Warner Archive has just released several of the popular films that Wallace Beery made with Marjorie Main . The films include: “Barnacle Bill” (1941), “Jackass Mail,” (1942), “The Bugle Sounds” (1942), “Bad Bascomb” (1946), and “Big Jack,” released just days prior to Beery’s death from a heart attack on April 15, 1949 at the age of 64. Here’s a poster from the film “Jackass Mail:”
Hulky and raspy-voiced Beery was one of MGM’s biggest stars during the golden age of Hollywood. In fact, his 1932 MGM contract stipulated that he be paid $1 more than any contracted actor in the studio, which ensured that he was the highest paid actor in the world.
Although a great actor, Beery was not known for his social graces, and had quite the reputation around the studio. He was difficult to work with on the set, and he was particularly prickly when working with child stars. However, his abilities as an actor were undeniable. In 1931, he won an Academy Award for lead actor based on his portrayal of a washed-up boxer in “The Champ.” Check out this clip from the movie:
Some of the other work Beery is well-known for includes his portrayal of Bill in “Min and Bill,” the character of Long John Silver in “Treasure Island,” and Pancho Villa in “Viva Villa!” In all, Beery appeared in some 250 movies during his 36-year career, including a number of movies made alongside Marjorie Main (best known for her role as half the duo “Ma and Pa Kettle”).