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A veteran performer, George McKay (born George Reuben) began his long show business career as a bareback rider with the Harris Nickel Plate Circus, toured vaudeville with the Gus Edwards troupe, and appeared in the 1913, 1914, and 1915 editions of the Ziegfeld Follies. One of the founders of National Vaudeville Artists, McKay later formed a duo with comedian Johnny Cantwell, touring both America and Europe as McKay & Cantwell. In 1933, he signed a longtime contract with Columbia Pictures, turning up in scores of supporting roles and bit parts, sometimes playing pillars-of-society villains but more often than not appearing as rather untrustworthy characters bearing names like "Sluggy," "Spudsy," and "Brains McGillicuddy."

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