Malcolm McTaggart

born: 23 May 1910
Dakota County, Nebraska,
United States of America
died: 29 May 1949
Bel Air, Los Angeles, California,
United States of America
(swimming pool accident, age 39)

Young American actor with black hair and blue eyes, also known as James Taggart. He worked at the Hal Roach Studios as early as 1931 (an existing daily production sheet for "Skip the Maloo," dated 23 June 1931, lists "Bud McTaggart" among the people called for that day of filming). Around early 1934, he became the assistant casting director at the Roach Studios. A newspaper tidbit from later that year suggests he stepped in front of the camera to play "Little Boy Blue" in "Babes in Toyland" after he went on a three-week search to find a suitable actor for that role; as we well know, Johnny Downs played that role in the final film. Within a couple of years, McTaggart moved out of the casting office and into straight acting, alternating between credited and uncredited roles.
McTaggart was married twice, first to actress Adele Pearce -- later known as Pamela Blake (1915-2009) -- on 23 August 1936 in Yuma, Arizona; the marriage ended in divorce in the 1940s. His second marriage was to Elrene Catherine Stein (1924-2009), on 6 July 1948 at the Bel Air residence of Elrene's uncle, retired businessman Harry G. Atwood; actor Jack Buetel (best known for his performance as Billy the Kid in the 1943 Howard Hughes film "The Outlaw") served as McTaggart's best man at the ceremony. The marriage lasted less than a year when McTaggart met his tragic early end.
On the evening of 29 May 1949, McTaggart and his wife were among the guests at a pool party held at the same Atwood estate where they had just wed: 626 Siena Way, Bel Air, Los Angeles. McTaggart was on a high diving board and yelled to his wife and the other guests to "watch this dive." Just then, McTaggart slipped and fell off the board, his head struck the tile wall of the pool, and he rolled in and sank to the bottom. Buetel, who was also present at the gathering, dove in and pulled him out. He was worked on for 45 minutes by a Fire Department rescue squad, but he was ultimately pronounced dead at the scene; he had just turned 39 years old just six days before. McTaggart is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica, California.
Interestingly, both of McTaggart's wives passed just months apart in 2009. Elrene, who remarried to John M. Britton in 1951, died on 7 June, and Pamela Blake died on 6 October, just one day shy of a full four months later.
Real name: Malcolm George McTaggart
Height: 5'10½"
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.


Sons Of The Desert
Movie theatre usher

A Duke For A Day
Elevator operator

Yanks Ahoy
Corporal Quinn

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Acknowledgements: (1920 Census #1) (1920 Census #2) (1930 Census)
Malcolm G. McTaggart and Adele Eileen Pearce, "Arizona, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1865-1972" ( (1940 Census) (WWII draft reg. card) (1948 marriage) (CA Death Index) (death certificate) (Find a Grave) (Los Angeles Times, 21 Jan 1934) (Homer Star, 25 Jan 1934) (South Sioux City Mail, 10 Aug 1934) (Variety, 02 Sep 1936) (various articles, Aug 1940) (Los Angeles Times, 26 Aug 1940) (Los Angeles Times, 03 Dec 1940) (Los Angeles Times, 07 Jul 1948) (Los Angeles Daily News, 30 May 1949) (Los Angeles Times, 30 May 1949) (Evening Vanguard [Venice, CA], 30 May 1949) (Dakota County Star, 02 Jun 1949) (Variety, 08 Jun 1949) (Western Clippings, interview with 1st wife Adele Pearce/Pamela Blake)
Jesse Brisson (bio notes and research; identification in Sons Of The Desert, A Duke For A Day)

This page was last updated on: 28 May 2024