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Wallace Beery, Award Winner –

Beery in The Champ.

Wallace Beery (and Fredric March):
Best Actor 1931/32:

The Champ (Drama)

Wallace Beery received his Best Actor Oscar for playing a drunken, washed up, ex-champion prize fighter. Jackie Cooper played his adoring son in this tear-jerker.

Note: This is the only year in which the Best Actor Oscar category produced a tie. Wallace Beery won the Oscar for The Champ while Fredric March won for his performance in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

About Wallace Beery (1885 – 1949)

Wallace Fitzgerald Beery was born April 1, 1885 in Kansas City, Missouri. At sixteen, Beery joined the Ringling Brothers Circus as an elephant trainer's assistant. He traveled the country for two years with the group until he left to begin a career on Broadway in New York.

After several years of success in the theater, Beery made his way to Hollywood in 1913 where he would land the role as the Swedish maid in the Essanay comic series Sweedie. In 1915's Sweedie Goes to College Beery would work alongside future wife, Gloria Swanson. But their marriage depicted the typical Hollywood relationships of fame and fortune, drinking and abuse, and quickly ended.

In 1917 he would star in Patria which would typecast him as the 'Hun" for several following films. He would also star in the adventure films The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921), Robin Hood (1922), The Sea Hawk (1924), and The Pony Express (1925).

In 1926 Beery found his way back to comedies in the Paramount production Behind the Front. As auditory films made their debut that same decade, many producers feared Beery's slow drawly speech would be a hindrance to the recording studio. Nevertheless he was cast in 1930's The Big House where his performance landed him an Academy Award nomination. Critics remained silent thereafter. The same year he would attain super-star status after his performance in Min and Bill (1930), which became one of the year's top grossing films. He followed his achievements of 1930 with an even more successful year in 1931; landing the Oscar for Best Actor for his performance in The Champ.

In 1934 he played the memorable role of Long John Silver in Treasure Island, and in 1932 he would star as the dim-witted wrestler in Flesh. Having been typecast for his stellar performances as the rather dim-witted character, in reality Beery was anything but; he simply capitalized on the opportunity to give audiences more of what they loved. But in 1933 he switched to a slightly more serious role in Dinner at Eight. Around 1939 his second marriage to Rita Gilman was beginning to dissolve. But Beery poured his energy into his career and teamed with starlet Marjorie Main to film the hits Wyoming (1940) and Barnacle Bill (1941).

In his spare time Beery loved to both fly and fish. In 1916 Beery landed the world's title for the largest sea bass on record after a fishing trip off Catalina Island. He held the record for thirty-five years. But before he was dethroned of his sea bass title, Beery took up flying and became a pilot around 1925. Beery worked until his death in 1949, accrediting his success to his looks; "Like my dear old friend Marie Dressler, my ugly mug has been my fortune." He is the brother of actor William Beery, half-brother of actor Noah Beery, and uncle of actor Noah Beery Jr.

Berry's notable silent credits include...

Robin Hood (As King Richard) (1922)
Richard The Lionhearted (1923)
Beggars Of Life (1928)

Wallace Beery's sound-movie credits include...

Grand Hotel (1932)
Tugboat Annie (1933)
The Bowery (1933)
Viva Villa (1934)
Ah, Wilderness (1935)
Slave Ship (1937)
Barbary Coast Gent (1944)
A Date With Judy (1948)
Big Jack (1949)


Wallace Beery in Dinner at Eight (1933).




Wallace Beery in The Champ (1931).



Wallace Beery in Grand Hotel (1932).