Wallace Ford

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Wallace Ford
Wallace Ford in Crack-Up (1946)
Samuel Jones Grundy

(1898-02-12)12 February 1898
Died11 June 1966(1966-06-11) (aged 68)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active19181965
Martha Haworth(m. 19221966)

Wallace Ford (born Samuel Jones Grundy, 12 February 1898 11 June 1966) was an English-born naturalized American vaudevillian, stage, film and television actor. Usually playing wise-cracking characters, he combined a tough but friendly faced demeanor with a small but powerful stocky physique.


Early life

He was born in Bolton, Lancashire, England, into a working class family of limited means. At the age of three he was placed by his uncle and aunt, in whose care he had been, into a Barnardo's orphanage home, since they were unable to maintain his upkeep along with their own several children. When he was seven, he and other children from similar backgrounds were shipped to Canada to be found new homes with farming foster families as a part of the British Empire's on-going programme to populate the territory.

County Borough of Bolton

Bolton was, from 1838 to 1974, a local government district in the northwest of England, conterminate with the town of Bolton.

Lancashire County of England

Lancashire is a ceremonial county in North West England. The administrative centre is Preston. The county has a population of 1,449,300 and an area of 1,189 square miles (3,080 km2). People from Lancashire are known as Lancastrians.

Barnardos British charity

Barnardo's is a British charity founded by Thomas John Barnardo in 1866, to care for vulnerable children. In the late 20th century, it was implicated in the scandal involving British children sent abroad as child slaves. As of 2013, it raised and spent around £200 million each year running around 900 local services, aimed at helping these same groups. It is the UK's largest children's charity, in terms of charitable expenditure. Its headquarters are in Barkingside in the London Borough of Redbridge.

Samuel was adopted by a family in Manitoba. He was ill-treated, and became a serial runaway, being resettled several times with different families by the Canadian authorities. According to his own account, at the age of 11, he ran away for the last time and joined a vaudeville traveling troupe touring Canada called the Winnipeg Kiddies, where he acquired his initial training as a performer. [1]

Manitoba Province of Canada

Manitoba is a province at the longitudinal centre of Canada. It is often considered one of the three prairie provinces and is Canada's fifth-most populous province with its estimated 1.3 million people. Manitoba covers 649,950 square kilometres (250,900 sq mi) with a widely varied landscape, stretching from the northern oceanic coastline to the southern border with the United States. The province is bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west, the territories of Nunavut to the north, and Northwest Territories to the northwest, and the U.S. states of North Dakota and Minnesota to the south.

Vaudeville genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s

Vaudeville is a theatrical genre of variety entertainment born in France at the end of the 18th century. A vaudeville was originally a comedy without psychological or moral intentions, based on a comical situation: a kind of dramatic composition or light poetry, interspersed with songs or ballets. It became popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s, but the idea of vaudeville's theatre changed radically from its French antecedent.

In 1914, 16-year-old Samuel and another youth named Wallace Ford decided to head south to the United States to seek their fortune, riding a freight train illicitly. During the trip, Ford was killed beneath the wheels of a train. Later, Samuel adopted as his stage name the name of his dead traveling companion. [2]

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

Acting career

Ford (left) and Broderick Crawford in the original Broadway production of Of Mice and Men (1938) Ford-Crawford-Of-Mice-and-Men-1938-cropped.jpg
Ford (left) and Broderick Crawford in the original Broadway production of Of Mice and Men (1938)

Following military service as a trooper at Fort Riley, Kansas, with the United States Army Cavalry during World War I, [1] he became a vaudeville stage actor in an American stock company. In 1919, he performed in an adaptation of Booth Tarkington's Seventeen , which played to full houses in Chicago for several months, before transferring to a successful run on Broadway in New York City. [3] Ford became a successful Broadway performer through the Roaring Twenties, appearing in multiple productions, including the lead role in the Broadway smash hit Abie's Irish Rose . [1] [4]

Fort Riley United States Army installation located in North Central Kansas

Fort Riley is a United States Army installation located in North Central Kansas, on the Kansas River, also known as the Kaw, between Junction City and Manhattan. The Fort Riley Military Reservation covers 101,733 acres (41,170 ha) in Geary and Riley counties. The portion of the fort that contains housing development is part of the Fort Riley census-designated place, with a residential population of 7,761 as of the 2010 census. The fort has a daytime population of nearly 25,000. The ZIP Code is 66442.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Booth Tarkington American novelist

Newton Booth Tarkington was an American novelist and dramatist best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. He is one of only three novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once, along with William Faulkner and John Updike. Although he is little read now, in the 1910s and 1920s he was considered America's greatest living author.

In motion pictures, he made his credited debut with in Possessed in 1931, appearing with Clark Gable and Joan Crawford and the next year he was given the lead in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Freaks , directed by Tod Browning. Ford went on to have an extensive career over 30 years, appearing in more than 150 films, with lead roles in the 1930s and '40s in Hollywood B movies such as The Rogues' Tavern (1936), Murder by Invitation (1941), and Roar of the Press (1941), and supporting roles in larger feature films such as The Lost Patrol (1934), Shadow of a Doubt (1942), Spellbound (1945), and Dead Reckoning (1947).

<i>Possessed</i> (1931 film) 1931 film by Clarence Brown

Possessed is a 1931 American pre-Code drama film directed by Clarence Brown, starring Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film is the story of Marian Martin, a factory worker who rises to the top as the mistress of a wealthy attorney. The screenplay by Lenore J. Coffee was adapted from the 1920 Broadway play The Mirage by Edgar Selwyn. Possessed was the third of eight movie collaborations between Crawford and Gable.

Clark Gable American actor

William Clark Gable was an American film actor, at the height of his career during the 1930s and 1940s, he was often referred to as "The King of Hollywood". He began his career as an extra in Hollywood silent films between 1924 and 1926, and progressed to supporting roles with a few films for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1930. He landed his first leading role in 1931 and was a leading man in more than 60 motion pictures over the following three decades.

Joan Crawford American actress

Joan Crawford was an American actress. She began her career as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting as a chorus girl on Broadway. Crawford then signed a motion picture contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925; her career would span decades, studios and controversies.

In 1937, he returned to the Broadway stage to play the role of George in the original production of Of Mice and Men . [4]

<i>Of Mice and Men</i> (play) play by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men is a play adapted from John Steinbeck's 1937 novel of the same name. The play, which predates the Tony Awards and the Drama Desk Awards, earned the 1938 New York Drama Critics' Circle Best Play.

In 1945, Ford appeared in the film Blood on the Sun alongside Jimmy Cagney, whose physique and acting style resembled his own. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, he transitioned into a character actor, appearing as a regular performer in the newly fashionable Western genre, and in multiple John Ford productions as one of his preferred support players.

In the latter stage of his career, during the 1950s and early 1960s, Ford performed increasingly on television. His final appearance on the "small screen" was on The Andy Griffith Show in 1964, playing "Roger Hanover", Aunt Bee's old flame. The next year he appeared in his last film, A Patch of Blue , for which he received a Golden Laurel nomination. Ford's performance as "Ole Pa" in A Patch of Blue also proved to be the final role of his extensive acting career.

Personal life

Ford met his future wife Martha Haworth in 1922 while they were performing together on Broadway in Abie's Irish Rose, she being a chorus girl at the time. They had one child, a daughter named Patricia (19272005). [1]

After the death of his wife in February 1966, Ford moved into the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital at Woodland Hills, California, and died in the hospital there of heart failure four months later. [1] His body was buried in an unmarked grave at Culver City's Holy Cross Cemetery. [5]

Broadway credits

29 August – September 1921The Poppy GodHiggins Hudson Theatre, New York [6]
6 March–?, 1922Broken BranchesArthur Weldon39th Street Theatre, New York [7]
22 October – November 1923Nobody's BusinessOliver Pratt Klaw Theatre, New York [8]
14 January – February 1924Gypsy JimTom Blake49th Street Theatre, New York [9]
31 March – May 1924Nancy AnnDan Dennis49th Street Theatre, New York [10]
1 September 1924 – June 1925PigsThomas Atkins Jr. Little Theatre, New York [11]
14 January – March 1929 Gypsy MacKlaw Theatre, New York [12]
14 October – November 1929The Nut FarmWillie BartonKlaw Theatre, New York [13]
23 November 1937 – May 1938 Of Mice and Men George Music Box Theatre, New York [14]
26 December 1939 – 6 January 1940KindredDermot O'Regan (Prologue) Maxine Elliott Theatre, New York [15]


Lobby card for The Beast of the City (1932) featuring Walter Huston, Jean Harlow and Wallace Ford
Poster - Employees' Entrance 04.jpg
Lobby card for Employees' Entrance (1933) featuring Wallace Ford and Loretta Young
Ford recreated his 1929 Broadway role in the 1935 film The Nut Farm
Wallace Ford in The Informer (1935)
The Rogues Tavern FilmPoster.jpeg
Poster for The Rogue's Tavern (1936)
Murder by Invitation FilmPoster.jpeg
Poster for Murder by Invitation (1941)
Poster for The Ape Man (1943)
Thunder Over Arizona poster.jpg
Poster for Thunder Over Arizona (1956)
Last Hurrah.jpg
Poster for The Last Hurrah (1958)
1929 Married in Hollywood Mitzi's FanUncredited
1931 Possessed Al Manning [16]
1931 X Marks the Spot Ted Lloyd [16]
1932 Freaks Phroso [16]
1932 The Beast of the City Ed Fitzpatrick [16]
1932 The Wet Parade Jerry Tyler [16]
1932 Are You Listening? Larry Barnes [16]
1932 Skyscraper Souls Slim [16]
1932 Central Park Rick [16]
1932 Hypnotized Bill Bogard [16]
1933 Employees' Entrance Martin West [16]
1933 Night of Terror Tom Hartley [16]
1933 The Big Cage Russ Penny [16]
1933 Headline Shooter Mike [16]
1933 Three-Cornered Moon Kenneth Rimplegar [16]
1933 Goodbye Again Arthur Westlake [16]
1933 My Woman Chick Rollins [16]
1933 East of Fifth Avenue Vic Howard [16]
1934 Money Means Nothing Joe Flynn [16]
1934 The Lost Patrol Morelli [16]
1934 Men in White Shorty [16]
1934 I Hate Women Scoop McGuire [16]
1934 Money Means Nothing Kenneth 'Kenny' McKay[ citation needed ]
1934 The Mysterious Mr. Wong Jason H. Barton [16]
1934 The Man Who Reclaimed His Head Curly [16]
1935 The Whole Town's Talking Healy [16]
1935 In Spite of Danger Bob Crane [16]
1935 The Nut Farm Willie Barton [16]
1935 One Frightened Night Joe Luvalie [16]
1935 Swell-Head Terry McCall [16]
1935 Men of the Hour Andy Blane [16]
1935 The Informer Frankie McPhillip [16]
1935 Get That Man Jack Kirkland / John Prescott [16]
1935 She Couldn't Take It Fingers Boston [16]
1935 Mary Burns, Fugitive Harper [16]
1935 Another Face Joe Haynes [16]
1936 Two in the Dark Harry Hillyer [16]
1936 Absolute Quiet Jack [16]
1936 The Rogues' Tavern Jimmy Kelly [16]
1936 A Son Comes Home Steve [16]
1937 You're in the Army Now Jimmy Tracy [16]
1937 Jericho Mike Clancy[ citation needed ]
1937 Exiled to Shanghai Ted Young [16]
1938 Swing It, Sailor! Pete Kelly [16]
1938StardustPeter Jackson
1938The Marines Come ThruPvt. 'Singapore' Stebbins[ citation needed ]
1939 Back Door to Heaven Frankie Rogers [16]
1940 Isle of Destiny Millard Barnes [16]
1940 Two Girls on Broadway Jed Marlowe [16]
1940 Love, Honor, and Oh Baby! Joe Redmond [16]
1940 Scatterbrain Sam Maxwell [16]
1940 The Mummy's Hand Babe Jenson [16]
1940 Give Us Wings Mr. York[ citation needed ]
1941 A Man Betrayed Casey [16]
1941 Roar of the Press Wally Williams [16]
1941 Murder by Invitation Bob White [16]
1941 Blues in the Night Brad Ames [16]
1942 All Through the Night Spats Hunter [16]
1942 Inside the Law Billy [16]
1942 Scattergood Survives a Murder Wally Collins [16]
1942 The Mummy's Tomb Babe Hanson [16]
1942 Seven Days' Leave Sergeant Mead [16]
1942 The Marines Come Through Singapore [16]
1943 Shadow of a Doubt Fred Saunders [16]
1943 The Ape Man Jeff Carter [16]
1943 The Cross of Lorraine Pierre Flandeau [16]
1944 Secret Command Miller [16]
1944 Machine Gun Mama Johnny O'Reilly [16]
1945 Blood on the Sun Ollie Miller [16]
1945 The Great John L. McManus [16]
1945 On Stage Everybody Emmett Rogers [16]
1945 Spellbound Stranger in hotel lobby [16]
1946 A Guy Could Change Bill Conley [16]
1946 The Green Years Jamie Nigg [16]
1946 Lover Come Back Tubbs [16]
1946 Rendezvous with Annie Al Morgan [16]
1946 Black Angel Joe [16]
1946 Crack-Up Lieutenant Cochrane [16]
1947 Dead Reckoning McGee [16]
1947 Magic Town Lou Dicketts [16]
1947 T-Men The schemer [16]
1948 Man from Texas Jed [16]
1948 Shed No Tears Sam Grover [16]
1948 Embraceable You Police Lt. Ferria [16]
1948 Coroner Creek Andy West [16]
1948 Belle Starr's Daughter Lafe Bailey [16]
1949 The Set-Up Gus [16]
1949 Red Stallion in the Rockies Talky Carson [16]
1950 Dakota Lil Carter [16]
1950 The Furies Scotty Hyslip [16]
1950 The Breaking Point F.R. Duncan [16]
1950 Harvey Ellis Logfren, The Taxi Driver [16]
1951 He Ran All the Way Mr. Dobbs [16]
1951 Warpath Private Potts [16]
1951 Painting the Clouds with Sunshine Sam Parks [16]
1952 She Couldn't Say No Joe Wheelen [16]
1952 Rodeo Barbecue Jones [16]
1952 Flesh and Fury Jack "Pop" Richardson [16]
1953 The Great Jesse James Raid Elias Hobbs [16]
1953 The Nebraskan Mac McBride [16]
1954 The Boy from Oklahoma Wally Higgins [16]
1954 Destry Doc Curtis [16]
1954 3 Ring Circus Sam Morley [16]
1955 The Man from Laramie Charley O'Leary [16]
1955 Wichita Arthur Whiteside [16]
1955 Lucy Gallant Gus Basserman [16]
1955 A Lawless Street Dr. Amos Wynn [16]
1955 The Spoilers Flapjack Simms [16]
1956 The Maverick Queen Jamie [16]
1956 The First Texan Henry Delaney [16]
1956 Johnny Concho Albert Dark [16]
1956 Thunder Over Arizona Hal Stiles [16]
1956 Stagecoach to Fury Judge Lester Farrell [16]
1956 The Rainmaker Sheriff Howard Thomas [16]
1958 Twilight for the Gods Old Brown [16]
1958 The Matchmaker Malachi Stack [16]
1958 The Last Hurrah Charles J. Hennessey [16]
1959 Warlock Judge Holloway [16]
1960 Tess of the Storm Country Fred Thorson [16]
1965 A Patch of Blue Ole Pa(final film role) [16]

Select television credits

Wallace Ford with Betty Lou Keim in NBC-TV's The Deputy (1959-61) Wallace Ford Betty Lou Keim The Deputy.jpg
Wallace Ford with Betty Lou Keim in NBC-TV's The Deputy (1959–61)
1953 The Motorola Television Hour "Outlaw's Reckoning" (series debut) [17]
1953 Goodyear Television Playhouse "The Happy Rest" [18]
1953 Armstrong Circle Theatre "The Marshal of Misery Gulch" [19]
1954 Inner Sanctum Photographer"Dark of the Night" [20]
1955 Ford Theatre Talker"Sunday Mourn" [21]
1955Damon Runyon TheatreLt. Harrigan"Tobias the Terrible" [22]
1957 The Court of Last Resort William Markham"The Jim Thompson Case" [23]
1958 Playhouse 90 Mule Rogers"The Last Man" [24]
1959–61 The Deputy Marshal Herk Lamson [25]

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Boyd Magers. "Characters and Heavies: Wallace Ford" . Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  2. Lest We Forget
  3. Hal Erickson, Allmovie biography on Wallace Ford
  4. 1 2 Wallace Ford at the Internet Broadway Database
  5. Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries
  6. "The Poppy God". Internet Broadway Database . Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  7. "Broken Branches". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  8. "Nobody's Business". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  9. "Gypsy Jim". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  10. "Nancy Ann". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  11. "Pigs". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  12. "Gypsy". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  13. "The Nut Farm". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  14. "Of Mice and Men". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  15. "Kindred". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
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  18. "Goodyear TV Playhouse, Season 3 (1953–54)". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  19. "Armstrong Circle Theatre, Season 5 (1953–54)". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  20. "Inner Sanctum (1953–54)". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  21. "Ford Theatre, Season 6 (1954–55)". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  22. "Damon Runyon Theatre". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  23. "The Court of Last Resort". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  24. "Playhouse 90, Season 2 (1957–58)". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 14 July 2017.
  25. "The Deputy (1959–61)". Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 14 July 2017.