“B” actor Stephen McNally forsook a thriving career as a practicing attorney in the late 1930s when he made the decision to switch gears and pursue acting, which he did avidly. He began his career on stage using his real name of Horace McNally and earned minor status in World War II-era films as both a minor hero and heavy. In 1946 his career took a boost when he changed his stage name to Stephen McNally and carved out a niche as both villains and “tough guy” heroes. He was notably despicable in the Jane Wyman starrer Johnny Belinda (1948) and in Winchester ’73 (1950) with James Stewart. His heroes fell into such secondary adventures as City Across the River (1949) and Air Cadet (1951). McNally continued duking it out with the leads in other 1950s fare, often for Universal Pictures, such as No Way Out (1950), Battle Zone (1952), the somewhat bizarre Don Siegel western The Duel at Silver Creek (1952), A Bullet Is Waiting (1954), Violent Saturday (1955), Tribute to a Bad Man (1956) and Johnny Rocco (1958). In the long run he proved much more interesting when his character had little redeeming qualities. He starred in a couple of TV series following his wave of movie-making but none of them really stuck and his name never became etched into the minds of audiences.
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