Mac McDonald is an American actor who portrayed W. Simpson in Aliens. He is also best known for playing Captain Hollister on the BBC TV series Red Dwarf and frequently plays American characters in other British TV shows. He has also had many movie roles in films such as Batman and The Fifth Element, all of which were filmed in England.
Alien franchise credits
- Aliens (1986) Special Edition
- Alien: Isolation (2014)
- Rollerball (1975)
- Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Uncredited
- Top Secret! (1984)
- Electric Dreams (1984)
- Death Wish 3 (1985)
- Haunted Honeymoon (1986)
- Aliens (1986)
- Half Moon Street (1986)
- Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)
- Patlabor: The Movie (1989)
- Batman (1989)
- The Russian House (1990)
- Memphis Belle (1990)
- Nightbreed (1990)
- Hardware (1990)
- Neverending Story III: Return to Fantasia (1994)
- There's No Business (1994)
- Fierce Creatures (1997)
- The Fifth Element (1997)
- The Baber of Siberia (1998)
- Stuff Upper Lips (1998)
- The 51st Estate (2001)
- Captain Sabretooth (2003)
- Control With Glenn Wrage (2004)
- Tara Road (2005)
- Flyboys (2006)
- Shooter (2007) Uncredited
- Transsiberian (2008)
- The Descent: Part 2 (2009) Uncredited
- Wrong Turn 3: left for Dead (2010)
- Tad, the Lost Explorer (2012)
After leaving school Mac pursued a stage career, with a strong personal preference for comedy and music. In 1968 he was in Shreveport, Louisiana as the local TV station's Bozo the Clown. Later he moved to San Francisco, working for some time as a cycle courier and joining the AAA Acting Company.
He developed an interest in the teachings of George Gurdjieff but in 1974 turned down an invitation to attend the movement's training school, deciding instead to travel in Europe, armed only with a fool's hat and a melodica. In Amsterdam he met a fellow American and accepted an invitation to stay in a commune in Kentish Town, North London. There he stayed for some years, taking over a leatherworking business from another departing American resident and running a leather goods stall in the newly opened Camden Lock Market.
There he hit upon a novel idea for busking, the "Human Jukebox", in which he waited in a large silver box until, when prompted by the insertion of a coin and the selection of a song, he opened a window and delivered his (unaccompanied) rendering. This was quite a success since Mac's quite passable tenor was reinforced by a showbizzy, faux-sincere personality that was by turns endearing, ironical and impossibly corny. As the "Human Jukebox" he made his first UK TV appearance, standing in for Elton John's part with Kiki Dee in the hit duet Don't Go Breaking My Heart.
At about this time Mac joined another company, this time presenting children's shows in conjunction with the Inner London Education Authority until in 1982, after a couple of seasons, he and another member, Hilary, left to form a three-person musical comedy troupe, The Cheap Shots, with Mac's close friend Sakal providing the music. The threesome developed "The Chip Shop Show", a series of spoof musicals popular on the newly burgeoning London alternative comedy circuit, making many appearances at The Comedy Store (London) alongside Ronnie Golden, John Hegley and others, including several future Red Dwarf players.
This format led to further TV work and Mac acquired an agent, bringing appearances in TV commercials and other parts requiring an American. The Cheap Shots disbanded and Mac, still living in North London, now with his partner Eleanor, settled down to develop his film and TV career. After a few minor film roles his appearance in Red Dwarf raised his profile and brought more and better roles.
McDonald has two daughters, singers Naomi Jasmine and Jess McDonald.