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April 25, 2024

Wallace Beery: The Highest-Paid Actor in the World During the Early 1930s

Born 1885 in Clay County, Missouri, near Smithville, American actor Wallace Beery is best known for his portrayal of Bill in Min and Bill (1930) opposite Marie Dressler, as General Director Preysing in Grand Hotel (1932), as Long John Silver in Treasure Island (1934), as Pancho Villa in Viva Villa! (1934), and his title role in The Champ (1931), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Beery appeared in some 250 films during a 36-year career. His contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer stipulated in 1932 that he would be paid $1 more than any other contract player at the studio. This made Beery the highest-paid film actor in the world during the early 1930s.

Beery died of a heart attack in 1949, aged 64. For his contributions to the film industry, he was posthumously inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Take a look at these vintage photos to see portraits of Wallace Beery in the 1930s.


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