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Frank McRae (1944-2021)

5th May 2021

The Licence To Kill actor has died aged 77

MI6 logo By MI6 Staff
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American professional football player turned film and television actor Frank McRae was born on March 18th, 1944 in Memphis, Tennessee.

He completed his education at Tennessee State University where he graduated with a double major in drama and history. He first found fame with professional football as played as a defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears in the 1967 NFL season where he appeared in 6 games. He then joined the Los Angeles Rams.

6' 5½" tall McRae shifted gears and turned to acting, landing his first role (uncredited) in 1972's 'Cool Breeze.' His big break came a year later in 1973 when he played opposite Warren Oates in the gangster movie 'Dillinger.' He secured the role by standing in a production executive's parking space until he was granted a meeting.

He would play the role of police captain in three films: '48 Hours' (1982), 'Last Action Hero' (1993) and the spoof 'Loaded Weapon 1' (1993). His other notable credits include 'Red Dawn' (1984), '1941' (1979), 'Used Cars' (1980), 'National Lampoon's Vacation' (1983), and four films with Sylvester Stallone: 'F.I.S.T.' (1978), 'Paradise Alley' (1978), 'Rocky II' (1979), and 'Lock Up' (1989).

He will be best known to James Bond fans for his role as the instantly likable Sharkey in the 1989 film 'Licence To Kill'. Sharkey was a friend of Felix Leiter's, who also attended his wedding. After Leiter's shark attack, Sharkey helped Bond infiltrate Milton Krest's lab and also gave transport to Krest's drug-running vessel, via his fishing boat. While Bond was on board Krest's ship, Sharkey was killed and hung up on display like a sea catch.

McRae's co-star in 'Licence To Kill' Grand L. Bush tweeted: "#RIP ~ I enjoyed working with Frank McRae in Licence To Kill. He was likable with an affable personality. Whenever he was around, it was a good time. May Frank rest in peace knowing his life was purposeful."

Over a career spanning 30 plus years, he appeared in over 40 productions. McRae's final on-screen role was in 2006's 'Love's Abiding Joy,' although he provided voice work for 'The 500 Foor Sister' in 2019.

On April 29th, 2021, Frank McRae died from a heart attack in Santa Monica, California. He is survived by his son Marcellus and his grandchildren Camden, Jensen, and Holden.

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