Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


Wallace Beery

Wallace Beery

Almost played the title role in MGM's The Wizard of Oz (1939) but due to other film roles at MGM, he was forced to turn down the role. The part of The Wizard/Prof. Marvel was given to MGM's resident character actor, Frank Morgan.

At MGM, Wallace Beery's public image was carefully crafted by Howard Strickling as that of a big lovable slob with a heart of gold. In reality, Beery was anything but. Co-star Jackie Cooper said he treated him like an unwanted dog the second the cameras stopped.

At the time of his death, he was involved in a paternity suit. Actress Gloria Schumm claimed that he had fathered her then 13-month old son.

Between 1925, when he took up flying, and 1941, he had accumulated 14,000 hours of flight time as a pilot. While making Treasure Island (1934) on Santa Catalina Island, he commuted daily by plane from his Beverly Hills home.

Born at 2:47pm-CST



Brother of actor William Beery and Noah Beery. Uncle of actor Noah Beery Jr.. Reports that Wallace and Noah were half-brothers are false; all three brothers were born to Noah W. Beery and Marguerite Fitzgerald Beery, according to U.S. census records.

Brother of actor William Beery.

Ex-wife Rita Gilman, their daughter Carol Ann, his nephew Noah Beery Jr., and brother William Beery were all with him at the time of his death.

For thirty-five years Beery held the world's record for the largest black sea bass, which he caught off the Catalina Island in 1916.

Had a cabin on a very small island at Silver Lake, in June Lake, California. The cabin was destroyed by an avalanche. Some of the foundation can still be seen. Island became known as Beery Island.

His marriage to Gloria Swanson lasted three weeks.

In December of 1939, right after divorcing his second wife, Beery adopted a seven-month-old girl, Phyllis Anne, as a single father. There was never any mention of the baby after that, including in his obituary.

In the summer of 1941, he was billed by MGM as the "champion movie location commuter," the studio estimating that he had journeyed more than 100,000 miles to make pictures. According to studio records, Beery covered 15,000 miles in Mexico alone while filming Viva Villa! (1934).

Interred at Forest Lawn (Glendale), Glendale, California, USA, in the Vale of Memory section, lot #2157-9808.

Reportedly extremely difficult to get along with and completely lacking in any sort of manners or refinement. Beery's ex-wife, Gloria Swanson, once remarked that he had been invited to every fashionable home in Beverly Hills - once!.

Turned down the role of Captain William Bligh in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) because he was unwilling to work with Clark Gable.

When the Academy Awards were first presented, the winners were announced ahead of the ceremony, partly with the hope the recipients would show up to collect their award. When it was announced that the winner of the 1931 prize for best actor went to Fredric March, Beery reportedly stormed the office of Louis Meyer, demanding he be given the award instead. The result was a "tie" for Best Actor that year. From then on, the Oscar votes were tabulated by Price Waterhouse, and the winners announced at the ceremony.


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