Macdonald Carey

Macdonald Carey
Paul Bailey / NBC


Macdonald Carey
TV: South side of the 6500 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born March 15, 1913 in Sioux City, IA
Died March 21, 1994 of lung cancer in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Macdonald Carey was a tall veteran actor of stage, screen, radio and television best known as the patriarchal Dr. Tom Horton on the daytime soap opera "Days of Our Lives."

The multifaceted Carey overcame alcoholism, a struggle he chronicled in his 1991 autobiography, "The Days of My Life." He also published three volumes of poetry and was invited to teach poetry by the University of South Carolina, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in fine arts.

When "Days of Our Lives" debuted on Nov. 8, 1965, Carey was the central figure. He also intoned, in his familiar, resonant voice, the dramatic opening line which was to echo over three decades: "Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives."

Twitted by critics for moving into soap operas after a distinguished career on Broadway, 60 films and classic radio and television dramas such as "Playhouse 90," the matter-of-fact Carey said in 1966: "There's not enough work, not enough movies being made today to keep all the actors busy. . . . For an actor, this kind of show is great. This is actually radio come alive again. . . . I really love it."

Carey went to work for NBC Radio in Chicago in 1937, and soon moved to New York for the network. He followed Don Ameche in radio's "First Nighter," and went on to "John's Other Wife," "Stella Dallas" and "Just Plain Bill."

On Broadway, Carey made an inauspicious debut in "Mamba's Daughters." But he went on to star with Gertrude Lawrence in her "Lady in the Dark" and opposite Kitty Carlisle in "Anniversary Waltz."

The stage work won him a contract with Paramount for B movies, and his self-description as "strictly a nonentity in pictures." A notable exception was Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt" in 1943, in which Carey starred with Joseph Cotten and Hume Cronyn.

By the mid-1950s, Carey was concentrating on television, starring in such early drama series as "Playhouse 90," "U.S. Steel Hour" and "Alcoa Playhouse." As television matured, he starred in the 1956 series "Dr. Christian" and the 1959 series "Lock Up," and won such roles as Squire James in the popular miniseries "Roots."

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