster (m. 1926–1974)
Education  Dothan High School, University of Alabama
Children  Jane Harriet Brown, Cynthia Brown, John Lachlan Brown, Sally Brown
Movies  Branded a Coward, Our Dancing Daughters, Fighting with Kit Carson, Law Men, Rogue of the Range
Similar People  Bob Steele, Sam Newfield, Lewis D Collins, Ray Taylor, Lesley Selander

Cfbhof member johnny mack brown

Johnny "Mack" Brown (September 1, 1904 – November 14, 1974) was an American college football player and film actor originally billed as John Mack Brown at the height of his screen career. He was mostly in Western films.


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Early life

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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.

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After he finished college, he sold insurance and later coached the backs on Alabama's freshman football team.

University of Alabama

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While at the University of Alabama, Brown became an initiated member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.


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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."


The 1924 team lost only to Centre. Brown starred in the defeat of Georgia Tech.


Brown helped his team to become the 1925 NCAA Division I-A national football champions. In that year's Rose Bowl Game, 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 1926 Crimson Tide was thus 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.

Film career

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 with 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. Eventually he became one of the screen's top B-movie cowboys, and became a popular star at Universal Pictures in 1937. A fan of Mexican music, he 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 four serials for Universal (Rustlers of Red Dog, Wild West Days, Flaming Frontiers and The Oregon Trail) and was a hero to millions of young children at movie theaters and on their television screens.

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, often playing "Nevada Jack McKenzie" opposite Buck Jones's old sidekick Raymond Hatton. 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 "dramatic" 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.

Personal life

Brown was married to Cornelia "Connie" Foster from 1926 to his death in 1974, and they had four children.


In recognition of his contribution to the motion picture industry, Brown was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6101 Hollywood Blvd. 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.

Brown is mentioned in the novel From Here to Eternity. In a barracks scene, soldiers discuss Western films, and one asks, "Remember Johnny Mack Brown?", resulting in a discussion. Also, in the short story The Day the Cisco Kid Shot John Wayne, Brown and three other Western movie stars are disparaged as boys of Mexican descent discuss their preference for Mexicans or Indians over white stars in films.

From March 1950 to February 1959, Dell Comics published a Johnny Mack Brown series of comic books. He also was included in 21 issuess of Dell's Giant Series Western Roundup comics that began in June 1952.


Brown died in Woodland Hills, California, of heart failure at the age of 70. His cremated remains are interred in an outdoor Columbarium, in Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.


Johnny Mack Brown Wikipedia