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Wallace Beery
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Wallace Beery

Wallace Beery (April 1, 1885 - April 15, 1949) was a United States actor, best known for his many cinema appearances. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Beery joined the Ringling Brothers circus at the age of sixteen as an assistant elephant trainer. He left two years later after being clawed by a leopard. He found work in New York City in musical variety and began to appear on Broadway. In 1913, he moved to Hollywood, where he began to appear in a series of comedy silent films for Essanay Studios, cast against gender as a Swedish maid.

In 1915, Beery starred with Gloria Swanson in Sweedie Goes to College. They were married a year later, but the marriage did not survive his drinking and abuse. In the following years, he began to play villains in several movies.

With the transition to sound film he was for a time put out of work, but Irving Thalberg had no objection to Beery's gruff slow speech as a character actor, and hired him under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Beery appeared in the highly-successful 1930 prison film The Big House (for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor). He followed that up with The Champ in 1931 and the role of Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1934).

He made several comedies with Marie Dressler and Marjorie Main, but his career began to slow down in his last decade. He died in Beverly Hills, California of a heart attack and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, in Glendale, California.

Academy Awards and Nominations

  • 1932 Won The Champ (tied with Fredric March for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)
  • 1930 Nominated The Big House
Beery has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7001 Hollywood Blvd.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Wallace Beery Facts

Birth NameWallace Fitzgerald Beery
BirthdayApril 1, 1885
BirthplaceKansas City, Missouri, USA
Date of deathApril 15, 1949 (age 64)
Height6' 1" (1m85)  How tall is Wallace Beery compared to you?
Awards1932 Academy Awards: Best Actor (for The Champ)

Selected Filmography

Not available.