Mercedes McCambridge Biography


Birthday: March 16, 1916 (Pisces)

Born In: Joliet, Illinois, United States

Carlotta Mercedes Agnes McCambridge, better known as Mercedes McCambridge in the show business, was an American actress who excelled in various roles in television shows, films, and theatre productions. She also had a huge impact in the radio industry and made her name as one of the greatest radio actresses of her time. In her debut film ‘All the King's Men’ as Sadie Burke, she won the Academy Award as well as the Golden Globe for the Best Supporting Actress. She then went on to play many memorable roles in films like ‘Giant’. She also voiced the character of ‘Pazuzu’, the demon, in the iconic horror film ‘The Exorcist’. McCambridge also had a distinguished career as a theatre actress. She was part of Mercury Theater and appeared in many Broadway productions. She was nominated for the Broadway's Tony Award for the Best Supporting or Featured Actress in the early 1970s.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Carlotta Mercedes Agnes McCambridge

Died At Age: 87


Spouse/Ex-: Fletcher Markle (m. 1950–1962), William Fifield (m. 1941–1946)

father: John Patrick McCambridge

mother: Marie (née Mahaffry)

children: John Lawrence Fifield

Born Country: United States

Actresses American Women

Height: 5'3" (160 cm), 5'3" Females

Died on: March 2, 2004

place of death: La Jolla, California, United States

Cause of Death: Natural Causes

Notable Alumni: Mundelein College

U.S. State: Illinois

City: Joliet, Illinois

More Facts

education: Mundelein College

  • 1

    What movies did Mercedes McCambridge star in?

    Mercedes McCambridge is best known for her roles in classic films such as "All the King's Men" (1949), "Johnny Guitar" (1954), and "Giant" (1956).

  • 2

    What was Mercedes McCambridge's acting style known for?

    Mercedes McCambridge was renowned for her powerful and intense acting style, often portraying complex and emotionally charged characters with great depth.

  • 3

    Did Mercedes McCambridge do any voice acting work?

    Yes, Mercedes McCambridge provided the iconic voice of the demon in the classic horror film "The Exorcist" (1973), for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

  • 4

    How did Mercedes McCambridge prepare for her roles?

    Mercedes McCambridge was known for her meticulous preparation for roles, often immersing herself completely in the character by conducting extensive research and adopting different mannerisms and accents.

  • 5

    What impact did Mercedes McCambridge have on the film industry?

    Mercedes McCambridge's powerful performances and versatile acting abilities left a lasting impact on the film industry, influencing future generations of actors and earning her a well-deserved reputation as a highly respected talent in Hollywood.

Childhood & Early Life
Mercedes McCambridge was born in Joliet, Illinois, on March 16, 1916, to Marie Mahaffry and John Patrick McCambridge. She grew up in a middle-class farmer’s family and attended Mundelein College in Chicago.
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Mercedes McCambridge began her acting career in the 1930s, right after her graduation. She appeared in many theatre productions and also joined Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre.
During the 1930s, McCambridge started working for the radio. In the 1940s and 1950s, McCambridge appeared in various popular radio programs, including ‘I Love A Mystery’, ‘A Date with Judy’, ‘Lights Out’, ‘Screen Directors Playhouse’, and ‘Defense Attorney’ (lead role). She also appeared in ‘CBS Radio Mystery Theater’, ‘Guiding Light’, and ‘Family Skeleton’.
In the 1970s, she was nominated at the Broadway's Tony Awards for the Best Supporting or Featured Actress for her role in ‘The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks’.
McCambridge appeared in several films in her career which lasted for over seven decades. She made her debut on the silver screen in 1949 with a critically acclaimed role, ‘Sadie Burke’, in the American film ‘All the King's Men’.
Besides McCambridge, the film ‘All the King's Men’ featured Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, and John Derek. It was directed by Robert Rossen and was based on Robert Penn Warren’s novel of the same title.
After making three film appearances, in ‘Inside Straight’ as ‘Ada Stritch’, ‘Lightning Strikes Twice’ as ‘Liza McStringer’, and ‘The Scarf’ as ‘Connie Carter’ in 1951, she delivered another memorable performance in the 1956 epic western drama film ‘Giant’ where she played the role of ‘Luz Benedict.’ It earned her a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
After her tremendous success on the silver screen in the 1950s, McCambridge made further film appearances in the 1960s and 1970s. Some of her notable works were in films like ‘Cimarron’, ‘Angel Baby’, ‘99 Women’, ‘Justine’, and ‘Thieves’.
McCambridge was felicitated for her services with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for motion pictures at 1722 Vine Street and for television at 6243 Hollywood Boulevard.
Major Works
For her role in the film ‘All the King's Men’, Mercedes McCambridge was lauded, both by the critics and the fans, for her almost flawless acting capabilities. Even though she was cast for a supporting role, she stole the show on her own. She not only won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress but also bagged the Most Promising Newcomer – Female at the Golden Globes in 1950.
She portrayed the role of ‘Luz Benedict’ in the film ‘Giant’ and was nominated at the Academy Awards for the Best Supporting Actress in 1957. The film featured Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, Carroll Baker, Jane Withers, and Chill Wills among other actors. This was James Dean’s last film as a leading actor before he was killed in a car accident.
Family & Personal Life
Mercedes McCambridge’s first marriage with William Fifield lasted for seven years and she gave birth to their only child, John Lawrence Fifield, in 1941. The couple got divorced in 1946. Four years later, in 1950, McCambridge married Canadian actor Fletcher Markle.
During her marriage with Markle, McCambridge suffered from chronic alcoholism. After twelve years of married life, the couple obtained a divorce in 1962.
Just two weeks prior to her 88th birthday, McCambridge passed away in her residence at La Jolla in San Diego, on March 2, 2004. ‘Natural Causes’ was cited as the reason for her death in her death certificate.
Facts About Mercedes McCambridge

Mercedes McCambridge was known for her unique voice, which she used to great effect in her roles as a voice actress in radio dramas and animated films.

She won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film "All the King's Men" in 1949, making her one of the few actors to win an Oscar for their film debut.

McCambridge was a talented stage actress, known for her powerful performances in a variety of theatrical productions throughout her career.

She was also an accomplished radio performer, lending her voice to numerous popular shows in the 1940s and 1950s, earning her the nickname "The First Lady of Radio."


Academy Awards(Oscars)
1950 Best Actress in a Supporting Role All the King's Men (1949)
Golden Globe Awards
1950 Best Supporting Actress All the King's Men (1949)
1950 Most Promising Newcomer - Female All the King's Men (1949)

See the events in life of Mercedes McCambridge in Chronological Order

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