Rex Bell

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Rex Bell
Rex Bell race for Governor 441102.png
Congressional run of 1944
21st Lieutenant Governor of Nevada
In office
Governor Charles H. Russell
Grant Sawyer
Preceded by Clifford A. Jones
Succeeded by Maude Frazier
Personal details
Born George Francis Beldam
(1903-10-16)October 16, 1903
Chicago, Illinois
Died July 4, 1962(1962-07-04) (aged 58)
Las Vegas, Nevada
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Clara Bow
(m.1931-1962; his death)
Profession Film actor

Rex Bell, born George Francis Beldam (October 16, 1903 – July 4, 1962), was an American actor and politician. He was the 21st Lieutenant Governor of Nevada and a Western movie star.

Film career[edit]

Bell in Too Much Beef, 1936

Bell made his film debut in Wild West Romance in 1928. He continued in a number of films, mostly Westerns, where he had the lead role. He left films in 1936.

In 1931,[1] Rex and his wife, actress Clara Bow, founded the Walking Box Ranch.[2] They lived in Searchlight, Nevada.[3]

Bell returned to the screen for two more films in 1942.

Political career[edit]

In 1944, Bell ran for the United States House of Representatives on the Republican ticket against Democrat Berkeley Bunker. The Nevada State Journal commented on November 1: "He has made friends where ever he appeared, but consensus is that the time is too short to overcome a handicap of not being so well known as his opponent".[4] The election was held November 7, and Bell got 19,096 votes against Bunker who received 36,648.[5]

Bell was the leader of the Nevada Republican Party and in 1948 was an alternate to the Republican National Convention. He was also active in the Nevada Chamber of Commerce and Boy Scouts.[6]

The ties Bell forged during those years helped him win the lieutenant governor's office in 1954. That year, Charles H. Russell, the incumbent GOP governor, also won. In 1958, Democrat Grant Sawyer unseated Russell, but Bell won re-election as lieutenant governor. He died in office in 1962.

His final film appearance was a brief cameo as a cowboy in John Huston's film The Misfits (1961), which was shot on location in Nevada. He appeared in the film with actress Marilyn Monroe, who died a month after Rex in the summer of 1962.

Personal life[edit]

Rex was born in Chicago and married actress Clara Bow in 1931.[2] They had two sons, Tony Beldam (1934-2011, changed name to Rex Anthony Bell, Jr.) and George Beldam, Jr. (born 1938).[7][8] Rex Bell, Jr. appeared in two Western films - Stage to Thunder Rock (1964) in the role of "Shotgun Rex" and Young Fury (1965).

The Rex Bell Elementary School in Las Vegas was named in honor of Bell.[9]



  1. ^ KALIL, J.M. (2000-12-20). "WALKING BOX RANCH: Sale brings less than third of asking price". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  2. ^ a b KALIL, J.M. (2000-11-19). "Ranch sells for $650,000". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  3. ^ Reid, Harry. Searchlight: The Camp That Didn't Fail. University of Nevada Press. p. 103. ISBN 0874177537. 
  4. ^ Nevada State Journal, November 1, 1944
  5. ^ Nevada State Journal, November 18, 1944
  6. ^ Nevada Day Grand Marshals
  7. ^ B-Westerns
  8. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "Movies". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  9. ^ Rex Bell Elementary School

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Clifford A. Jones
Lieutenant Governor of Nevada
1955 – 1962
Succeeded by
Maude Frazier