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Walter Brennan

Walter Brennan

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The Far Country DVD Universal Western CollectionJames Stewart and Walter Brennan are a loner and his... more info $9.99was $9.99 Buy Now

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Also Known As: Walter Andrew Brennan Died: September 21, 1974
Born: July 25, 1894 Cause of Death: emphysema
Birth Place: Lynn, Massachusetts, USA Profession: actor, vaudevillian, ditch digger, bank clerk, real estate agent, reporter, rancher, lumberjack

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the most immediately recognizable character actors of the 20th century, Walter Brennan enjoyed a four-decade career playing colorful, often sage older men in a vast array of legendary films, including "Kentucky" (1938), "The Westerner" (1940), "To Have and Have Not" (1943) and "My Darling Clementine" (1946). Damaged vocal chords and false teeth allowed him to play elderly men while still in his forties, which Brennan imbued with a rascally charm that made him an immediate favorite among moviegoers. After toiling in bit parts for a decade, he claimed his first Oscar as Frances Farmer's father in "Come and Get It" (1936), then repeated the feat as a curmudgeonly horse owner in "Kentucky" (1938). His third Oscar came with one of his most memorable turns as the corrupt Old West judge Roy Bean, who in Brennan's capable hands, was equally winning and frightening in "The Westerner" (1940). He soon became a fixture of screen Westerns, including "My Darling Clementine" (1946) and "Red River" (1948), before moving to television for the popular "Real McCoys" (ABC, 1957-1962). The series extended his career for another two decades, as did films like "Rio Bravo" (1959), "How the West Was Won" (1963). Still...

One of the most immediately recognizable character actors of the 20th century, Walter Brennan enjoyed a four-decade career playing colorful, often sage older men in a vast array of legendary films, including "Kentucky" (1938), "The Westerner" (1940), "To Have and Have Not" (1943) and "My Darling Clementine" (1946). Damaged vocal chords and false teeth allowed him to play elderly men while still in his forties, which Brennan imbued with a rascally charm that made him an immediate favorite among moviegoers. After toiling in bit parts for a decade, he claimed his first Oscar as Frances Farmer's father in "Come and Get It" (1936), then repeated the feat as a curmudgeonly horse owner in "Kentucky" (1938). His third Oscar came with one of his most memorable turns as the corrupt Old West judge Roy Bean, who in Brennan's capable hands, was equally winning and frightening in "The Westerner" (1940). He soon became a fixture of screen Westerns, including "My Darling Clementine" (1946) and "Red River" (1948), before moving to television for the popular "Real McCoys" (ABC, 1957-1962). The series extended his career for another two decades, as did films like "Rio Bravo" (1959), "How the West Was Won" (1963). Still active into his seventh decade, Brennan died in 1974, leaving behind a storied legacy of screen roles that enshrined him as one of the most memorable character actors in Hollywood history.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Two For the Money (1972) Cody Guilford
3.
 Home For the Holidays (1972) Benjamin Morgan
4.
 Over-the-hill Gang Rides Again, The (1970) Nash Crawford
5.
 Over-the-hill Gang, The (1969) Nash Crawford
6.
 Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) Pa Danby
8.
 The Gnome-Mobile (1967) D. J. Mulrooney/Knobby
9.
 Who's Minding the Mint? (1967) Pop Gillis
10.
 The Oscar (1966) Orrin C. Quentin
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Swampscott, Massachusetts
:
After college, briefly worked as a newspaper reporter in Boston
:
Held various jobs from ditch digger to bank clerk
1914:
Enlisted in Army during WWI; promoted to colonel; served in France with the 26th Division; fell victim to poison gas attack which permanently affected his vocal chords; mustered out in 1919
:
After military service, moved to California
:
Worked as a real estate agent; bought pineapple plantations in Guatemela and California; made first fortune
1923:
First film appearances as extra and stuntman at Universal (date approximate)
1927:
Landed first film role in "Tearin' Into Trouble"
1932:
Accident while working as a stuntman knocked out front teeth and had decisive impact on career giving him a great asset, false teeth which he removed or restored from part to part
1935:
Meaty supporting role in "The Wedding Night" assured him a full-time movie career; originally had been cast in smaller role but producer Samuel Goldwyn was impressed enough to cast him in bigger part; also marked first screen collaboration with actor Gary Cooper
:
Signed to contract with Goldwyn
1936:
Received first Oscar Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (initial presentation of award in this category) for Wyler and Hawks' "Come and Get It"
1938:
Earned second supporting actor Oscar for David Butler's "Kentucky"
1940:
Won third supporting actor Oscar for William Wyler's "The Westerner"; played Judge Roy Bean; first performer to win more than two awards and (to date) only male performer to achieve this distinction
1941:
Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "Sergeant York"; only time nominated that he failed to win; most notable screen collaboration with Gary Cooper
1944:
Played Eddie, the rummy, in Howard Hawks' "To Have and Have Not"
1946:
Appeared in John Ford's classic "My Darling Clementine"
1948:
Had another turn for Hawks in "Red River"
1949:
Final screen appearance in support of Cooper in "Task Force"
1951:
Tormented Kirk Douglas with a song in Raoul Walsh's "Along the Great Divide"
1955:
Portrayed Ben Tatem in Anthony Mann's "The Far Country"
1955:
Played Doc in John Sturges' "Bad Day at Black Rock"
1957:
Starred as Grandpa Amos McCoy on popular TV series "The Real McCoys" (ABC, 1957-1962; CBS, 1962-1963); reportedly Brennan owned fifty percent of the series
1959:
Delivered tour de force performance as Stumpy in Hawks' "Rio Bravo", a culmination of the loyal, crabby old men he had played for over twenty years
:
Portrayed chairman of the board Walter Andrews, a cantankerous millionaire, in ABC's sitcom "The Tycoon"
:
Starred in title role of ABC's "The Guns of Will Sonnett"; co-star Dack Rambo played grandson Jeff
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Education

Rindge Technical School: Cambridge , Massachusetts - 1915

Notes

"I'm not a glamour boy, and I never get the girl. I like to play old people, because there's somehing to them. Did you ever see anybody under 30 with any real character or expression in his face?" --Walter Brennan quoted in The New York World-Telegram, June 10, 1939.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Ruth Wells. Married from 1920 until his death.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William John Brennan. Engineer.
mother:
Margaret Elizabeth Brennan.
son:
Arthur Michael Brennan. Rancher. Managed father's ranch; born c. 1922.
son:
Walter Andrew Brennan Jr. Production assistant.
daughter:
Ruth Brennan. Married serviceman Dixon Lademan.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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