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Ward Bond Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (30)  | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Born in Benkelman, Nebraska, USA
Died in Dallas, Texas, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameWardell Edwin Bond
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Gruff, burly American character actor. Born in 1903 in Benkelman, Nebraska (confirmed by Social Security records; sources stating 1905 or Denver, Colorado are in error.) Bond grew up in Denver, the son of a lumberyard worker. He attended the University of Southern California, where he got work as an extra through a football teammate who would become both his best friend and one of cinema's biggest stars: John Wayne. Director John Ford promoted Bond from extra to supporting player in the film Salute (1929), and became another fast friend. An arrogant man of little tact, yet fun-loving in the extreme, Bond was either loved or hated by all who knew him. His face and personality fit perfectly into almost any type of film, and he appeared in hundreds of pictures in his more than 30-year career, in both bit parts and major supporting roles. In the films of Wayne and Ford, particularly, he was nearly always present. Among his most memorable roles are John L. Sullivan in Gentleman Jim (1942), Det. Tom Polhaus in The Maltese Falcon (1941) and the Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnson Clayton The Searchers (1956). An ardent but anti-intellectual patriot, he was perhaps the most vehement proponent, among the Hollywood community, of blacklisting in the witch hunts of the 1950s, and he served as a most unforgiving president of the ultra-right-wing Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. In the mid-'50s he gained his greatest fame as the star of TV's Wagon Train (1957). During its production, Bond traveled to Dallas, Texas, to attend a football game and died there in his hotel room of a massive heart attack.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Family (2)

Spouse Mary Louise May (23 August 1954 - 5 November 1960)  (his death)
Doris Sellers Childs (28 April 1936 - 7 July 1944)  (divorced)
Parents John W. Bond
Mabel L. Bond

Trade Mark (3)

Often played policemen, soldiers, sailors and cowboys.
Gruff resonant voice.
Frequently cast in films by John Ford

Trivia (30)

A popular urban myth holds that on the day he died, Bond was scheduled to meet singer Johnny Horton in Dallas to sign a contract to appear on Wagon Train (1957). Horton died in an auto accident, hit by a drunk driver, at 1:30 a.m. and Bond died in Dallas at noon the same day. However, Bond was only the star of the series and not a producer, so he had no say in casting.
Many sources incorrectly quote 1905, and/or Denver, Colorado, USA regarding his birth.
Entered films in 1928 while attending the University of Southern California.
Family rumor is that Bond was a roommate at USC with John Wayne, who convinced him to go into acting. They were apparently best friends; one of their favorite activities in their youth was to go to bars, get drunk, and start fights.
On a hunting trip, he was accidentally shot by John Wayne. Bond left Wayne the shotgun in his will.
In The Wings of Eagles (1957), Bond played his friend, director John Ford, under the character name John Dodge (the name itself was a play on American automobile names. Ford was a real-life friend of the film's subject character). The set dressing, wardrobe, and Oscars in the scene are all actually Ford's.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6933 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
The muppet "Bert" on Sesame Street (1969) was rumored to be named after Bond's character (Bert the cop) in It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
Bond appears in the most films (seven) of the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies: It Happened One Night (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Maltese Falcon (1941), It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and The Searchers (1956).
Was an epileptic, a closely guarded secret not made public until many years after his death.
Inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in 2001.
Although John Ford mocked many actors mercilessly (including John Wayne), Bond probably was on the receiving end of the worst verbal punishment from the director (who counted Bond among his favorite actors). At Bond's funeral, Ford walked up to Andy Devine and said, "Now YOU'RE the biggest asshole I know.".
Although his career was cut short by his premature death in 1960 at age 57, he was one of the most prolific of Hollywood's actors over a period of 30 years. He regularly appeared in 10 to 20 films per year, with the record year for him being 1935, when he acted in 30 movies.
Worked with director John Ford on 26 films. Few, if any, actors, have appeared in so many films for a single director.
Bond's deep involvement in ultra-right-wing politics--and especially his enthusiastic efforts to blacklist suspected Communists and anyone with "progressive" political views in Hollywood--earned him the enmity of many in the film business. For several years, he could not get any work in films other than those of his right-wing friends like John Wayne, and he believed that "liberal" producers and directors blacklisted him. Then in 1957, at age 54, he made an enormous comeback as Major Seth Adams in Wagon Train (1957), and was finally a star in his own right.
Bond has been officially remembered by a Ward Bond Memorial Park in his birthplace of Benkelman, Nebraska.
Died at the Town House Motor Hotel on 2914 Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas, Texas.
Campaigned for Republican Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential election, despite admitting in an interview that he was not very enthusiastic about Nixon.
John Wayne gave the eulogy at his funeral.
According to Orson Welles, one night at Chasen's Restaurant in Hollywood, Bond cut off Welles' tie. The same story is told but with Gwinn Williams, not Bond, as the perpetrator.
Once while on location, John Ford had a photo taken of himself and John Wayne standing on either side of the rear end of a horse. He sent the photo to Bond with the caption, "Thinking of you".
He appeared in three Best Picture Academy Award winners: It Happened One Night (1934), You Can't Take It with You (1938) and Gone with the Wind (1939). Irving Bacon, Eddy Chandler and Wallis Clark also appeared in all three films.
He appeared in 13 films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, Arrowsmith (1931), Lady for a Day (1933), It Happened One Night (1934), Dead End (1937), You Can't Take It with You (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), The Long Voyage Home (1940), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Sergeant York (1941), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), The Quiet Man (1952) and Mister Roberts (1955).
Bond did not have any children. United States census records from 1940 show a son, Kenneth Bond, approximately 12 years old, living in his household. He was actually Bond's stepson, Kenneth Duane Childs (1927-2003), his wife Doris's son by a previous marriage.
He had been diagnosed with high blood pressure but refused to cut back his work schedule on Wagon Train (1957).
John Ford owned eight acres in Reseda, which became a rehabilitation center for both veterans of Ford's movies and veterans of U.S. wars. Syd Kronenthal was the supervisor - he was also hired to help Marlon Brando play a paraplegic in his first film role - and he remembered the Ford team getting drunk all the time: "They were all very right-wing, and when they got loaded they'd start spewing anti-Semitic remarks. The worst of them was Victor McLaglen, and Ward Bond was anti-Semitic as hell. They either didn't know I was Jewish or they forgot.".
He was survived by his mother, who later died in 1974 at age 90.
He entered the University of California on a football scholarship.
Although he often played characters of Irish nationality, he was in fact of English ancestry.
On July 17, 1944, Bond was leaving the Hollywood premiere of Since You Went Away (1944) and was attempting to cross the street when he was struck by an auto. His left leg was so severely fractured that physicians wanted to amputate, but Bond refused to allow it, and although it took several months, Bond recovered. He limped in his next few films, and was still recovering, using a cane, when he served as best man at the wedding of John Wayne to his second wife in January 1946. The driver, a retired cosmetics manufacturer, was fined $25 for speeding but was not charged with failing to yield right of way to a pedestrian. In 1945, Bond was awarded $50,000 at a civil trial.

Personal Quotes (1)

Some of these guys look like I would like if I were flying a B-36. I saw one on TV who mounted like an old woman. Then he leans forward, pulls back the reins, and starts flapping' his arms. The poor horse didn't know what to do. I guess you could say I'm my own technical advisor on Wagon Train.

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