John Beal


Actor
John Beal

About

Also Known As
James Alexander Bleidung
Birth Place
Joplin, Missouri, USA
Born
August 13, 1909
Died
April 26, 1997
Cause of Death
Complications From A Stroke

Biography

A boyishly handsome American leading man of the 1930s, most memorably in the title role opposite Katharine Hepburn in "The Little Minister" (1934), John Beal also has the distinction of having starred in "The Necklace" (NBC, 1949), the very first dramatic program to win an Emmy Award. His long journeyman career took him from 1930 into the 90s, and included appearances on "Studio One," in...

Family & Companions

Helen Craig
Wife
Actor. Born May 13, 1912; married 1934 until her death in 1986.

Notes

Not to be confused with the composer of the same name

Biography

A boyishly handsome American leading man of the 1930s, most memorably in the title role opposite Katharine Hepburn in "The Little Minister" (1934), John Beal also has the distinction of having starred in "The Necklace" (NBC, 1949), the very first dramatic program to win an Emmy Award. His long journeyman career took him from 1930 into the 90s, and included appearances on "Studio One," in the original TV version of "12 Angry Men," and portraying the original Jim Matthews on NBC's daytime soap "Another World" (1964).

Trained in both business and art, Beal first acted as Mephistopheles in "John Faust Ph.D.," a play performed first at the University of Pennsylvania in 1930, the year he received his BS degree and later that year at the old Metropolitan Opera House in New York City. After some additional stage experience in Pennsylvania, Beal was back in New York in "Give Me Yesterday" (1931) at the Charles Hopkins Theatre and then appeared with the Provincetown Players. He played Jerry Hallam, the brother role, in "Another Language" on Broadway and then went west to do the part in the film version for MGM in 1933. After that one film at MGM, he settled into a contract with RKO for several years, before returning to MGM, but all along continued to return to New York for Broadway appearances, particularly in "Russet Mantle" (1936), and "Miss Swan Expects" (1939).

The Hollywood phase of Beal's career was solid, if not truly stellar, until military service interrupted and took away the momentum. Beal was Gavin, the Scottish pastor, opposite Katharine Hepburn in RKO's "The Little Minister" and was loaned out to United Artists to play Marius in the 1935 rendition of "Les Miserables." He played the title role of Laddie Stanton in "Laddie" (1935), and was a surgeon who throws in his doctoring to become a hobo in "The Man Who Found Himself" (1937). Freelancing after 1938, Beal tossed off the heroic image to be a corrupt civic leader opposite Edward G. Robinson's good guy (for a change!) special prosecutor in "I Am the Law" (1938) at Columbia. He also played in "Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime" (1941) for Columbia, but, by the following year, Beal was decidedly a supporting player, billed below Errol Flynn in "Edge of Darkness," a Warner Bros. release about Norway's resistance to the Nazis. Beal made a few films after the war, but toward the end of the 50s, he was appearing in such fare as "The Vampire" (1957), as a scientist turned into a blood sucker.

Beal returned to the stage, playing Captain Fishby, in John Patrick's Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway play, "The Teahouse of the August Moon" (1955). He went on to play the title role in "Mr. Roberts" in Canada in 1958, appear with Elizabeth Ashley in "Take Her, She's Mine" on Broadway in 1962, and was in the ensemble of "Thornton Wilder's Triple Bill"(1966). But TV work provided steadier employment. Beal, like many actors, had been a radio performer on occasion in the 30s, and 40s, even appearing on "The University Player of the Air" on NBC in 1948-49. He broke into TV early, as master of ceremonies (host) for "Darts for Dough," an early NBC game show, and as a guest star on numerous programs, including "Your Show Time," for which he did "The Necklace" (which won the first Emmy for Best Dramatic Show) and "The Kate Smith Show" (1950). Beal appeared in the first TV production of Horton Foote's "The Trip to Bountiful" on "The Goodyear-Philco Hour" (1953), the first "Twelve Angry Men" on "Studio One" (1954), and numerous other dramas. He was even a host and interviewer on "Hollywood's Best" on WHCN-TV from 1957-58. Although he continued to do guest appearances, Beal also joined the regular cast of the ABC soap opera "The Road to Reality" from 1960-61 and, from 1962-67, was Dr. Henden on "The Nurses." He took time away from the latter to play the first Jim Matthews for a short period on "Another World" when it premiered in 1964 on NBC.

Beal played in a few TV-movies in he 70s: he was the family doctor in "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" (ABC, 1975), and the president's doctor in "Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years" (ABC, 1977). He was also Charles Adams II in the PBS series "The Adams Chronicles" (1976). Beal was still active in the 90s in all media. He had a small role in the syndicated TV-movie "The Kid Who Loved Christmas" (1990), was on stage as the Head Porter in "A Little Hotel on the Side" and in the ensemble of "Three Men on a Horse" at the National Actors Theatre in 1992 and 1995 respectively. He had his final screen role, a small part as a senior law partner, in "The Firm" (1993). Still of mellifluous voice, he narrated two TV specials produced by his daughter, Tandy Beal, in 1987: "Tandy Beal's Nutcracker" and "Listening to the Earth." Beal suffered a stroke in 1995 and succumbed to complications in April 1997.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

New Faces (1954)
Sketch Director

Cast (Feature Film)

The Firm (1993)
Amityville 3: The Demon (1983)
Jennifer: A Woman's Story (1979)
Professor Eric Wohlstrom
Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years (1977)
The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975)
Dr Bowen
The House That Cried Murder (1973)
The Bride (1973)
Father
Ten Who Dared (1960)
Maj. John Wesley Powell
The Sound and the Fury (1959)
Howard Compson
The Vampire (1957)
Dr. Paul Beecher
That Night! (1957)
Commuter [Christopher J. Bowden]
Remains to Be Seen (1953)
Dr. Glenson
My Six Convicts (1952)
Dr. "Doc" Wilson
So Dear to My Heart (1949)
Narrator
Chicago Deadline (1949)
Paul Jean d'Ur
Song of Surrender (1949)
Dubois
Alimony (1949)
Dan Barker
Messenger of Peace (1947)
Rev. Armin Ritter
Key Witness (1947)
Milton Higby, later known as Arthur Ballin
Edge of Darkness (1943)
Johann Stensgard
Let's Have Fun (1943)
Richard Gilbert
Stand by All Networks (1942)
Ben Fallon
One Thrilling Night (1942)
Horace Jason
Atlantic Convoy (1942)
Carl Hansen
Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime (1941)
Walter Mathews
Doctors Don't Tell (1941)
Dr. Ralph Sawyer
The Great Commandment (1941)
Joel
The Cat and the Canary (1939)
Fred Blythe
I Am the Law (1938)
Paul Ferguson
The Arkansas Traveler (1938)
Johnnie Daniels
Port of Seven Seas (1938)
Marius
Danger Patrol (1937)
Dan Loring
Madame X (1937)
Raymond Fleuriot
Border Cafe (1937)
Keith Whitney
The Man Who Found Himself (1937)
Dr. James Stanton, Jr., later known as Jim Jones
Beg Borrow or Steal (1937)
Bill Cherau
We Who Are About to Die (1937)
John E. Thompson
Double Wedding (1937)
Waldo Beaver
M'liss (1936)
Stephen Thorne
Les Misérables (1935)
Marius
Laddie (1935)
Laddie Stanton
Break of Hearts (1935)
Johnny Lawrence
The Little Minister (1934)
Gavin [Dishart]
Hat, Coat, and Glove (1934)
Jerry Hutchins
Another Language (1933)
Jerry [Hallam]

Music (Feature Film)

American Splendor (2003)
Bass

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

The Kid Who Loved Christmas (1990)

Life Events

1930

Made New York stage debut in "John Faust, Ph.D." at Metropolitan Opera House

1933

Made film debut in "Another Language" (MGM)

1948

Was regular on radio's "University Theatre of the Air"

1948

Was master of ceremonies on NBC's "Darts for Dough"

1955

Played Captain Fishby in "The Teahouse of the August Moon" on Broadway

1964

Played Jim Matthews on "Another World" (NBC)

1966

Was member of the ensemble cast of "Thornton's Wilder's Triple Bill" on Broadway

1975

Made TV-movie debut in "The Legend of Lizzie Borden" (ABC)

1976

Played Charles Adams II in "The Adams Chronicles"

1987

Narrated "Tandy Beal's Nutcracker" and "Listening to the Earth" for TV

1992

Played Head Porter in "A Little Hotel on the Side" on stage in NY

1993

Had small role in "The Firm"; final screen appearance

1995

Suffered a stroke

1995

Made final stage appearanc in the Broadway revival of "Three Men on a Horse"

Photo Collections

The Vampire - Lobby Cards
Here are a few Lobby Cards from The Vampire (1957), starring John Beal. Lobby Cards were 11" x 14" posters that came in sets of 8. As the name implies, they were most often displayed in movie theater lobbies, to advertise current or coming attractions.

Videos

Movie Clip

So Dear To My Heart (1948) - The Greatest Wealth Narration and vocal by John Beal, song by Irving Taylor and Ticker Freeman, story-book opening by Disney animators including Ub Iwerks and Josh Meador, and a quick look at the leading lad, Bobby Driscoll as Jerry, in the 1948 adaptation of the book by Sterling North, So Dear To My Heart.
Sound And The Fury, The (1959) - End Of The Line Martin Ritt directs from Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr.’s script, aiming to straighten William Faulkner’s novel’s narrative, we meet Joanne Woodward as Quentin, Ethel Waters as Dilsey, whom she’s caused to panic, and John Beal as Howard, in producer Jerry Wald’s The Sound And The Fury, 1959.
Cat And The Canary, The (1939) - There Are Spirits All Around You Bob Hope as Wally joins fellow potential heirs at the spooky Louisiana mansion, George Zucco the lawyer, Gale Sondergaard the housekeeper, with Elizabeth Patterson, Nydia Westman, Douglass Montgomery and John Beal, then Paulette Goddard's entrance, in the horror-comedy The Cat And The Canary, 1939.
Cat And The Canary, The (1939) - Is He A Dangerous Maniac? After the reading of their ancestor's will in his bayou home, Bob Hope as Wally, with Nydia Westman, George Zucco the lawyer, John Beal, Elizabeth Patterson, Paulette Goddard who got the money, Douglass Montgomery and John Wray, the guard bringing scary news, in the horror spoof The Cat And The Canary, 1939.
Little Minister, The (1934) - From The Mouth Of Hell John Beal, newly-appointed title character, with his predecessor (Herbert Bunston) after services, with comments from quirky policeman Andy Clyde, as Katharine Hepburn, the vaguely defined leading lady, is introduced, in The Little Minister, 1934, from James M. Barrie's novel and play.
Little Minister, The (1934) - Just The Size I Like We still know little about Katharine Hepburn, who appears to be both fiancee' to a local lord, and a freelance gypsy, as she tricks John Beal, the new-in-town title character, into sounding an alarm for mistreated mill workers, in The Little Minister, 1934, from an often-filmed James M. Barrie novel and play.
Break Of Hearts (1935) - This World Of Yours With friend Johnny (John Beal) at a New Year's Party, Constance (Katharine Hepburn), now a known socialite, runs into her estranged husband Franz (Charles Boyer), just back from Europe, in Break Of Hearts, 1935.
I Am the Law - Sabbatical Law professor John Lindsay (Edward G. Robinson) isn't looking forward to his sabbatical, in this opening scene from the 1938 crime drama I Am the Law.
I Am the Law - The Big Apple Gang-moll/Reporter Frankie Ballou (Wendy Barrie) teaches law professor/special-prosecutor John Lindsay (Edward G. Robinson) a hop called "The Big Apple" until his wife (Barbara O'Neil) arrives in I Am the Law, 1938.

Trailer

Family

Edmund Albert Bliedung
Father
Businessperson.
Agnes Josephine Bliedung
Mother
Pianist.
Tita Beal
Daughter
Actor. Survived him.
Tandy Beal
Daughter
Producer. Survived him.
Paul Kruger
Grandson
Survived him.
Justin Kruger
Grandson
Survived him.

Companions

Helen Craig
Wife
Actor. Born May 13, 1912; married 1934 until her death in 1986.

Bibliography

Notes

Not to be confused with the composer of the same name