Noah Beery, Jr.

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Noah Beery, Jr
Noah Beery Jr-still.jpg
Beery in The Rockford Files 1974
Born Noah Lindsey Beery
(1913-08-10)August 10, 1913
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died November 1, 1994(1994-11-01) (aged 81)
Tehachapi, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Cerebral thrombosis
Resting place
Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, California
Occupation Actor
Years active 1920–1986
Spouse(s) Maxine Jones (1940–1966) (divorced) 3 children
Lisa Thorman (1968–1994, his death)

Noah Lindsey Beery (August 10, 1913 – November 1, 1994), known professionally as Noah Beery, Jr. or just Noah Beery, was an American actor specializing in warm, friendly character parts similar to the ones played by his uncle, Wallace Beery, although Noah Beery, Jr., unlike his uncle, seldom broke away from playing supporting roles. Beery's father, Noah Nicholas Beery (known professionally as Noah Beery or Noah Beery, Sr.), enjoyed a similarly lengthy film career as a major supporting actor.

Beery was best known for playing James Garner's father, Joseph "Rocky" Rockford, in the NBC television series The Rockford Files (1974-80).

Life and career[edit]

Noah Beery and Noah Beery, Jr. in 1922
Noah Beery, Jr. in 1940
Noah Beery, Sr., 1920s

Beery was born in New York City, New York, where his father was working as a stage actor. He was given his nickname "Pidge" by George M. Cohan's sister Josie.[1] The family moved to California in 1915 when his father began acting in motion pictures. After attending school in Los Angeles, they moved to a ranch in the San Fernando Valley, a style of living he would maintain for the rest of his life.

At the age of seven, he appeared with his father in The Mark of Zorro and like his father, who immediately began billing himself as "Noah Beery, Sr.," he went on to become a respected character actor. His uncle, Oscar-winning actor Wallace Beery, became the world's highest-paid actor by 1932, and while neither Noah nor his father ever approached that level, both had long and memorable film careers. The three acting Beerys physically closely resembled each other, but Noah, Jr. lacked the powerful voice his father and uncle possessed, which is ironic since both older Beerys made major careers in silent movies.

Beery appeared in dozens of films, including a large early role as John Wayne's action partner in 1934's The Trail Beyond (Wayne was 27 years old and Beery was 21), 20 Mule Team with his uncle, and Red River, again with John Wayne.

Beery's early television work included a weekly stint as a clown in Circus Boy with Micky Dolenz in the mid-1950s. In 1960 Beery replaced Burt Reynolds in the co-starring role of Bill Blake in Riverboat, an NBC western series starring Darren McGavin. He appeared once on the religion anthology series Crossroads and on Walter Brennan's ABC sitcom, The Real McCoys. He guest-starred three times on the long-running NBC western series, The Virginian in the 1960s. In 1965, he made two guest appearances on Perry Mason starring Raymond Burr: he first played murderer Tony Claus in "The Case of the Golden Venom," then played defendant Lucas Tolliver in "The Case of the Hasty Honeymooner."

But Beery is best known for his role as Joseph "Rocky" Rockford, the father of Jim Rockford, James Garner's character on the popular television series The Rockford Files (1974–1980).


Beery, Jr., died in 1994 in Tehachapi, California, of a cerebral thrombosis and his remains were interred in the Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery with those of his father and mother, Margarite Lindsey. His uncle Wallace Beery's remains are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Beery, Jr.'s first wife until 1966 was Maxine Jones, the only child of Western star Buck Jones. His second wife from 1968 until his death was Lisa Thorman. He was survived by his wife, Lisa; two daughters, Muffett and Melissa; a son, actor Bucklind Beery; and three step-children, Page, Sean, and Lorena. His television star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.

Partial filmography[edit]


  • Rawhide - Incident of the Chubasco - Arkansas (1959)
  • The Real McCoys - episode - The Investors - Claude McCoy (1961)
  • Wagon Train - episode - The Jonas Murdock Story - Jonas Murdock (1960)
  • Wagon Train - episode—Path of the Serpent - Ruddy Blaine (1961)
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive - episode - El Gato - El Gato (1961)
  • Wanted: Dead or Alive - episode - Barney's Bounty - Barney Durant (1961)
  • Gunsmoke (11th season)
  • Route 66 - episode - 1800 Days to Justice - Emlyn Job (1962)
  • Wagon Train - episode - The Kate Crawley Story - Stump Beasley (1964)
  • Bonanza - episode - Lotherio Larkin - Lotherio Larkin (1965)
  • Laredo - episode - A Taste of Money - Ezekiel Fry (1966)
  • Hondo - 17 episodes -Buffalo Baker (1967)
  • Bonanza - episode - The Crime of Johnny Mule - Johnny Mule (1968)
  • Police Story - episode - The Big Walk - Hecker (1973)
  • The Rockford Files - 121 episodes - Joseph "Rocky" Rockford (1974-1980)
  • Alias Smith and Jones - episode - Something to Get Hung About - Sheriff (1971)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man - episode - Run, Steve, Run - Tom Molson (1974)
  • The Six Million Dollar Man - episode - The Bionic Badge - Officer Banner (1976)
  • Ellery Queen - episode - The Adventure of the Sinister Scenario - Lionel Briggs (1976)
  • Greatest Heroes of the Bible - episode - The Story of Esther - Mordechai (1979)
  • Vega$ - episode - Sourdough Suite - Josiah Sparks (1981)
  • Magnum P.I. - episode - All Roads Lead to Floyd - Floyd Lewellen (1981)
  • Fantasy Island - High Off the Hog/Reprisal - Otis T. Boggs (1981)
  • The Yellow Rose - 22 episodes - Luther Dillard (1983-1984)
  • Murder, She Wrote - episode - Funeral at Fifty-Mile - Doc Wallace (1985)
  • Trapper John, M.D. - episode - Buckaroo Bob Rides Again - Buckaroo Bob Morgan (1985)


  1. ^ "Noah Beery Jr. - Biography - Movies & TV -". New York Times. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 

External links[edit]