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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: Cast ... actor elephant trainer
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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 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.

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