Many legends have come and gone in the entertainment world, leaving an indelible mark on the sands of time. One among such elite class is the iconic American actor Walter Brennan whose career lasted for almost five decades, with recorded appearances in over 230 productions, both in the movies and series.
Although he started his career from scratch as an extra and a stuntman, Brennan soon became adept in playing a wide variety of movie roles with ease, from that of a stylish businessman to a military officer and a Western cowhand. He even depicted a con man, some rustic countryman as well as a villainous old man. He achieved his big breakthrough through the television series The Real McCoys, and today, the deceased actor is widely recognized as one of the greatest entertainers of all time.
Who was Walter Brennan?
Walter Brennan was born on the 25th of July 1894 in Lynn, Massachusetts, a few miles from the Brennan family home located in Swampscott, Massachusetts. The legendary actor was named Walter Andrew Brennan at birth and is the second out of three children by his parents; Margaret Elizabeth and William John Brennan who earns a living as an inventor and engineer. The identities of his siblings are not known, but both his parents are of Irish descent which is same as him, though he is obviously of American nationality.
A young Brennan attended Rindge Technical High School as a student of engineering. Having shown interest in the performing arts from an early stage, he proceeded to participate in several productions in his school after which he started to perform at vaudeville at just 15 years of age.
It would appear that the young star did not complete the requirements to graduate from Rindge Technical because he moved on to enroll at Marlborough High School in Marlborough, Massachusetts where he excelled in sports. According to an article by Boston Herald dated 6th November 1941, Walter Brennan was just in his freshman year when he gained an admirable level of recognition as a noted footballer.
After he was done with his education, Brennan took up paid employment as a bank clerk before joining the United States Army, serving in France during the 1st World War in the capacity of a private with the 101st Field Artillery Regiment.
When the war came to an end, Brennan became the staff of a Boston tabloid as a financial reporter. He stayed with the newspaper for a while as he harbored the dreams of relocating to Guatemala to grow pineapples.
Walter Brennan set out on his trip to Guatemala but was only able to make it to Los Angeles. His stop in LA was sort of a blessing in disguise because he proceeded to invest in real estate, earning a huge fortune in the process.
Unfortunately, Brennan became a victim of the 1925 real estate slump as he lost a major part of his wealth within a short time. He was compelled to look for an alternative means of survival after the real estate slump which brought him to the world of entertainment where he started from the scratch as an extra and a stuntman with the little income of $7.50 per day at the Universal Studio. Movies roles started to come his way after a while and the rest, as they say, is history.
When, Where and What Did He Die Of?
The latter part of Walter Brennan years was spent at his Moorpark Ventura Ranch. He died at the age of 80, on the 21st of September 1974 at Oxnard, California. His cause of death was listed as emphysema and his interment followed at the mission cemetery in San Fernando, California.
The deceased movie legend will be forever remembered for his roles in over 230 films in a successful acting career that spanned almost 50 years. Walter Brennan’s contributions to the entertainment world did not go unnoticed as he was decorated with several prestigious awards during his lifetime.
In addition, the legendary actor got a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame precisely at 6501 Hollywood Boulevard. His induction into the Western Performers Hall of Fame was accomplished in 1970 at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum located in Oklahoma City where his picture has a permanent position.