Wallace Beery (April 1, 1885 - April 15, 1949) was an American actor. 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 comedies 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 the heavy in several movies. He 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 as he grew older. 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