Now here’s a gentleman whose memory has suffered due to the more lasting success of his brother Wallace Beery, and his son Noah Beery, Jr. (best remembered as Rocky from The Rockford Files). (Interestingly, a third Beery brother, William, was also a stage and screen actor).
Noah Sr. (born this day in 1882) was the first to go into the business, taking singing lessons and performing during the summer of his 16th year at the Electric Park in Kansas City before lighting out for New York. He spent many years on the stage in vaudeville, music hall and melodramas.
By 1915, Wallace was already working steadily in films, and Noah joined him. His career flourished through silent and early sound era, and he was often (like Wallace) cast as villains. Memorable films included the 1918 remake of The Squaw Man, The Mark of Zorro (1920), The Vanishing American (1925), Beau Geste (1926), two versions of The Thundering Herd (1925 and 1933), and She Done Him Wrong with Mae West (1933). While he would come to be eclipsed by both his brother and his son, he would keep working up until his death in 1946.
To find out more about vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc