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Walter Pidgeon BiographyWalter Pidgeon, a handsome, tall and dark haired man, began his career studying voice at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. He then did theater, mainly stage musicals. He went to Hollywood in the early 1920s where he made silent films, such as Mannequin and Sumuru. 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 opposite Jean Harlow and Clark Gable and in The Girl of the Golden West opposite Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Although the 2 films were big successes, Pidgeon was overlooked for his contribution to the films. MGM loaned him out to Fox where he finally had top-billing in How Green Was My Valley. When he returned to MGM, they tried to give him bigger roles and cast him opposite frequent co-star Greer Garson. But Greer seemed to come up on top in _Blossom in the Dust (1941)_ and Mrs. Miniver, although Pidgeon did receive an Oscar nomination for his role in the latter movie. He remained with MGM till the mid-1950s, making films like Dream Wife and Hit the Deck with Jane Powell and old pal, Gene Raymond. In 1956, he left the movies to do some theater, but returned in 1961. He retired in 1977, and suffered several strokes which eventually led to his death in 1984.
TriviaFirst wife Edna died in 1926 giving birth to their daughter, also named Edna. His widowed mother Hannah came out to California to help care for his child. She lived there for the next 38 years, dying at age 94. Featured baritone in the Broadway production "The Puzzles of 1925." President of Screen Actors Guild (SAG). [1952-1957] Daughter, Edna Pidgeon Atkins, born in 1924, once worked at the Animation Department of MGM before marrying in 1947. She gave Walter 2 granddaughters, Pat and Pam. Was nominated for Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as Best Actor (Musical) for "Take Me Along" -- a award that was won by his co-star Jackie Gleason . Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 640-642. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998. He ran off to join his brother, Don, in the Canadian Army but his age (16) was detected and he was sent back home. He eventually enlisted with the 65th Battery of the Royal Canadian Artillery but was injured during training when he was crushed by two guns carriages at Camp Petawawa and caught pneumonia. As a result he spent 17 months recovering at a hospital in Toronto, having never been sent to France. Initially performed in early talking musicals for Warner Bros. Was the last of the four stars (including Bette Davis, Michael Rennie and Hugh O'Brian) who played a "substitute attorney" on Perry Mason in 1963 when the series' titular star, Raymond Burr suffered a heart attack. The pressures of doing that guest role convinced him that starring in a TV series was not to his liking.
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