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Wallace Beery Edit Profile

actor

Wallace Beery was an American actor. He was awarded gold medal as “world’s best movie actor,” International Motion Picture Exposition, Venice, Italy, 1934.

He was also a member advisory board Bank of America, Hollywood, California; Mason (32°. Shriner).

Background

Beery, Wallace was born on April 1, 1886 in Kansas City, Missouri, United States. Son of Noah and Margaret Beery. Beery was the older half-brother of Noah Beery.

Education

Beery studied at Chase School in Kansas City.

Career

As a youth, he joined the Ringling Circus and went into vaudeville and summer stock where he specialized in playing old ladies. From about 1912 he had small parts in movies, and in 1914 he made a series of one-reel comedies at Essanay in the role of a Swedish housemaid. He moved on, in the same skirts, to Universal, where he also worked as a director.

The divorce persuaded Beery to stay in trousers and he settled into a run of colorful villains and blundering oafs: The Little American (17, Cecil B. De Mille); The Love Burglar (19, James Cruze); Soldiers of Fortune (19, Allan Dwan); Victon/ (19, Maurice Tourneur); The Virgin of Stamboul (20, Tod Browning); The Mollycoddle (20, Victor Fleming); as Magua in The Last of the Mohicans (20, Tourneur); A Tale of Two Worlds (21, Frank Lloyd); Wild Horsey (22, Wesley Ruggles); 1 Am the Law (22, Edwin Carewe); The Man from Hell’s River (22, Irving Cummings); as Richard the Lion-Hearted in Robin Hood (22, Dwan); The Flame of Life (23, Hobart Henley); Bavu (23, Stuart Baton); Drifting (23, Browning); Ashes of Vengeance (23, Lloyd); as the villain in The Three Ages (23, Buster Keaton and Eddie Cline); The Spanish Dancer (23, Herbert Brenon); The White Tiger (23, Browning); The Signal Tower (24, Clarence Brown); The Sea Hawk (24, Lloyd); The Red Lily (24, Fred Niblo); as Professor Challenger in The Lost World (25, Harry O. Hovt); and The Devil’s Cargo (25. Fleming).

His stock had risen steadily and he was signed up by Paramount: Coming Through (25, Edward Sutherland); Adventure (25, Fleming); The Wanderer (25. Raoul Walsh); The Pony Express (25, Cruze); on loan to play with Colleen Moore in So Big (25, Charles Brabin). Then Paramount teamed him with Raymond Hatton in a series of comedies: Behind the Front (26, Sutherland); \\ rc re in the Navy Now (26, Sutherland); Fireman, Save My Child (27, Sutherland); Now We’re in the Air (27, Frank Strayer); Wife Savers (28, Ralph Cedar); Partners in Crime (28, Strayer); and The Big Killing (28, F. Richard Jones). The series did well, until The Big Killing. Paramount doubted Beery’s staying power now that he needed to talk, and they let him go after Beggars of Life (28, William Wellman); Chinatown Nights (29, Wellman); The Stairs of Sand (29. Otto Brow'er); and River of Romance (29, Richard Wallace).

It was a notable mistake. MGM picked up Beeiy and made him a leading star of the early 1930s: as a convict in The Big House (30, George Hill); as Barnum in A Lady’s Morals (30, Sidney Franklin); as Pat Garrett in Billy the Kid (30, King Vidor); with Marie Dressier in Min and Bill (30, Hill); with John Gilbert in Wat/ for a Sailor (30, Sam Wood). With Fredric March he shared the best actor Oscar for his work in The Champ (31, Vidor), and for the next few years was at his peak: Grand Hotel (32, Edmund Colliding); as a wrestler in Flesh (32, John Ford); with Dressier again in Tugboat Annie (33, Mervyn Le Hoy); the husband of Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight (33, George Cukor); The Bowen/ (33, Walsh); in the title part of Viva Villa! (34, Howard Hawks and Jack Conway); as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (34, Fleming); and as The Mighty Barnum (34, Walter Lang).

He slipped gradually into supporting parts, always looking for a replacement for Marie Dressier, who died in 1934: China Seas (35, Tay Garnett); O'Shaughnesstj's Boy (35, Richard Boleslavskv); Ah, Wilderness! (35, Brown); A Message to Garcia (36, George Marshall); Slave Ship (37, Garnett); Port of Seven Seas (38, James Whale); Stablemates (38, Wood); Stand Up and Fight (39, W. S. Van Dyke); Sergeant Madden (39, Josef von Sternberg); and Thunder Afloat (39, George Seitz).

Marjorie Main was Beerv’s partner in his last years in films of decreasing importance: Twenty Mule Team (40, Richard Thorpe); Wyoming (40, Thoqie); The Bad Man (41, Thoipe); Barnacle Bill (41, Thorpe); jackass Mail (42, Norman Z. McLeod); Barbary Coast Gent (44, Roy del Ruth); This Man's Navi/ (45, Wellman); A Date with Judy (48, Thorpe); and Big Jack (49, Thorpe).

Membership

Member advisory board Bank of America, Hollywood, California. Mason (32°. Shriner).

Connections

He got acquainted with Gloria Swanson, who was a teenage ingenue in some of the Sweedie films, and they were briefly married. Divorce came in 1919, proving that two separate layers from the Dream could not coexist.

father:
Noah Beery

mother:
Margaret Beery