Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Walter Pidgeon

Walter Pidgeon was born Walter Davis Pigeon on September 23, 1897 in New Brunswick, Canada.

Pidgeon studied law and drama at the University of New Brunswick. His studies were interrupted by World War I. He enlisted in the 65th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery. He never saw combat as he was severely injured when he was crushed between two gun carriages and hospitalized for 17 months.

After the war, he moved to Boston, where he worked as a bank runner. His earnings financed his voice studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, he was a classically trained baritone.

Pidgeon began his career in theater, mainly stage musicals. He went to Hollywood in the early 1920s where he made silent films, his first being Mannequin in 1926. When talkies arrived, Pidgeon made some early talkie musicals, but never received top billing or recognition. In 1937, MGM put Walter under contract but only in supporting roles and the other man roles - such as in Saratoga (1937) and The Girl of the Golden West (1938). MGM loaned him out to Fox where he finally had top-billing in How Green Was My Valley (1941).

Some of Walter Pidgeon's other notable films are Funny Girl (1968), Advise and Consent (1962), Forbidden Planet (1956), Executive Suite (1954), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and Too Hot To Handle (1938).

He received two oscar nominations. The first was Best Actor in a Leading Role for Mrs. Miniver (1942). The second was Best Actor in a Leading Role for Madame Curie (1943).

Walter Pidgeon was nominated for Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for "Take Me Along."

Pidgeon was active in the Screen Actor's Guild and served as president from 1952-1957

Pidgeon married twice. In 1919, he married Muriel "Edna" Pickles. This marriage was short-lived as she died in 1921 during the birth of their daughter, Edna. In 1931, he married his secretary Ruth Walker to whom he remained married until his death. They were married 52 years.

Pidgeon's hobbies included tending to his rose garden and playing bridge.

Walter Pidgeon passed away September 25, 1984 at the age of 87 after suffereing a stroke.

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