Rex Bell

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Rex Bell
RexBell2.jpg
21st Lieutenant Governor of Nevada
In office
1955–1962
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, U.S.
Died July 4, 1962(1962-07-04) (aged 58)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)
Clara Bow (m. 1931)
Children 2
Profession Actor, politician

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

Film career[edit]

Bell made his film debut in Wild West Romance in 1928,[1] and went on to act in a number of films, mostly Westerns, in which he had the lead role. He left the movie industry in 1936, although he had generally small roles in a few later films.

In 1931,[2] Bell and his wife, actress Clara Bow, founded the Walking Box Ranch,[3] at Searchlight, Nevada.[4]

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 Bell in the summer of 1962.

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".[5] The election was held November 7, and Bell got 19,096 votes while Bunker received 36,648.[6]

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.[7]

The ties Bell forged during those years helped him win the Lieutenant Governor's office in 1954. That year, Charles H. Russell, the incumbent Republican governor, also won. In 1958, Democrat Grant Sawyer unseated Russell, but Bell won re-election as Lieutenant Governor (Bell and his Nevada state political position are mentioned in John D. MacDonald's 1960 novel The Only Girl in the Game). He died in office of a heart attack in 1962.

Other activities[edit]

Television[edit]

Bell was host of the program Cowboys and Injuns in 1950. It began on a station in Los Angeles[1] and went on to be broadcast on ABC. The show focused on legends that were derived from folklore of cowboys and Native Americans in the United States.[8]

Business[edit]

Bell operated Rexco, Incorporated, which manufactured and distributed novelty gift items. He and his brother also had two clothing stores in Nevada.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Bell was born in Chicago, and married actress Clara Bow in 1931.[3] They had two sons, Tony Beldam (1934–2011), who changed his name to Rex Anthony Bell Jr., and George Beldam Jr. (born 1938).[9][10] Rex Bell Jr. appeared in two Western films—Stage to Thunder Rock (1964), in the role of "Shotgun Rex", and Young Fury (1965), and later served as district attorney of Clark County from 1987 to 1995.[11]

The Rex Bell Elementary School in Las Vegas was named in honor of Bell.[12]

Select filmography[edit]

Bell in Too Much Beef, 1936

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Rex Bell: Nevada's Goodwill Ambassador". Films of the Golden Age (91): 58–59. Winter 2017–2018. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ a b KALIL, J.M. (2000-11-19). "Ranch sells for $650,000". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-19. 
  4. ^ Reid, Harry (2007-11-05). Searchlight: The Camp That Didn't Fail. University of Nevada Press. p. 103. ISBN 0874177537. 
  5. ^ Nevada State Journal, November 1, 1944
  6. ^ Nevada State Journal, November 18, 1944
  7. ^ Nevada Day Grand Marshals
  8. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. 
  9. ^ B-Westerns
  10. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "Movies". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-11. 
  11. ^ "Rex Bell Jr., former Clark County district attorney, dies at 76". Las Vegas Review-Journal. July 9, 2011. Retrieved July 3, 2018. 
  12. ^ Rex Bell Elementary School

External links[edit]

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