Andrew McLaglen was born in London, the son of Academy Award-winning actor Victor McLaglen. At an early age he moved to Los Angeles, and grew up on the sets of his father’s films, forming relationships with director John Ford and John Wayne. His first work on a set came in 1945 for the John Wayne-starring film Dakota. He then worked his way up to assistant director on small films such as Killer Shark (1950), Bullfighter and the Lady (1951) and Wild Stallion (1952), before being hired on to John Ford’s The Quiet Man in 1952. After several more stints as assistant director, McLaglen directed his first feature film, Man in the Vault (1956), which was followed by the John Wayne-produced Gun the Man Down (1956). After these first few films, McLaglen went on to work extensively as a television director, directing the most episodes in the history of the runs of the Western serials Have Gun – Will Travel (116) and Gunsmoke (95). His other television credits include Perry Mason, Gunslinger, The Virginian, The Lieutenant, and the Clint Eastwood-starring Rawhide.
In the 1960s he returned to feature films, directing large budget Westerns and action films starring James Stewart and John Wayne. His film credits include McLintock! (1963), Shenandoah (1965), The Rare Breed (1966), The Devil’s Brigade (1968), Hellfighters (1968), The Undefeated (1969), Chisum (1970), Cahill U.S. Marshall (1973), Mitchell (1975), The Last Hard Men (1976), The Wild Geese (1978), North Sea Hijack (1979), The Sea Wolves (1980), and his final film, Return from the River Kwai (1989). McLaglen also directed the mini-series The Blue and the Gray (1982), and On Wings of Eagles (1986).