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Noah Beery


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Noah Nicholas Beery (January 17, 1882 – April 1, 1946) was an American actor, who appeared in films from 1913 to 1945.

Early life

His parents originally came from Switzerland. Beery was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He and his brothers William C. Beery (1879 –1949) and Wallace Beery became Hollywood actors. The Beery brothers were the children of Noah Webster Beery and his wife Frances Margaret Fitzgerald, which made them full brothers (contrary to countless sources).


Noah Beery started in the theatre in 1898, and by 1905 he was appearing on Broadway. After a dozen years on the stage, he joined his brother 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 1923's Stormswept 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), Song of the Flame (1930), 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. His popularity gradually declined, however, while his brother Wallace became the highest paid actor in the world, winning an Oscar). Noah Beery, Sr. played the flamboyant role of Mae West's bar-owning lover until she leaves him for Cary Grant in She Done Him Wrong (1933).

Noah Beery appeared in nearly 200 films. In 1945 he returned to New York City to star in the Mike Todd Broadway production of Up in Central Park.

Beery died in 1946 (on his brother Wallace's birthday) in Beverly Hills of a heart attack. He was buried at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Noah Beery, Jr.

Noah Beery's son, Noah Beery, Jr., also became an extremely successful character actor, with a career spanning several decades. He appeared as "Rocky," the father of James Garner's character in the television series The Rockford Files (1974 – 1980).

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 with John Wayne.










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