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Wallace Beery

Born 1 April 1885 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, as Wallace Fitzgerald Beery.
Died 15 April 1949 in Beverly Hills, California, USA, of a heart attack.

Brother of actor Noah Beery; uncle of actor Noah Beery Jr.

Married actress Gloria Swanson, 27 March 1916; divorced, 1 March 1919.
Married Rita Gilman, 4 August 1924; daughter Carol Ann Beery; divorced, 1 May 1939.

Wallace Beery was raised in Kansas City, Missouri, and left home at age 16 to join the Ringling Brothers Circus as an assistant animal handler but at age 18 he was significantly clawed by a leopard, which signalled the end of his circus career. With his older brother Noah working in New York as a stage actor, Wallace pursued acting as well and eventually worked on Broadway and in typical touring companies of the day.

In Chicago in 1913, Wallace Beery secured film work for the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. While starring in comedy shorts for the same production company, Wallace met his future wife, Gloria Swanson, and the two were married and soon working in Los Angeles making short comedies at the Keystone Film Company. Gloria went into dramatic parts for Triangle Film Corporation and left to act for Cecil B. DeMille by 1918, and Wallace transitioned from short comedies to feature film character roles in 1917, and the couple were eventually divorced in 1919.

By the 1920s, Wallace Beery was a respected character actor specializing in heavies and he appeared in The Last of the Mohicans (1920), The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), Robin Hood (1922), Richard the Lion-Hearted (1923), The Sea Hawk (1924), The Pony Express (1925) and The Lost World (1925). His versatility at both drama and comedy led to a series of military buddy-buddy comedies beginning with Behind the Front (1926) and continuing with We’re in the Navy Now (1926) and Now We’re in the Air (1927).

Beery continued his successful career into the golden era and won a Best Actor Academy Award for The Champ (1931).

References: Website-IMDb.

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