Walter Brennan

Actor, Vaudevillian, Rancher
One of the most immediately recognizable character actors of the 20th century, Walter Brennan enjoyed a four-decade career playing colorful, often sage older men in a vast array of legendary films, including "Kentucky" ... Read more »
Born: 07/24/1894 in Lynn, Massachusetts, USA

Filmography

Actor (103)

Home For the Holidays 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Actor

Two For the Money 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

Smoke in the Wind 1970 (Movie)

(Actor)

Support Your Local Sheriff 1969 (Movie)

Pa Danby (Actor)

The Guns of Will Sonnett 1967 - 1969 (TV Show)

Actor

The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band 1968 (Movie)

Granpa Bower (Actor)

The Gnome-Mobile 1966 (Movie)

(Actor)

Who's Minding the Mint? 1966 (Movie)

Pop Gillis (Actor)

The Oscar 1965 (Movie)

Orrin C Quentin (Actor)

The Real McCoys 1957 - 1963 (TV Show)

Actor

Those Calloways 1963 (Movie)

Alf Simes (Actor)

How the West Was Won 1962 (Movie)

Colonel Hawkins (Actor)

Zane Grey Theater 1956 - 1962 (TV Show)

Actor

Shoot Out at Big Sag 1961 (Movie)

Preacher Hawker (Actor)

Rio Bravo 1959 (Movie)

Stumpy (Actor)

Cavalcade of America 1952 - 1957 (TV Show)

Actor

God Is My Partner 1957 (Movie)

Dr Charles Grayson (Actor)

Tammy and the Bachelor 1957 (Movie)

Grandpa (Actor)

The Way to the Gold 1957 (Movie)

Uncle George (Actor)

Come Next Spring 1956 (Movie)

Jeff Storys (Actor)

Good-Bye, My Lady 1956 (Movie)

(Actor)

Screen Director's Playhouse 1955 - 1956 (TV Show)

Actor

At Gunpoint 1955 (Movie)

Doc Lacy (Actor)

The Far Country 1955 (Movie)

Ben Tatem (Actor)

Bad Day at Black Rock 1954 (Movie)

Doc Velie (Actor)

Four Guns to the Border 1954 (Movie)

Simon Bhumer (Actor)

Drums Across the River 1953 (Movie)

Sam Brannon (Actor)

Along the Great Divide 1951 (Movie)

(Actor)

A Ticket to Tomahawk 1950 (Movie)

(Actor)

Singing Guns 1950 (Movie)

(Actor)

Blood on the Moon 1948 (Movie)

(Actor)

Red River 1948 (Movie)

Groot (Actor)

Scudda-Hoo! Scudda-Hay! 1948 (Movie)

(Actor)

A Stolen Life 1947 (Movie)

Eben Folgor (Actor)

My Darling Clementine 1946 (Movie)

(Actor)

Dakota 1945 (Movie)

(Actor)

To Have and Have Not 1944 (Movie)

Eddie--the Rummy (Actor)

The Princess and the Pirate 1943 (Movie)

(Actor)

Hangmen Also Die 1942 (Movie)

Professor Novotny (Actor)

Sergeant York 1941 (Movie)

Pastor Rosier Pile (Actor)

The Pride of the Yankees 1941 (Movie)

(Actor)

This Woman Is Mine 1940 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1938 (Movie)

(Actor)

They Shall Have Music 1938 (Movie)

(Actor)

Kentucky 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Buccaneer 1937 (Movie)

Ezra Peavey (Actor)

The Cowboy and the Lady 1937 (Movie)

(Actor)

Come and Get It 1936 (Movie)

Swan Bostrom (Actor)

Banjo on My Knee 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

Barbary Coast 1935 (Movie)

Old Atrocity (Actor)

Fury 1935 (Movie)

"Bugs" Meyers (Actor)

The Moon's Our Home 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

These Three 1935 (Movie)

(Actor)

Bride of Frankenstein 1934 (Movie)

(Actor)

Texas Cyclone 1931 (Movie)

(Actor)

Two Fisted Law 1931 (Movie)

(Actor)

Alias Smith and Jones (TV Show)

Actor

Best of the Badmen (Movie)

Doc Butcher (Actor)

Centennial Summer (Movie)

Jesse Rogers (Actor)

Death on the Diamond (Movie)

(Actor)

Fighting for Justice (Movie)

(Actor)

From Headquarters (Movie)

(Actor)

Goldie Gets Along (Movie)

Stuttering Waiter (Actor)

Good Dame (Movie)

Elmer Spicer (Actor)

Half a Sinner (Movie)

Radio Announcer (Actor)

Home in Indiana (Movie)

J.P. "Thunder" Bolt (Actor)

King of Jazz (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Law Beyond the Range (Movie)

(Actor)

Lilly Turner (Movie)

(Actor)

Man of Action (Movie)

(Actor)

Maryland (Movie)

William Stewart (Actor)

Meet John Doe (Movie)

The Colonel (Actor)

Mother Carey's Chickens (Movie)

Mr. Popham (Actor)

Nice Girl? (Movie)

Hector Titus, Postman (Actor)

Nobody Lives Forever (Movie)

Pop Gruber (Actor)

Northwest Passage (Movie)

Hunk Marriner (Actor)

One Year Later (Movie)

(Actor)

Rip Tide (Movie)

(Actor)

Rise and Shine (Movie)

Grandpa (Actor)

Seven Keys to Baldpate (Movie)

Station Agent (Actor)

She's Dangerous (Movie)

"Ote" O'Leary (Actor)

Silent Men (Movie)

(Actor)

Slightly Dangerous (Movie)

Cornelius Burden (Actor)

Stand By for Action (Movie)

Chief Yeoman Henry Johnson (Actor)

Stanley and Livingstone (Movie)

Jeff Slocum (Actor)

Strange People (Movie)

The Radio Repairman (Actor)

Swamp Water (Movie)

Tom Keefer (Actor)

The Affairs of Cappy Ricks (Movie)

Cappy Ricks (Actor)

The Fourth Horseman (Movie)

(Actor)

The Green Promise (Movie)

Mr. Matthews (Actor)

The Life of Vergie Winters (Movie)

Roscoe, a Gossiper (Actor)

The Man on the Flying Trapeze (Movie)

"Legs" Garnett (Actor)

The North Star (Movie)

Karp (Actor)

The Over-the-Hill Gang (TV Show)

Actor

The Shannons of Broadway (Movie)

Hez (Actor)

The Showdown (Movie)

Capt. MacKellar (Actor)

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (Movie)

Walter Ash (Actor)

The Texans (Movie)

Chuckawalla, Foreman (Actor)

The Wedding Night (Movie)

Bill Jenkins (Actor)

The Westerner (Movie)

Judge Roy Bean (Actor)

The Young Country (TV Show)

Actor

Wild and Woolly (Movie)

Gramp Flynn (Actor)

Biography

One of the most immediately recognizable character actors of the 20th century, Walter Brennan enjoyed a four-decade career playing colorful, often sage older men in a vast array of legendary films, including "Kentucky" (1938), "The Westerner" (1940), "To Have and Have Not" (1943) and "My Darling Clementine" (1946). Damaged vocal chords and false teeth allowed him to play elderly men while still in his forties, which Brennan imbued with a rascally charm that made him an immediate favorite among moviegoers. After toiling in bit parts for a decade, he claimed his first Oscar as Frances Farmer's father in "Come and Get It" (1936), then repeated the feat as a curmudgeonly horse owner in "Kentucky" (1938). His third Oscar came with one of his most memorable turns as the corrupt Old West judge Roy Bean, who in Brennan's capable hands, was equally winning and frightening in "The Westerner" (1940). He soon became a fixture of screen Westerns, including "My Darling Clementine" (1946) and "Red River" (1948), before moving to television for the popular "Real McCoys" (ABC, 1957-1962). The series extended his career for another two decades, as did films like "Rio Bravo" (1959), "How the West Was Won" (1963). Still active into his seventh decade, Brennan died in 1974, leaving behind a storied legacy of screen roles that enshrined him as one of the most memorable character actors in Hollywood history.

Relationships

Margaret Elizabeth Brennan

Mother

Walter Andrew Brennan Jr

Son

William Brennan

Father

Ruth Brennan

Daughter
married serviceman Dixon Lademan

Arthur Brennan

Son
managed father's ranch born c. 1922

Ruth Wells

Wife
married from 1920 until his death

EDUCATION

Rindge Technical School

Cambridge , Massachusetts 1915

Milestones

1959

Delivered tour de force performance as Stumpy in Hawks' "Rio Bravo", a culmination of the loyal, crabby old men he had played for over twenty years

1957

Starred as Grandpa Amos McCoy on popular TV series "The Real McCoys" (ABC, 1957-1962; CBS, 1962-1963); reportedly Brennan owned fifty percent of the series

1955

Portrayed Ben Tatem in Anthony Mann's "The Far Country"

1955

Played Doc in John Sturges' "Bad Day at Black Rock"

1951

Tormented Kirk Douglas with a song in Raoul Walsh's "Along the Great Divide"

1949

Final screen appearance in support of Cooper in "Task Force"

1948

Had another turn for Hawks in "Red River"

1946

Appeared in John Ford's classic "My Darling Clementine"

1943

Played Eddie, the rummy, in Howard Hawks' "To Have and Have Not"

1940

Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "Sergeant York"; only time nominated that he failed to win; most notable screen collaboration with Gary Cooper

1940

Won third supporting actor Oscar for William Wyler's "The Westerner"; played Judge Roy Bean; first performer to win more than two awards and (to date) only male performer to achieve this distinction

1938

Earned second supporting actor Oscar for David Butler's "Kentucky"

1936

Received first Oscar Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (initial presentation of award in this category) for Wyler and Hawks' "Come and Get It"

1935

Meaty supporting role in "The Wedding Night" assured him a full-time movie career; originally had been cast in smaller role but producer Samuel Goldwyn was impressed enough to cast him in bigger part; also marked first screen collaboration with actor Gary

1932

Accident while working as a stuntman knocked out front teeth and had decisive impact on career giving him a great asset, false teeth which he removed or restored from part to part

1927

Landed first film role in "Tearin' Into Trouble"

1923

First film appearances as extra and stuntman at Universal (date approximate)

1914

Enlisted in Army during WWI; promoted to colonel; served in France with the 26th Division; fell victim to poison gas attack which permanently affected his vocal chords; mustered out in 1919

Worked as a real estate agent; bought pineapple plantations in Guatemela and California; made first fortune

Portrayed chairman of the board Walter Andrews, a cantankerous millionaire, in ABC's sitcom "The Tycoon"

Raised in Swampscott, Massachusetts

Held various jobs from ditch digger to bank clerk

After college, briefly worked as a newspaper reporter in Boston

Signed to contract with Goldwyn

Starred in title role of ABC's "The Guns of Will Sonnett"; co-star Dack Rambo played grandson Jeff

After military service, moved to California

Bonus Trivia

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"I'm not a glamour boy, and I never get the girl. I like to play old people, because there's somehing to them. Did you ever see anybody under 30 with any real character or expression in his face?" --Walter Brennan quoted in The New York World-Telegram, June 10, 1939.

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