Birth name Wallace Fitzgerald Beery NationalityUSA Birth 1 april 1885 at Kansas City (USA) Death 15 april 1949 (at 64 years) at Beverly Hills (USA) Awards Academy Award for Best Actor
Wallace Fitzgerald Beery (April 1, 1885 – April 15, 1949) was an American film actor. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill in Min and Bill opposite Marie Dressler, as Long John Silver in Treasure Island, as Pancho Villa in Viva Villa!, and his titular role in The Champ, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Beery appeared in some 250 movies during a 36-year career. His contract with MGM stipulated in 1932 that he be paid $1 more than any other contract player at the studio, making him the highest paid actor in the world. He was the brother of actor Noah Beery, Sr. and uncle of actor Noah Beery, Jr.
Beery's first wife was actress Gloria Swanson; the two performed onscreen together. Although Beery had enjoyed popularity with his Sweedie shorts, his career had taken a dip, and during the marriage to Swanson, he relied on her as a breadwinner. According to Swanson's autobiography, Beery raped her on their wedding night, and later tricked her into swallowing an abortifacient when she was pregnant, which caused her to lose their child. Beery's second wife was Rita Gilman. They adopted Carol Ann, daughter of Rita Beery's cousin. Both marriages ended in divorce.
In December 1939, the unmarried Beery adopted a seven-month-old infant girl Phyllis Ann. Phyllis appeared in MGM publicity photos when adopted, but was never mentioned again. Beery told the press he had taken the girl in from a single mother, recently divorced, but filed no official adoption papers.
Beery was considered misanthropic and difficult to work with by many of his colleagues. Mickey Rooney related in his autobiography that Howard Strickling, MGM's head of publicity, once went to Louis B. Mayer to complain that Beery was stealing props off of the studio's sets. "And that wasn't all," Rooney continued. "He went on for some minutes about the trouble that Beery was always causing him ... Mayer sighed and said, 'Yes, Howard, Beery's a son of a bitch. But he's our son of a bitch.' Strickling got the point. A family has to be tolerant of its black sheep, particularly if they brought a lot of money into the family fold, which Beery certainly did."
Child actors, in particular, recalled unpleasant encounters with Beery. Jackie Cooper, who made several films with him early in his career, called him "a big disappointment", and accused him of upstaging, and other attempts to undermine his performances, out of what Cooper presumed was jealousy. He recalled impulsively throwing his arms around Beery after one especially heartfelt scene, only to be gruffly pushed away.
Child actress Margaret O'Brien claimed that she had to be protected by crew members from Beery's insistence on constantly pinching her.
Rooney remained an exception to the general negative attitude among child actors. In his memoir he described Beery as "... a lovable, shambling kind of guy who never seemed to know that his shirttail belonged inside his pants, but always knew when a little kid actor needed a smile and a wink or a word of encouragement." He did concede that "not everyone loved [Beery] as much as I did." Beery, by contrast, described Rooney as a "brat", but a "fine actor".
Beery owned and flew his own planes, one a Howard DGA-11. On April 15, 1933 he was commissioned a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Reserve at NRAB Long Beach. One of his proudest achievements was catching the largest black sea bass in the world off Santa Catalina Island in 1916, a record that stood for 35 years.
A noteworthy episode in Beery's life is chronicled in the 5th episode of Ken Burns' documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea: In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating Jackson Hole National Monument to protect the land adjoining the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Local ranchers, outraged at the loss of grazing lands, compared FDR's action to Hitler's taking of Austria. Led by an aging Beery, they protested by herding 500 cattle across the monument lands without a permit.
, 1h25 Directed byJohn Waters, John Waters, John Waters OriginUSA GenresDrama ThemesFilms about children ActorsWallace Beery, Dean Stockwell, Edward Arnold, Aline MacMahon, Cameron Mitchell, Dorothy Patrick Roles Roy 'Slag' McGurk Rating63% Roy "Slag" McGurk (Beery), the former heavyweight boxing champion, ekes out a living as a bouncer in Mike Glenson's (Edward Arnold) saloon in the rough Bowery district of New York City. Mike has to meet two brewers for an important deal, so he sends Slag to pick up his daughter Caroline (Dorothy Patrick), returning by ship from Europe. Despite his estrangement from Johnny Burden (Cameron Mitchell), his boxing protege who joined the Salvation Army after putting one opponent in a wheelchair, Slag tells the young man. Mike had sent Caroline away to try to break up her relationship with Johnny.
Directed byS. Sylvan Simon OriginUSA GenresWestern ActorsWallace Beery, Margaret O'Brien, Marjorie Main, J. Carrol Naish, Joseph Crehan, Frances Rafferty Roles Zeb Bascomb alias Ezekiel 'Zeke' Smith Rating68% "Bad" Bascomb (Beery) is a notorious outlaw wanted by federal marshals after outwitting every group sent to capture him. He and fellow bandit Bart Ramsay (Naish), a cold-blooded killer, have again eluded the marshalls by joining a Mormon wagon train heading to Utah. They pretend to be helpful, and Bascomb becomes fond of an admiring little girl played by O'Brien. Beery eventually distances himself from the other thief and saves the wagon train from an attack by Indians, before being taken captive by the law at the end of the movie.
, 1h40 Directed byWilliam A. Wellman OriginUSA GenresDrama, War, Adventure ThemesSeafaring films, Transport films, Aviation films, Political films, United States Armed Forces in films ActorsWallace Beery, Tom Drake, James Gleason, Jan Clayton, Selena Royle, Noah Beery Sr. Roles Ned Trumpet Rating63% During World War II, Chief Aviation Pilot Ned Trumpet (Wallace Beery) is in charge of a dirigible at Lakehurst, New Jersey naval base. "Old Gas Bag" brags about his "son" and realizes that he will need someone to impersonate his fictional son. Trumpet finds Jess Weaver (Tom Drake), a young disabled man, arranging for an operation to fix his legs, injured in a riding accident. Afterward, Weaver goes along with the deception and soon earns his Navy wings and commission as an Ensign. While on a submarine patrol mission, his "father" orders an unauthorized and premature attack on a German submarine, (orders have been sent to break off the attack, the "father" does not convey the orders) but the youngster's bomb misses and the submarine fires back, hitting the airship. Trumpet takes over the controls and sinks the submarine, but Weaver faces a court-martial for disobeying orders but the older man takes the blame for his actions. Young Weaver is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, he gives the DFC ribbon to his "father." Leaving Lakehurst, young Weaver attends pilots training at NAS Pensacola.
Directed byRoy Del Ruth OriginUSA GenresComedy, Western ActorsWallace Beery, Binnie Barnes, John Carradine, Frances Rafferty, Chill Wills, Noah Beery Sr. Roles Honest Plush Brannon Rating63% Honest Plush Brannon (Wallace Beery) is a confidence man from the Barbary Coast in San Francisco. He is engaged to Li'l Damish (Binnie Barnes) who is a saloon owner. Plush is in need of money to prove he can stand on his own. His plan to come by some money is disturbed by his ex-companion, Duke Cleat (John Carradine), who accuses Plush of doing him wrong in the past. After a quick showdown, Plush manages to shoot and wound Duke badly. Because of this, Plush is forced to leave town, and decides to take the train to Denver to find his luck. Aboard the train he meets an industrial railroad Millionaire, Bradford Bellamy I (Donald Meek) and convinces him he is about to serve the man in a blackmailing process. Bellamy I wants to throw Plush off the train, but instead they make a deal, that Plush will hold a speech in Bellamy I's name in Gold Town. Plush pretends to be Bellamy I's financial voice and is greeted as such in Gold Town. Even his old partner with whom he used to rob stage coaches, Johnny Adair (Ray Collins), believes him. Johnny's daughter, Portia (Frances Rafferty) is engaged to Bellamy I's grandson, Bradford Bellamy III (Bruce Kellogg). When Plush is attending a ceremony and is about to dedicate a cornerstone in the city, he accidentally discovers that the stone has gold in it. Plush prevents an article declaring that Bellamy III is engaging another woman, an Eastern debutante, to reach the press, and since Bellamy III have no intentions of engaging anyone but Portia, he is grateful to Plush. When the gold finding in the cornerstone is confirmed, Plush clais the ground where the stone is, and everyone in Gold Town wants to invest in his newly founded gold-mining company. Back in San Francisco, Duke has recovered from his injuries and seeks revenge. He finds out about Plush's luck, and at gun-point he forces Plush to give all his earnings to him. Broke and homeless, Plush is forced to rob a Wells Fargo payroll stagecoach. He leaves a poem at the crime scene, and after a few more robberies, he is known as the outlaw "Jingle Bill". The only stage coach that never gets robbed is the one Johnny drives. Plush uses his booty to start up the mining for gold in his company, and soon enough he strikes gold. In an attempt to catch the robber, Plush is forced to stage a robbery against Johnny's coach, in which Plush participates. Plush is shot and wounded by Johnny. Meanwhile, Li'l has come to Gold Town to warn Plush that Duke has been at her place, stolen a bunch of Plush's poems, and is headed to Gold Town. After the fake robbery, suspicion falls on Plush to be the robber. When Duke confronts Plush in the street, the two men once again have a showdown, ultimately shooting each other. Duke dies from his wounds, and the stolen poems are found on his body. Duke is taken for Jingle Bill, but Plush steps up and confesses he is the robber. He waves goodbye to Li'l, Bellamy III and Portia, as he is off to serve a one-year sentence in prison.