As part of the cast of the Broadway show "The Great Divide" in 1906, he befriended fellow cast member James Kirkwood. Kirkwood went on to direct films and introduced Walthall to D.W. Griffith. Walthall appeared in a number of Kirkwood's films.
At the zenith of his career under D.W. Griffith, Walthall earned the huge sum of $175 per week.
Born in affluence on a plantation near Shelby County, Alabama, one of eight children. His father, Junius Leigh Walthall, was a Virginia native who served as captain in the Confederate Army and later became a respected figure in Alabama politics.
Both wives were actresses. Second wife Mary Charleson bore him a daughter, Patricia Walthall, in 1918.
Brother of Anna Mae Walthall.
Dubbed the "Edwin Booth of the Screen."
His middle name, Brazeale, was passed on to him. It was his grandmother's Irish maiden name.
Presented an Honorary award for lifetime achievement to D.W. Griffith at the 1936 Academy Awards ceremony.
Studied law at Howard College but dropped out after six months to pursue theater in New York, making his debut in 1901 and performing in numerous Southern melodramas.
Walthall enlisted in the First Alabama Regiment with the United States Army at the beginning of the Spanish-American War. Serving eleven months, a bout of malarial fever while in camp at Jacksonville, Florida kept him from seeing action.