Albert McCleery

Biography: Albert McCleery began his career as a Broadway bit player and worked his way up to producing and directing in the 30's. He wrote a book along with his co-writer Carl Glick titled "Curtains Going Up: Theatre Americana" in 1939. He became a pioneer of the 'Little Theater Movement' in the U.S. Serving the Country as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II. He and Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin, US Army retired, then the 82nd Airborne Division's commander were two who heard Miss Dietrich's request to find her mother. Lt. Col. McCleery was one of the first American column to enter Berlin on 1 July 1945. Once inside city limits Col. McCleery made a beeline for the Von Loesch address, found Miss Dietrich's mother alive and well, but meagerly fed and caring for a 95-year old aunt. Word was sent to Paris to her daughter, who immediately caught a flight to Berlin on the military shuttle, as she was in the USO then. Returning to the U.S. after the War, Albert McCleeryAlbert McCleery began his career as a Broadway bit player and worked his way up to producing and directing in the 30's. He wrote a book along with his co-writer Carl Glick titled "Curtains Going Up: Theatre Americana" in 1939. He became a pioneer of the 'Little Theater Movement' in the U.S. Serving the Country as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division during World War II. He and Lt. Gen. James M. Gavin, US Army retired, then the 82nd Airborne Division's commander were two who heard Miss Dietrich's request to find her mother. Lt. Col. McCleery was one of the first American column to enter Berlin on 1 July 1945. Once inside city limits Col. McCleery made a beeline for the Von Loesch address, found Miss Dietrich's mother alive and well, but meagerly fed and caring for a 95-year old aunt. Word was sent to Paris to her daughter, who immediately caught a flight to Berlin on the military shuttle, as she was in the USO then. Returning to the U.S. after the War, Albert McCleery became head of the Drama department at Fordham University. Albert McCleery cast William Windom (a student at Fordham) in the lead role of "Richard III" for the 1946 "Seminar of Theatre Practice". In 1948 McCleery cast William Windom in the lead as Romeo in "Romeo and Juliette".

By the late 40's a new venue was starting out called television. Albert McCleery with his foresight saw this as the perfect format to bring stage to television. He created the "Cameo Theatre", using minimal props and only the actors and dialogue as the main attraction. He was quickly hired to produce and direct "Hallmark Hall of Fame" at the request of the executive producer Mildred Freed Alberg herself.

Successful with this new venue, he went on to produce and direct "Matinee Theatre" a daytime project which earned him an EMMY. Known to his employees as the Colonel, he ran a tight ship and garnered respect. Now producing other television shows and films through the 60's he passed away suddenly in 1972.
Expand