biography

Born Dorothy Ellen Quackenbush in Portland, Oregon, on January 16, 1916 (some sources cite her birthday as June 22, 1915), actress Wanda McKay grew up in Texas and Missouri. While living in Missouri, McKay embarked upon a modeling career, eventually becoming a familiar face on billboards and magazine covers. Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, she became Transcontinental Airline's official model hostess when she won the title "Miss American Aviation" in 1938. This exposure got McKay noticed by Paramount talent scouts, who signed her to a contract in 1939.

Wanda McKay

Paramount publicity photo of Wanda McKay from the late 1930s

McKay toiled, mostly uncredited, in more than a dozen Paramount releases between 1939 and 1941. After her contract with the studio ended, McKay headed to Columbia to make a couple of westerns including The Royal Mounted Patrol (1941; with Charles Starrett and Lloyd Bridges) before going to Monogram and Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). Although these were poverty-row studios, McKay finally had starring roles. A number of McKay's films were from the horror genre, including Bowery at Midnight (1942; with Bela Lugosi, Tom Neal, and John Archer), The Black Raven (1943; with George Zucco and Robert Livingston), Voodoo Man (1944; with Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, and George Zucco), and The Monster Maker (1944; J. Carrol Naish and Ralph Morgan). Following World War II, horror films lost favor with audiences, and at the same time McKay's career began to go into decline.

the films of wanda mckay

Twilight on the Trail (1941)

Brad King and Wanda McKay

With Brad King in the western Twilight on the Trail, released by Paramount

One Thrilling Night (1942) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

John Beal and Wanda McKay

From the Monogram comedy/mystery One Thrilling Night with John Beal

Danger! Women at Work (1943) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Wanda McKay, Isabel Jewell, Betty Compson, Cobina Wright Sr., Mary Brian, and Patsy Kelly

From the PRC wartime comedy Danger! Women at Work with Isabel Jewell, Betty Compson, Cobina Wright Sr., Mary Brian, and Patsy Kelly

The Monster Maker (1944) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Wanda McKay and Terry Frost

With Terry Frost in the PRC horror flick The Monster Maker

Voodoo Man (1944)

Louise Currie, Wanda McKay, John Carradine, Bela Lugosi, George Zucco, Ellen Hall, and Terry Walker

From Monogram's horror flick Voodoo Man with Louise Currie, John Carradine, Bela Lugosi, George Zucco, Ellen Hall, and Terry Walker

There Goes Kelly (1945)

Sidney Miller, Wanda McKay, and Jackie Moran

With Sidney Miller and Jackie Moran in the Monogram comedy There Goes Kelly

Kilroy Was Here (1947) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Wanda McKay, Patti Brill, Jackie Cooper, Pat Goldin, and Jackie Coogan

From the Monogram Pictures comedy Kilroy Was Here with Patti Brill, Jackie Cooper, Pat Goldin, and Jackie Coogan

The Golden Eye (1948)

Wanda McKay, Roland Winters, Lois Austin, and Bruce Kellogg

From Monogram's late 1940s Charlie Chan series The Golden Eye with Roland Winters, Lois Austin, and Bruce Kellogg

Because of Eve (1948) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Wanda McKayJohn Parker, Wanda McKay, and Joseph Crehan

LEFT: McKay as Sally Stephens in the independently produced campy cautionary tale Because of Eve. RIGHT: With John Parker, Sally's husband and VD carrier, and Joseph Crehan

Jungle Goddess (1948) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

George Reeves

From Lippert's low-budget adventure Jungle Goddess with George Reeves and Ralph Byrd. This film aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000 during season two

later years

McKay's career hit the skids by 1950, when she slid back into uncredited roles. Her last credited film role is the low-budget crime drama Roaring City (1951; with Hugh Beaumont). After a few roles in early television series, McKay called a halt to her acting career. In the early 1950s, McKay formed a construction company with her brother, building homes in southern California. With a failed marriage behind her, in 1962 McKay met famed composer Hoagy Carmichael, becoming his constant companion. They eventually married in May 1977, with the union lasting until Carmichael's death in December 1981. Sadly, Wanda McKay passed away on April 11, 1996, at the age of 80. She was survived by a son.

wanda mckay films available from movies unlimited

Find your movie at MoviesUnlimited.com.
The Pioneers [DVD](1941) DVD
Tex Ritter rides the roaring range in this horse opera as a frontiersman leading a wagon train of pioneers on a journey across the plains. Together with mule-riding sidekick Slim Andrews, he squares off against some crooks who want the land that the settlers are planning on inhabiting. Very loosely based on the James Fenimore Cooper novel. Red Foley, Doye O'Dell, Wanda McKay co-star. 58 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English. Plays All Regions.
Hopalong Cassidy, Vol. 7 [DVD] DVD
"Texas Masquerade" (1943) is not a frontier Halloween party, but Hopalong Cassidy (William Boyd) and California (Andy Clyde) give some two-fisted "treats" to a gang of masked riders out to "trick" local ranchers out of their land. Then, "The Marauders" (1947) finds the black-hatted hero settling a score with a band of murderous owlhoots who've driven a whole frontier town out so they can dig for oil. "The Border Vigilantes" (1941) are hired to help a mining town save its silver from being hijacked by some blackhats, but it's up to Hoppy to uncover the connection between the two groups. Clyde, Russell Hayden, Victor Jory also star. Boyd made his final screen appearance as Hopalong Cassidy in "Strange Gamble" (1948), which finds him hot on the trail of a counterfeiting ring in Silver City. With Clyde, Rand Brooks. "Twilight on the Trail" (1941) is more like "Tea Time on the Trail," when Cassidy poses as an English detective to find out who's been rustling cattle from his rancher pals. 5 hrs. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 5.1.
Bowery At Midnight [DVD](1942) DVD
Creepy mystery starring Bela Lugosi as a psychology professor who uses a mission as a front for his criminal deeds. When people become aware of his activities, Lugosi has them killed and buried in a basement, then revives them with a special drug. John Archer and Wanda McKay co-star. 60 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English mono; scene access. Plays All Regions.
Law And Order [DVD](1942) DVD
Buster Crabbe shines as Billy the Kid in this great horse opera. After the Kid and some associates are arrested and taken to Fort Culver, the outlaw is shocked to discover that he is an exact double for the post's commander. But when the Calvary officer dies, Billy takes his identity and helps foil a plot to swindle an old lady. With Al St. John, Dave O'Brien. Standard; Soundtrack: English.
Rolling Down The Great Divide [DVD](1942) DVD
Cattle rustlers use short-wave radio signals to track down lost steers and claim them for themselves in this unique sagebrush saga. Bill "Cowboy Rambler" Boyd and Art Davis are the heroes out to cause interference with the crooks' plans. Lee Powell, Wanda McKay, Glenn Strange. 59 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English. Plays All Regions.
The Lone Rider In Texas Justice [DVD](1942) DVD
A wrongly jailed rancher is freed from prison, only to face a lynch mob upon arriving home to meet his family. It's then up to "Lone Rider" Tom Cameron (George Houston) and "Fuzzy" Jones (Al St. John) to thwart the activities of villains with the temerity to pose as men of God. This ninth adventure of the Lone Rider series co-stars Dennis Moore, Wanda McKay. Standard; Soundtrack: English.
One Thrilling Night [DVD](1942) DVD
Small-town newlyweds John Beal and Wanda McKay checked into a posh Manhattan motel's bridal suite before his having to report for military service the next morning. Thanks to the intrusion of gangsters trying to stash their loot and the bodies of their victims, it wasn't the "one thrilling night" they had envisioned. Comedy-thriller co-stars Warren Hymer, Tom Neal. 67 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Danger! Women At Work [DVD](1943) DVD
When one of them inherits a 10-ton truck from her uncle, three gals decide to hit the road and set up a freight-hauling service. Their first run, however, gets them mixed up with mobsters moving rigged gambling equipment from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, a runaway heiress, a fortune teller, and other crazies. Breezy comedy stars Patsy Kelly, Mary Brian, Isabel Jewell, Wanda McKay. 58 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English. Plays All Regions.
The Black Raven [DVD](1943) DVD
A lonely roadside inn welcomes Death as a guest in this chilling story of maniacal murders among some stranded travellers. George Zucco, Charles Middleton, Noel Madison, Wanda McKay and Glenn Strange star. 65 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English. Plays All Regions.
Corregidor [DVD](1943) DVD
Moving drama that focuses upon a hopeless love triangle between a trio of army surgeons during the blazing height of combat in the Philippines of World War II. Telling period romance stars Otto Kruger, Elissa Landi, Donald Woods, Frank Jenks. 71 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English. Plays All Regions.
Fox/MGM Hollywood Musicals Collection [DVD] DVD
Sixty-two-disc set includes "Whoopee!," "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum," "Kid Millions," "March of the Wooden Soldiers," "The Goldwyn Follies," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm," "Down Argentine Way," "Moon Over Miami," "Belle of the Yukon," "The Dolly Sisters," "State Fair" (1945), "Bloodhounds of Broadway" (1952), "Hans Christian Andersen," "With a Song in My Heart," "Call Me Madam," "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," "Carmen Jones," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "Daddy Long Legs" (1955), "Guys and Dolls," "Oklahoma!," "Carousel," "The King and I" (1956), "Love Me Tender," "South Pacific," "Can-Can," "Flaming Star," "West Side Story," "Wild in the Country," "Follow that Dream," "Kid Galahad" (1962), "State Fair" (1962), "Beach Blanket Bingo," "The Sound of Music," "Frankie and Johnny," "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "Clambake," "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "Hello, Dolly!," "Fiddler on the Roof," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," "New York, New York," "All That Jazz," "Hair," "The Apple," "A Chorus Line," "The Fantasticks," "Moulin Rouge" (2001), and "De-Lovely."
The Monster Maker [DVD](1944) DVD
A deranged doctor infects a concert pianist with acromegaly germs, turning him into a deformed monster, and promises to cure him if he is given the victim's daughter's hand in marriage. J. Carrol Naish, Ralph Morgan, Wanda McKay star; from the director of ``Terror of Tiny Town.'' 62 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English mono; scene access. Plays All Regions.
Raiders Of Ghost City [DVD](1944) DVD
A Union Secret Service agent (Dennis Moore) smashes a ring of gold robbers posing as Confederate soldiers during the final stages of the Civil War. Lionel Atwill, Wanda McKay and Regis Toomey also star. 13 chapters; 3 2/3 hrs. Standard; Soundtrack: English; biographies; theatrical trailers.
The Corpse Vanishes (1942)/Voodoo Man [DVD](1944) DVD
Hoping to resurrect his late wife, doctor Bela Lugosi abducts young women and holds them captive in his cellar, then uses voodoo rituals in an attempt to transfer their life essence into his beloved's body. Spooky Monogram shocker "Voodoo Man" also stars John Carradine as the keeper of Bela's basement prison and George Zucco as a sinister gas station attendant. Also includes "The Corpse Vanishes." 149 min. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English; bonus shorts; more.
RiffTrax: Voodoo Man [DVD](1944) DVD
Hoping to resurrect his late wife, doctor Bela Lugosi abducts young women and holds them captive in his cellar, then uses voodoo rituals in an attempt to transfer their life essence into his beloved's body. Spooky Monogram shocker also stars John Carradine as the keeper of Bela's basement prison and George Zucco as a sinister gas station attendant. 62 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo; audio commentary.
Club Paradise [DVD](1945) DVD
Trapped in a horrible family situation, young Julie yearns for a better life elsewhere. After meeting the charming Danny, her dreams have seemingly come true--until she discovers that her new beau is actually a smooth-talking scoundrel. Will Julie's relationship with Danny lead her to ruin? Robert Lowery, Doris Merrick, Wanda McKay star in this melodrama. 80 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English; bonus "Decoy" episode. Plays All Regions.
Hollywood & Vine [DVD](1945) DVD
A funny spoof on Hollywood, focusing on the adventures of several characters in Tinseltown. A movie producer tries to make a star out of a dog, a New York down-and-outer finds success as a screenwriter, and the owner of a hamburger stand becomes a studio exec. James Ellison, Wanda McKay, Ralph Morgan, and Franklin Pangborn star. 57 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English. Plays All Regions.
Kilroy Was Here [DVD](1947) DVD
When World War II vet Johnny Kilroy (Jackie Cooper) has his G.I. Bill admission bid to the college of his choice rejected, his army buddy (Jackie Coogan) starts spreading the rumor that he's the notorious "Kilroy" of battlefield graffiti fame. The duped school administration does a turnaround when they think they have a celebrity, but what happens when the ruse is uncovered? Tandem for the former kid stars co-stars Wanda McKay, Frank Jenks, Rand Brooks; Phil Karlson directs. 69 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Street Corner (1948)/Because Of Eve: The Story Of Life [DVD](1948) DVD
First, a high school girl finds she's pregnant, and, to make matters worse, her boyfriend dies in a car accident. Soon, a hash house waitress sends her to a neighborhood abortionist, but will she survive the operation? Marcia Mae Jones, Joseph Crehan star in "Street Corner." Next, during a visit to the doctor's before their wedding, Sally and Bob learn of each other's past and it ain't pretty: Sally had a child out of wedlock and Bob had V.D. So Doc shows them three films featuring nudity, gross sores and actual childbirth. John Parker, Wanda McKay star in "Because of Eve: The Story of Life." 164 min. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; audio commentary; featurettes; interview; radio spots; theatrical trailers; more.
George Reeves Double Feature [DVD] DVD
Two action-packed films starring a pre-Superman George Reeves! First, Reeves plays a pilot who ventures deep into the African jungle to find a rich man's daughter after her plane crashes. When he and his partner find her, worshipped by the native who rescued her, will they be able to escape with the "Jungle Goddess" (1948)? Ralph Byrd, Wanda McKay also star. Next, there's "Thunder in the Pines" (1948) when loggers Reeves and Byrd vie for the love of a mail-order bride. Which man gets to keep her is decided by a contest to see who can cut down the most trees! Lyle Talbot, Denise Darcel co-star. 164 min. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo; filmography; featurettes; photo gallery.
Forgotten Noir: Collector's Set Series Four [DVD] DVD
A law school grad's (Dennis O'Keefe) gaffe working at the office of "Mr. District Attorney" (1941) nets him a dangerous new case. Peter Lorre co-stars. On "Highway 13" (1948), a lovestruck trucker (Robert Lowery) gets mixed up in murder. With Pamela Blake. An FBI agent tries to track down a spy possessing secret government documents aboard a "Sky Liner" (1949). Richard Travis, Blake star. A descendant of the Count of Monte Cristo goes against a crooked lawyer to obtain the "Treasure of Monte Cristo" (1949). Glenn Langan, Adele Jurgens star. When "Counterspy Meets Scotland Yard" (1950), secret missile plans are the prize. With Howard St. John, Amanda Blake. L.A. cops on the "Motor Patrol" (1950) chase down the culprit of a hit-and-run. Don Castle, Jane Nigh star. The "Radar Secret Service" (1950) makes use of high technology to foil bad guys in the atomic age. John Howard, Jergens star. When a mad killer goes on the hunt, a "Western Pacific Agent" (1950) must take him down. Kent Taylor, Lowery star. In the "Roaring City" (1951), a shamus takes a treacherous bet on boxing. Hugh Beaumont, Joan Valerie star. 9 2/3 hrs. total on three discs. Standard; Soundtrack: English.

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filmography

FILM
Roaring City (1951) with Hugh Beaumont and Greg McClure
The Golden Eye (1948) with Roland Winters, Mantan Moreland, Victor Sen Yung, Tim Ryan, and Evelyn Brent
Jungle Goddess (1948) with George Reeves, Ralph Byrd, Armida, and Smoki Whitfield; once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000
Jinx Money (1948) with Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Sheldon Leonard, and Donald MacBride
Stage Struck (1948) with Kane Richmond, Audrey Long, Conrad Nagel, Ralph Byrd, and Evelyn Brent
Because of Eve (1948)
Jiggs and Maggie in Society (1947) with Joe Yule, Renie Riano, Tim Ryan, and Lee Bonnell
Kilroy Was Here (1947) with Jackie Cooper, Jackie Coogan, Sid Melton, and Gil Stratton
Club Paradise (1945) with Robert Lowery, Doris Merrick, Eddie Quillan, Isabel Jewell, Nestor Paiva, and Minerva Urecal
Hollywood and Vine (1945) with James Ellison, Ralph Morgan, and Franklin Pangborn
There Goes Kelly (1945) with Jackie Moran and Dewey Robinson
Belle of the Yukon (1944) with Randolph Scott, Gypsy Rose Lee, Dinah Shore, William Marshall, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, and Robert Armstrong
Leave It to the Irish (1944) with James Dunn, Jack La Rue, Dick Purcell, and Barbara Woodell
Raiders of Ghost City (1944) with Dennis Moore, Lionel Atwill, Regis Toomey, and Virginia Christine
The Monster Maker (1944) with J. Carrol Naish, Ralph Morgan, and Glenn Strange
Voodoo Man (1944) with Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, George Zucco, and Tod Andrews
What a Man! (1944) with Johnny Downs, Robert Kent, and Lillian Bronson
Smart Guy (1943) with Rick Vallin, Veda Ann Borg, Bobby Larson, and Jack La Rue
The Deerslayer (1943) with Bruce Kellogg, Jean Parker, Larry Parks, Yvonne De Carlo, and Addison Richards
Danger! Women at Work (1943) with Patsy Kelly, Mary Brian, Isabel Jewell, and Betty Compson
The Black Raven (1943) with George Zucco, Robert Livingston, Byron Foulger, Charles Middleton, Robert Middlemass, and Glenn Strange
Corregidor (1943) with Otto Kruger, Donald Woods, and Rick Vallin
Bowery at Midnight (1942) with Bela Lugosi, John Archer, Tom Neal, and Dave O'Brien
Law and Order (1942) with Buster Crabbe, Al St. John, Dave O'Brien, and Kenne Duncan
One Thrilling Night (1942) with John Beal, Barbara Pepper, and Tom Neal
The Lone Rider in Texas Justice (1942) with George Houston, Al St. John, and Arch Hall Sr.
Rolling Down the Great Divide (1942) with Glenn Strange
The Royal Mounted Patrol (1941) with Charles Starrett, Russell Hayden, Donald Curtis, and Lloyd Bridges
Twilight on the Trail (1941) with William Boyd and Andy Clyde
The Pioneers (1941) with Tex Ritter
You're the One (1941) with Albert Dekker, Edward Everett Horton, and Jerry Colonna
Dancing on a Dime (1940) with Peter Lind Hayes, Eddie Quillan, Virginia Dale, William Frawley, and Phillip Terry
All Women Have Secrets (1939) with Virginia Dale, Jeanne Cagney, Peter Lind Hayes, Janet Waldo, Joyce Mathews, and Veronica Lake

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
The Lone Ranger, episode Word of Honor, originally aired November 27, 1952
The Cisco Kid, episode Ride On, originally aired November 19, 1951
The Cisco Kid, episode Medicine Man Show, originally aired October 8, 1951
The Lone Ranger, episode Trouble at Black Rock, originally aired February 8, 1951
The Range Rider, episode The Golden Peso, originally aired 1951
The Range Rider, episode The Grand Fleece, originally aired 1951
The Lone Ranger, episode Paid in Full, originally aired December 28, 1950

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