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Wallace Beery

Wallace Beery

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Also Known As: Wallace Fitzgerald Beery Died: April 15, 1949
Born: April 1, 1885 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Kansas City, Missouri, USA Profession: actor, elephant trainer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Beefy Wallace Beery gradually progressed from theatre to film and starred in a multitude of comedic shorts during the silent era before becoming one of the biggest and most improbable stars of the 1930s. Imposing and not traditionally handsome, Beery was highly proficient at both comedy and menace, sometimes even mixing the two quite superbly. Feature assignments soon came in such notable productions as "The Last of the Mohicans" (1920), "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (1921), "Robin Hood" (1922) and "The Lost World" (1925). For a time, his career seemed doomed by the arrival of sound, but MGM recognized his innate abilities and Beery's performance as a murderous thug in "The Big House" (1930) netted him an Oscar nomination. He won the coveted statue a year later for his turn as an over-the-hill prizefighter in "The Champ" (1931), which became the actor's signature role. Further impressive work followed in "Treasure Island" (1934) and "Viva Villa" (1934), and Beery found himself an in-demand talent with a highly lucrative contract. However, in contrast to many of the congenial miscreants he played, Beery was a highly disagreeable man completely lacking in basic social graces and a less than...

Beefy Wallace Beery gradually progressed from theatre to film and starred in a multitude of comedic shorts during the silent era before becoming one of the biggest and most improbable stars of the 1930s. Imposing and not traditionally handsome, Beery was highly proficient at both comedy and menace, sometimes even mixing the two quite superbly. Feature assignments soon came in such notable productions as "The Last of the Mohicans" (1920), "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (1921), "Robin Hood" (1922) and "The Lost World" (1925). For a time, his career seemed doomed by the arrival of sound, but MGM recognized his innate abilities and Beery's performance as a murderous thug in "The Big House" (1930) netted him an Oscar nomination. He won the coveted statue a year later for his turn as an over-the-hill prizefighter in "The Champ" (1931), which became the actor's signature role. Further impressive work followed in "Treasure Island" (1934) and "Viva Villa" (1934), and Beery found himself an in-demand talent with a highly lucrative contract. However, in contrast to many of the congenial miscreants he played, Beery was a highly disagreeable man completely lacking in basic social graces and a less than favorite co-star for many of his MGM colleagues. He was also allegedly involved in the fatal beating of comedian Ted Healy in 19XX, though no charges were ever filed. One of the few character players to attain major A-list stardom, Beery was not the most diversified thespian, but few could match his power to both intimidate and amuse.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
2.
7.
8.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Big Jack (1949) Big Jack Horner
3.
 Alias a Gentleman (1948) Jim Breedin
4.
 A Date with Judy (1948) Melvin Colner Foster
5.
 The Mighty McGurk (1947) Roy "Slag" McGurk
6.
 Bad Bascomb (1946) Zeb Bascomb
7.
 This Man's Navy (1945) [Chief Aviation Pilot] Ned Trumpet
8.
 Rationing (1944) Ben Barton
9.
 Barbary Coast Gent (1944) Honest Plush Brannon
10.
 Salute to the Marines (1943) Sergeant Major William Bailey
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1902:
Joined Ringling Bros. as assistant elephant trainer
1905:
Debut as stage performer
1913:
Signed with Essanay; moved to Hollywood; film acting debut
1925:
Worked primarily for Paramount Studios
1930:
Signed with MGM (where he would stay for the rest of his career); became a star with his roles in the hit films, "The Big House" and "Min and Bill", the latter the first of several films in which he was teamed with Marie Dressler
1940:
Made first of seven films with character actor Marjorie Main as his leading lady, "Wyoming"; returned to the annual list of top ten boxoffice stars
1948:
Starred in last film, "A Date With Judy"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Gloria Swanson. Actor. Married in 1916; divorced in 1918.
wife:
Rita Beery. Divorced in the 1930s.

Family close complete family listing

half-brother:
William C Beery. Actor. Born in 1879; died in 1949.
half-brother:
Noah Beery. Actor. Born in 1885; died in 1946.
daughter:
Carol Ann Beery. Actor.
nephew:
Noah Beery Jr. Actor.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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