Walter Andrew Brennan Edit Profile
Graduate Rindge Technology School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1915. A.F.D. (honorary), Morris Harvey College. Doctor of Laws, Stonehill College, 1968.
He began in films in 1923 after service in the First World War and after having made and lost a fortune in real estate. The decisive impact on his career was an accident in 1932 that knocked out his teeth. Ever afterwards, he had a great asset for any comic support—false teeth—that he removed or restored from part to part. In his last dozen or so years he reclined in childrens films, but from 1930 to 1960 he was constantly in films of high quality.
Served with 101st Field Artillery, United States Army, 1917-1919.
Brennan had been Hollywood's preeminent “old-timer” for so long that his real age hardlv seemed relevant. But now he has gone the unsentimental way of all Hawks heroes. When he approaches any pearly gates, he may wonder if St. Peter is a cantankerous old man with a shotgun who insists on the password.
His Stumpy in Rio Bravo is the culmination of the loyal, crabby old man he had played for twenty years, the veteran who must improvise a way of sharing in the heroics that occupy the younger members of the circle. It is a performance that has very little to do with old age. Indeed, it is intensely artificial, an Arcadian dream of romance saving man from decline and debility.
Married Ruth Caroline Wells. Children: Arthur Wells, Walter Andrew, Ruth Caroline.
Western Heritage National Cowboy Hall of Fame award, 1967. Elected to Cowboy Hall of Fame, 1970. Has appeared as guest on television.