Gerald McRaney: A Comprehensive Career Retrospective

Gerald McRaney, born on August 19, 1947, is a distinguished American television and film actor. With a career spanning over several decades, McRaney has captivated audiences with his diverse acting skills and memorable roles. Some …

Gerald McRaney
Real Name:Gerald Lee McRaney
Birthday:August 19, 1947
Net Worth:$8 million
Height:185 cm
Occupation:American Television And Movie Actor

Gerald McRaney, born on August 19, 1947, is a distinguished American television and film actor. With a career spanning over several decades, McRaney has captivated audiences with his diverse acting skills and memorable roles. Some of his most notable roles can be seen on popular television shows such as Simon & Simon, Major Dad, Promised Land, and House of Cards. In addition to his television work, McRaney has also made a mark on the big screen.

In more recent years, McRaney has continued to showcase his talents in various roles, such as his portrayal of Admiral Hollace Kilbride on the hit series NCIS: Los Angeles. With a height of 6’1″ (1.85 m), McRaney possesses a commanding presence on screen, often landing him strong, authoritative roles. Throughout his illustrious career, McRaney has proven his versatility as an actor, taking on roles in various genres and consistently delivering outstanding performances.

Despite an extensive list of credits, an interesting tidbit about Gerald McRaney is his involvement in the television show Gunsmoke (1955). As the last guest star to have a gunfight with the character Matt Dillon in the episode “Hard Labor” (1975), this moment is not only a testament to his longevity in entertainment but also a unique piece of television history. As his career continues to evolve and expand, Gerald McRaney’s impact and legacy within the industry remain undeniable.

Early Life and Education

Collins, Mississippi

Gerald McRaney was born on August 19, 1947, in Collins, Mississippi, to Clyde and Edna McRaney. He is of mixed heritage, with Scottish and Choctaw (Native American people) ancestry. Growing up in the American South, his upbringing included exposure to both his Scottish and Choctaw roots, which would later influence some of his acting choices.

University of Mississippi

Before enrolling at the University of Mississippi, McRaney worked in the Louisiana oil fields. While attending the university, he pursued an interest in acting, which eventually led to a career spanning over five decades. Although not much information is available about his specific course of study, it’s evident that his time at the University of Mississippi was influential in shaping his professional path.

Throughout his career, Gerald McRaney has been praised for his versatility as an actor, playing a wide range of roles on both film and television. Some of the most notable works from his acting career include his role as Rick Simon in the 1980s detective series “Simon & Simon” and the lead role in “Major Dad.”

Acting Career

Early Roles

Gerald McRaney began his acting career in junior high school when he injured his knee playing football and joined the drama club. He spent several years acting in small roles and guest appearances while working in the Louisiana oil fields to support himself and his family. Early in his career, McRaney made guest appearances in classic television shows such as Gunsmoke, The Incredible Hulk, The A-Team, and Designing Women.

Breakthrough Television Shows

McRaney gained recognition in the 1980s playing the role of Private Investigator Rick Simon in the hit television show Simon & Simon, which ran from 1981 to 1989. In the 1990s, he starred in the popular sitcom Major Dad (1989-1993) and the drama series, Promised Land (1996-1999).


During his career, Gerald McRaney has appeared in several films. His filmography includes The NeverEnding Story (1984), Red Tails (2012), and Heart of the Country (2012). In 2019, he reprised his role as George Hearst in the HBO film Deadwood: The Movie.

Recent Television Work

In recent years, McRaney has had a diverse range of television roles, including recurring appearances in Jericho (2006-2008), Deadwood (2004-2006), House of Cards (2013-2018), and Castle (2009-2016). His performance as Dr. Nathan Katowski in the critically acclaimed drama series This Is Us (2016-present) earned him an Emmy award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2017. He has also appeared in episodes of popular shows such as NCIS: Los Angeles (2009-present), Justified (2010-2015), and Longmire (2012-2017).

Additionally, he had a recurring role as a judge on the USA Network show Fairly Legal (2011-2012) and guest-starred in episodes of Hawaii Five-O (2010-present), The West Wing (1999-2006), and Southland (2009-2013). McRaney has been a part of the growing trend of streaming television as well, with appearances on the Netflix original series House of Cards.

Personal Life


Gerald McRaney has been married three times in his life. His first marriage was to Beverly Root in 1967, which ended in divorce in 1971. He then married Pat Moran in 1981, but they also divorced in 1989. McRaney’s current spouse is Delta Burke, whom he married in 1989. Together, they have been a supportive couple, both on and off the screen.


In the past, Gerald McRaney faced a health challenge when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. With the support of his wife, Delta Burke, he managed to overcome the illness and continue his successful acting career.

Off-Screen Interests

Apart from acting, McRaney has other interests and affiliations that keep him engaged off-screen. He is a staunch Republican and an active member of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA). This passion for political and social matters showcases his commitment to actively participating in the betterment of society.

As a father, Gerald McRaney is dedicated to his three children: Angus McRaney, Jessica McRaney, and Kate McRaney. He continues to be a role model for them and shares a strong bond with his family.

Contribution to the Entertainment Industry

Gerald McRaney has made substantial contributions to the entertainment industry as an actor, director, and producer. Over his five-decade career, he has earned accolades and recognition for his versatile talent and dedication to his craft.

Awards and Nominations

His outstanding work has earned him a variety of awards and nominations. One of the most notable ones is his Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series award at the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2017 for his role in the hit show “This Is Us”. Also, McRaney’s performance in “House of Cards” led to a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination as part of the ensemble cast.

A list of some of his major awards and nominations:

  • Primetime Emmy Awards
    • Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (2017, “This Is Us”)
  • Screen Actors Guild Awards
    • Nominated, Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2015, “House of Cards”)

Behind the Scenes

In addition to his acting prowess, Gerald McRaney’s contributions extend behind the scenes as well. He has showcased his talent as a producer on shows like “Major Dad” and “Promised Land.” As a director, he has taken charge of episodes for numerous series, including “Simon & Simon” and “Major Dad,” demonstrating his versatility and commitment to the craft of storytelling.

By continuously challenging himself as an actor, director, and producer, Gerald McRaney has left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry, proving that his dedication has withstood the test of time.

Critical Analysis and Influence

Acting Style

Gerald McRaney is a versatile actor with a wide range of emotional expressions and character portrayals. Throughout his career, he has excelled in various roles such as farmers, hitmen, vigilantes, Vietnam veterans, Old West gunfighters, and corrupt southern sheriffs. His ability to adapt to different roles showcases his unique acting style, which is both engaging and believable. McRaney’s performances often exhibit a sense of authenticity, drawing viewers in and allowing them to connect with his characters.

Industry Impact

Gerald McRaney’s enduring impact on the television and film industry is evident through his successful career spanning decades. As the star of popular TV series, McRaney has demonstrated his ability to captivate audiences with his performances. His versatility as an actor has significantly contributed to the industry, paving the way for him to work with various acclaimed directors and actors.

Television Career: Some of the notable TV series in which Gerald McRaney starred include:

  • Simon & Simon
  • Major Dad
  • Deadwood
  • Jericho
  • Promised Land
  • House of Cards

Film Career: McRaney has also made his mark in the film industry with his performances in multiple movies, such as:

  • A Holiday Romance
  • The A-Team
  • Get Low
  • The Best of Me

The depth and breadth of Gerald McRaney’s body of work prove his undeniable talent and adaptability. As both an actor and an influential figure in the entertainment industry, McRaney continues to captivate audiences and contribute to cinematic storytelling.

Legacy and Recognition

Gerald McRaney is a renowned American television and film actor, with a career that has spanned over several decades. He is best known for his roles in popular television shows such as Simon & Simon, Major Dad, Promised Land, and House of Cards. In recent years, he has also been acclaimed for his portrayal of Admiral Hollace Kilbride on NCIS: Los Angeles.

Over the years, McRaney has received various accolades and recognition for his acting prowess. His diverse range of characters and unforgettable performances have earned him a place in the collective consciousness of audiences worldwide. Some notable awards in his career include:

  • Primetime Emmy Award: Gerald McRaney won this prestigious award for his portrayal of Dr. Nathan Katowski in This Is Us, a popular drama series.
  • Critics’ Choice Television Award: Nominated for his work in House of Cards, McRaney was acknowledged for his role as Raymond Tusk, an influential businessman.

Besides his acting talent, McRaney’s personal life also carries an inspiring story. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2004, he showcased immense resilience, supported by his loving wife, Delta Burke. His journey acts as a beacon of hope, encouraging people to remain vigilant in catching the disease early.

In summary, Gerald McRaney’s legacy not only lies in his extensive body of work as an actor but also in the way he has touched people’s lives through his personal experiences. Through various awards and recognition, he has carved a name for himself in the world of television and film, leaving a mark that will be remembered for years to come.

Film and Television Characters

Iconic Roles

Gerald McRaney has portrayed a multitude of memorable characters in his long and varied career. One of his most iconic roles is Rick Simon in the popular 1980s detective show Simon & Simon. Also notable is his portrayal of General Morrison in the A-Team movie adaptation.

In recent years, McRaney made a lasting impression as Raymond Tusk in the critically acclaimed Netflix series House of Cards. Additionally, audiences have come to love his touching performance as Nathan Katowski in the award-winning drama This Is Us.

Guest Appearances

Throughout his career, McRaney has made numerous guest appearances on a wide array of TV shows:

  • Hollace Kilbride on NCIS: Los Angeles
  • Russell Greene on Promised Land
  • George Hearst on Deadwood
  • Judge David Nicastro on Fairly Legal
  • Carlton Shaw on Undercovers
  • Rev. Gus Horton on Major Crimes
  • Josiah Cairn on Longmire
  • Johnston Green on Jericho
  • Sergeant Major Charvis Krohn on JAG

These roles, along with many others, have contributed to the diverse and remarkable resume of Gerald McRaney, showcasing his incredible acting range in film and television.

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