Noah Beery Sr.
Noah Nicholas Beery
January 17, 1882
Clay County, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||April 1, 1946 (aged 64)|
|Spouse(s)||Marguerite Lindsay (1910–1946)|
Noah Nicholas Beery (January 17, 1882 – April 1, 1946) was an American actor who appeared in films from 1913 to 1945. He was the older brother of Academy Award-winning actor Wallace Beery and the father of character actor Noah Beery Jr. Beery was billed as either Noah Beery or Noah Beery Sr. depending upon the film.
Noah Nicholas Beery was born on a farm in Clay County, Missouri not far from Smithville. The Beery family left the farm in the 1890s and moved to nearby Kansas City, Missouri where the father was employed as a police officer. While still a young boy Beery got his first exposure to theatre, and at the same time showed budding entrepreneurship by selling lemon drops at the Gillis Theater in Kansas City.
Possessed of a deep, rich voice even in his early teens, several of the actors at the Gillis Theater encouraged Beery to take singing lessons and consider a career as a performer. A summer of singing at Kansas City's Electric Park amusement park led to Beery leaving for New York City while just sixteen years old.
Noah Beery found work in vaudeville and in the chorus of musical comedies during his early years in New York. Soon though he would turn his attention to acting in melodramas of the period, often under the direction of William A. Brady.
After a dozen years on the stage, he joined his brother Wallace in Hollywood in 1915 to make motion pictures. He became a respected character actor, adept at playing the villain. One of his most memorable characterizations was as Sergeant Gonzales in The Mark of Zorro (1920) opposite Douglas Fairbanks. The tagline on the poster for Stormswept (1923) proclaimed "Wallace and Noah Beery, The Two Greatest Character Actors on the American Screen".
Beery acted through the silent film era, and successfully made the transition to "talkies". He appeared in lavish early Technicolor musicals, such as The Show of Shows (1929), the widescreen musical Song of the Flame (1930; the movie's poster noted that "Noah Beery will thrill you with his wonderful bass voice, twice as low as any ever recorded"), Bright Lights (1930), Under a Texas Moon (1930) and Golden Dawn (1930; in which he wore blackface as an African native).
He reached his peak in popularity in 1930, even recording a phonograph record for Brunswick Records with songs from two of his films. However, his popularity gradually declined while his brother Wallace became the highest-paid actor in the world, winning an Oscar and arranging a contract with MGM in which he would be paid $1 more than any other actor on their roster. Noah Beery Sr. played the flamboyant supporting role of Mae West's bar-owning lover until she leaves him for Cary Grant in She Done Him Wrong (1933), while his brother Wallace performed in an extremely similar part, as the top-billed lead, later the same year in The Bowery.
At the height of his career, Noah Beery began billing himself as "Noah Beery Sr." in anticipation of his son's presence in films. After his death, his son dropped the "Junior" and became simply Noah Beery. Among other films, Noah Beery Sr. and Noah Beery Jr. appeared together in The Trail Beyond (1934) with John Wayne; Beery's son Noah Jr. later became best known as James Garner's character's father in the 1970s television series The Rockford Files. Noah Beery Sr. appeared in nearly 200 films during his career and in 1945 returned to New York City to star in the Mike Todd Broadway production of Up in Central Park.
Noah Beery Sr. married fellow actor Marguerite Walker Lindsey in 1910. Their first child died in infancy. Their second child, Noah Lindsey Beery (stage name Noah Beery Jr.), was born in 1913 and was seriously ill in early childhood, prompting a brief move to Florida on the advice of doctors.
Beery died on April 1, 1946 after suffering a heart attack at the Beverly Hills home of his brother Wallace. It was Wallace's birthday and, in addition to celebrating the event, the brothers were rehearsing a radio drama they were scheduled to perform later in the evening.
- The Influence of a Child (1913)
- A Mormon Maid (1917)
- The Whispering Chorus (1918)
- Old Wives for New (1918)
- Believe Me, Xantippe (1918)
- The Squaw Man (1918)
- The Valley of the Giants (1919)
- In Mizzoura (1919)
- Everywoman (1919)
- The Sea Wolf (1920)
- Go and Get It (1920)
- The Fighting Shepherdess (1920)
- The Scoffer (1920)
- Dinty (1920)
- The Mark of Zorro (1920) - Sergeant Pedro Gonzales
- Bits of Life (1921)
- The Call of the North (1921)
- Tillie (1922)
- Wild Honey (1922)
- The Heart Specialist (1922)
- I Am the Law (1922) with Wallace Beery
- The Crossroads of New York (1922)
- Flesh and Blood (1922)
- Omar the Tentmaker (1922) with Boris Karloff
- The Power of Love (1922)
- Ebb Tide (1922)
- Stormswept (1923) with Wallace Beery
- Main Street (1923)
- The Spoilers (1923) with Milton Sills and Anna Q. Nilsson
- To the Last Man (1923)
- Hollywood (1923) cameo
- Heritage of the Desert (1924)
- Wanderer of the Wasteland (1924)
- Lily of the Dust (1924) with Pola Negri and Ben Lyon
- Welcome Stranger (1924)
- The Female (1924) with Betty Compson and Warner Baxter
- North of 36 (1924) with Jack Holt and Lois Wilson
- East of Suez (1925)
- Contraband (1925) with Lois Wilson
- The Thundering Herd (1925) with Jack Holt, Charles Ogle, and Tim McCoy
- The Light of Western Stars (1925)
- The Vanishing American (1925) with Richard Dix
- Lord Jim (1925) with Raymond Hatton
- The Enchanted Hill (1926)
- The Crown of Lies (1926)
- Beau Geste (1926) with Ronald Colman, William Powell, and Victor McLaglen
- Paradise (1926)
- Evening Clothes (1927)
- The Rough Riders (1927) with George Bancroft and Mary Astor
- The Love Mart (1927) with Boris Karloff
- The Dove (1927)
- Beau Sabreur (1928)
- Hellship Bronson (1928)
- Noah's Ark - Nickoloff/King Nephiliu (1928)
- The Godless Girl (1929)
- The Show of Shows (1929) with John Barrymore, Mary Astor, Myrna Loy, and Loretta Young
- The Four Feathers (1929)
- Song of the Flame (1930)
- The Way of All Men (1930)
- The Love Trader (1930)
- Tol'able David (1930)
- The Millionaire (1931)
- Shanghaied Love (1931)
- In Line of Duty (1931)
- The Homicide Squad (1931)
- Riders of the Purple Sage (1931) with George O'Brien and Marguerite Churchill
- Cornered (1932)
- The Kid from Spain (1932)
- The Big Stampede - Sam Crew (1932) with John Wayne
- The Drifter (1932) with William Farnum
- Out of Singapore (1932)
- The Thundering Herd (1933) with Randolph Scott, Buster Crabbe, and Harry Carey
- To the Last Man (1933) with Randolph Scott, Esther Ralston, and Buster Crabbe
- Man of the Forest (1933) with Randolph Scott, Harry Carey, and Buster Crabbe
- She Done Him Wrong (1933) with Mae West and Cary Grant
- The Woman I Stole (1933)
- The Trail Beyond - George Newson (1934) with John Wayne and Noah Beery Jr.
- Mystery Liner (1934)
- Kentucky Kernels (1934)
- Happy Landing (1934)
- King of the Damned (1935)
- The Crimson Circle (1936)
- I Live Again (1936)
- The Avenging Hand (1936)
- The Frog (1937
- Our Fighting Navy (1937)
- Zorro Rides Again (1937) - J. A. Marsden
- The Bad Man of Brimstone (1937) with Wallace Beery
- Mutiny on the Blackhawk (1939)
- Pioneers of the West (1940)
- Adventures of Red Ryder (1940) with Don 'Red' Barry
- Tennessee Johnson (1942) with Van Heflin
- Outlaws of Pine Ridge (1942)
- Overland Mail (1942) with Lon Chaney Jr. and Noah Beery Jr.
- Salute to the Marines (1943, in color) with Wallace Beery
- Barbary Coast Gent (1944) with Wallace Beery and Chill Wills
- This Man's Navy (1945) with Wallace Beery
- Sing Me a Song of Texas (1945) with Tom Tyler
- Dictionary of Missouri Biography, Lawrence O. Christensen, University of Missouri Press, 1999.
- "Characters and heavies - Noah Beery Sr". "Western Clippings" website. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
- Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 3178). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
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