Biography of Ranald MacDougall
Ranald MacDougall (March 10, 1915 – December 12, 1973) was an American screenwriter who scripted such films as Mildred Pierce (1945), The Unsuspected (1947), June Bride (1948), and The Naked Jungle (1954), and shared screenwriting credit for "Cleopatra" (1962).
Born in Schenectady, New York, MacDougall came from an impoverished working-class family. His father was a crane operator and union organizer, whose frequent strikes forced MacDougall to leave school before finishing the eighth grade to help support the family. He held a variety of odd jobs and during the Great Depression found work as an usher at Radio City Music Hall. He saw greater potential across the street in Rockefeller Center, where was hired as a page, working alongside fellow teenager Gregory Peck. As a page he had the opportunity to closely observe the radio industry, and in his spare time he wrote and submitted scripts to his boss under pseudonyms, and was finally hired as a staff writer for NBC Radio despite being underage. His documentary-like radio work during World War II won him awards, including a Peabody Award for "The Man Behind the Gun." This brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and he was hired as a contract writer by Warner Brothers to work on his first film, "Objective Burma," starring Errol Flynn. His second assignment, "Mildred Pierce," secured an Academy Award nomination for his screen adaptation. As his career in films progressed, he also served as producer and director on such projects as Queen Bee (1955) with Joan Crawford. He also worked in television as writer, director and producer, on such projects as "Fame Is the Name of the Game."