John Beal (actor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John Beal
Beal in the trailer for Madame X
James Alexander Bliedung

(1909-08-13)August 13, 1909
DiedApril 26, 1997(1997-04-26) (aged 87)
OccupationFilm and television actor
Years active1933–1993
Spouse(s)Helen Craig (1934–1986) (her death) 2 children

John Beal (born James Alexander Bliedung, August 13, 1909 – April 26, 1997) was an American actor.

Early years[edit]

Beal was born in Joplin, Missouri. His father had a department store and Beal went to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania "mapped for a commercial career."[1] While at Wharton, Beal (who enrolled under his real name, James Alexander Bliedung) spent time drawing cartoons for the school's humor magazine and singing in productions of the Mask and Wig club.[1]


Soon after graduating from college in 1930, Beal began acting with the Hedgerow Theatre. Beal originally went to New York to study art but a chance to understudy in a play made him change his mind. He went on to appear in Russet Mantle and She Loves Me.[1]


Beal began acting in the 1930s, opposite Katharine Hepburn (in the 1934 RKO film The Little Minister),[2] among others; one of his notable screen appearances was as Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables (1935). He continued appearing in films during the war years while serving in Special Services and the First Motion Picture Unit as actor and director of Army Air Forces camp shows and training films.

Beal had starring roles in the film dramas Alimony (1949) and My Six Convicts (1952).


In the 1950s, Beal also began appearing in various television shows, including the title role of mining engineer Philip Deidesheimer in a 1959 episode of Bonanza, "The Deidesheimer Story".[3]

He was hired to play the role of Jim Matthews in the television soap opera Another World when the show went on the air in 1964, but was fired by creator and headwriter Irna Phillips after only one episode.[4]

He appeared in The Waltons, season 3, episode 13, "The Visitor", first aired in December, 1974. His character was a former neighbor, Mason Beardsley, an elderly man who returned to Waltons Mountain to live with his wife who he was expecting in a few days. The Walton family were excited for him and helped to fix up his home, only to learn that his wife had died a year earlier and, unable to accept this fact, he continued to look for her.

He continued to work in films and television, notably as Judge Vail in the supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows (for 9 episodes), and also the theater up until the 1980s. Beal died at age 87 in Santa Cruz, California,[2] two years after suffering a stroke.

Personal life[edit]

Beal was married to actress Helen Craig.[1] They had two daughters, Theodora Emily and Tandy Johanna.[5]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Francis, Robert (February 17, 1946). "Candid Close-ups". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. p. 25. Retrieved May 8, 2016 – via open access
  2. ^ a b "John Beal, 87, Actor In Films and Theater". The New York Times. May 1, 1997. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  3. ^ "The Deidesheimer Story", Bonanza Booomers
  4. ^ "Serial Shakedown". Gettysburg Times. May 12, 1964. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  5. ^ Varcados, Marybeth (May 7, 1987). "On stage with 'daddy'". Santa Cruz Sentinel. California, Santa Cruz. p. 21. Retrieved May 8, 2016 – via open access

External links[edit]