John Beal (born James Alexander Bliedung, August 13, 1909 – April 26, 1997) was an American actor.
Beal was born James Alexander Bliedung in Joplin, Missouri. His father had a department store and Beal went to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania “mapped for a commercial career.” While at Wharton, Beal (who enrolled under his real name, James Alexander Bliedung) spent time drawing cartoons for the school’s humor magazine and singing in productions of the Mask and Wig club.
Soon after graduating from college in 1930, Beal began acting with the Hedgerow Theatre. Beal originally went to New York to study at the Art Students League of New York. A chance to understudy in a play made him change his mind. He went on to appear in Russet Mantle and She Loves Me. Beal’s Broadway credits include Three Men on a Horse (1993), The Seagull (1992), The Master Builder (1992), A Little Hotel on the Side (1992), The Crucible (1991), The Changing Room (1973), The Candyapple (1970), Our Town (1969), In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer (1969), Billy (1969), Calculated Risk (1962), The Teahouse of the August Moon (1953), Leonard Sillman’s New Faces of 1952 (1952), The Voice of the Turtle (1943), Liberty Jones (1941), I Know What I Like (1939), Miss Swan Expects (1939), Soliloquy (1938), Russet Mantle (1936), She Loves Me Not (1933), Another Language (1933), Another Language (1932), Wild Waves (1932), and No More Frontier (1931).
Beal began acting in films with Another Language (1933), in which he re-created his stage role. He appeared opposite Katharine Hepburn (in the 1934 RKO film The Little Minister), among others; one of his notable screen appearances was as Marius Pontmercy in Les Misérables (1935). He continued appearing in films during the war years while serving in Special Services and the First Motion Picture Unit as actor and director of Army Air Forces camp shows and training films.
Beal had starring roles in the film dramas Alimony (1949) and My Six Convicts (1952).
Radio and television
During the summer of 1948, Beal acted in The Amazing Mr. Tutt on CBS radio.
Beal was host of Freedom Rings, a game show on CBS-TV in 1953.:366 In the 1950s, Beal also began appearing in various television shows, including the title role of mining engineer Philip Deidesheimer in a 1959 episode of Bonanza, “The Deidesheimer Story”. Beal starred as Dr. Lewis on the ABC serial Road to Reality in 1960-1961.:898 He portrayed Dr. Henden on the primetime medical drama The Nurses in the early 1960s and appeared on an afternoon version of the program in the latter half of the 1960s.:776
He was hired to play the role of Jim Matthews in the television soap opera Another World when the show went on the air in 1964, but was fired by creator and headwriter Irna Phillips after only one episode.
He appeared in The Waltons, season 3, episode 13, “The Visitor”, first aired in December, 1974. His character was a former neighbor, Mason Beardsley, an elderly man who returned to Waltons Mountain to live with his wife who he was expecting in a few days. The Walton family were excited for him and helped to fix up his home, only to learn that his wife had died a year earlier and, unable to accept this fact, he continued to look for her.
In 1976, Beal portrayed Charles Adams II in the PBS dramatic series The Adams Chronicles. He continued to work in films and television, notably as Judge Vail in the supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows (for 9 episodes), and also the theater up until the 1980s. Beal died at age 87 in Santa Cruz, California, two years after suffering a stroke.
Beal was married to actress Helen Craig for 52 years until her death in 1986. They had two daughters, Theodora Emily and Tandy Johanna.
|1933||Another Language||Jerry Hallam|
|1934||Hat, Coat and Glove||Jerry Hutchins|
|1934||The Little Minister||Gavin|
|1935||Break of Hearts||Johnny Lawrence|
|1937||We Who Are About to Die||John E. ‘Johnny’ Thompson|
|1937||The Man Who Found Himself||Dr. James Stanton Jr.|
|1937||Border Cafe||Keith Whitney|
|1937||Madame X||Raymond Fleuriot|
|1937||Double Wedding||Waldo Beaver|
|1937||Danger Patrol||Dan Loring|
|1937||Beg, Borrow or Steal||Count Bill Cherau|
|1938||Port of Seven Seas||Marius|
|1938||I Am the Law||Paul Ferguson|
|1938||The Arkansas Traveler||John ‘Johnnie’ Daniels|
|1939||The Great Commandment||Joel|
|1939||The Cat and the Canary||Fred Blythe|
|1941||Ellery Queen and the Perfect Crime||Walter Matthews|
|1941||Doctors Don’t Tell||Dr. Ralph Sawyer|
|1942||One Thrilling Night||Horace Jason|
|1942||Atlantic Convoy||Carl Hansen|
|1942||Stand By All Networks||Ben Fallon|
|1943||Let’s Have Fun||Richard Gilbert|
|1943||Edge of Darkness||Johann Stensgard|
|1947||Key Witness||Milton Higby|
|1947||Messenger of Peace||Pastor Armin Ritter|
|1948||So Dear to My Heart||Jeremiah as an Adult – Narrator||Voice|
|1949||Song of Surrender||Dubois|
|1949||Chicago Deadline||Paul Jean d’Ur|
|1952||My Six Convicts||Dr. Wilson aka Doc|
|1953||Remains to Be Seen||Dr. Glenson|
|1954||New Faces||director of sketches|
|1957||The Vampire||Dr. Paul Beecher|
|1957||That Night!||Commuter Christopher J. Bowden|
|1959||The Sound and the Fury||Howard Compson|
|1959||Bonanza||Philip Diedesheimer||Episode: “The Phillip Diedesheimer Story”|
|1960||Ten Who Dared||Maj. John Wesley Powell|
|1975||The Legend of Lizzie Borden||Dr. Bowen||TV movie|
|1976||The Adams Chronicles||Charles Francis Adams||3 episodes|
|1983||Amityville 3-D||Harold Caswell|
|1993||The Firm||Nathan Locke||final film role|