Joel McCrea Joel Albert McCrea, (November 5, 1905 - October 20, 1990) was an American film actor.
Born in South Pasadena, California, McCrea became interested in films after graduating from Pomona College. He worked as an extra in films from 1927 before being cast in a major role in The Jazz Age (1929). A contract with MGM followed, and then another contract with RKO. He established himself as a handsome leading man who was considered versatile enough to star in both drama and comedy. In the early 1940s he reached the peak of this stage of his career in such films as Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940), Preston Sturges' Sullivan's Travels (1941) and The Palm Beach Story (1942).
From the mid 1940s he appeared predominantly in westerns and became one of the most highly regarded actors of this genre. He costarred with fellow veteran western star Randolph Scott in Ride the High Country (1962) but only appeared in a few more films after this, as he preferred to live the remainder of his life as a rancher. In 1969, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Joel McCrea has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6901 Hollywood Blvd. and another star at 6241 Hollywood Blvd. for his contribution to radio.
McCrea married the actress Frances Dee in 1933. Together, they had three children, David, Peter, and Jody McCrea, who later became an actor like his father. Joel and Frances remained married until his death in Woodland Hills, California from pneumonia at the age of 84 in 1990. According to David Raban's Stars of the '30s, The McCreas were prodigious savers, accumulating an estate to the tune of $50,000,000 USD at the time McCrea's passing. This has in part been attributed to McCrea's Scottish heritage and also to his friendship in the 1930s with fellow sometime actor, Will Rogers. McCrea recounted that "the Oklahoma Sage" gave him a profound piece of advice: "Save half of what you make, and live on just the other half."
During his lifetime, McCrea and Frances lived, raised their children, and rode their horses on their ranch in what was then an unincorporated area of eastern Ventura County, California. The McCreas ultimately donated several hundred acres of their personal property to the newly formed Conejo Valley YMCA for the city of Thousand Oaks, California, both of which celebrated their 40th anniversaries in 2004). Today, the land on which the Conejo Valley YMCA rests is called "Joel McCrea Park".