Biography

​From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Will Geer (March 9, 1902 – April 22, 1978) was an American actor and social activist. His original name was William Aughe Ghere. He is remembered for his portrayal of Grandpa Zebulon Tyler Walton in the 1970s TV series, The Waltons.  

Geer made his Broadway debut as Pistol in a 1928 production of Much Ado About Nothing, created the role of Mr. Mister in Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, played Candy in John Steinbeck's theatrical adaptation of his novella Of Mice and Men, and appeared in numerous plays and revues throughout the 1940s. From 1948 to 1951, he appeared in more than a dozen movies, including Winchester '73 (as Wyatt Earp), Broken Arrow, Comanche Territory (all 1950) and Bright Victory (1951).

Geer became a member of the Communist Party of the United States in 1934. Geer was also influential in introducing Harry Hay to organizing in the Communist Party. In 1934, Geer and Hay gave support to a labor strike of the port of San Francisco; the 1934 West Coast waterfront strike which lasted 83 days. Though marred by violence, it was an organizing triumph, one that became a model for future union strikes Geer became a reader of the West Coast Communist newspaper People's World.

Geer became a dedicated activist, touring government work camps in the 1930s with folk singers like Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie (whom he introduced to the People's World and the Daily Worker; Guthrie would go on to write a column for the latter paper). In 1956, the duo released an album together on Folkways Records, titled Bound for Glory: Songs and Stories of Woody Guthrie. In his biography, fellow organizer and homosexual rights pioneer Harry Hay described Geer's activism and outlined their activities while organizing for the strike. Geer is credited with introducing Guthrie to Pete Seeger at the 'Grapes of Wrath' benefit Geer organized in 1940 for migrant farm workers.

Geer acted with the Group Theatre (New York) studying under Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg. Geer also acted in radio, appearing as Mephistopheles (the Devil) in the 1938 and 1944 productions of Norman Corwin's The Plot to Overthrow Christmas. He also acted in the radio soap opera Bright Horizon.

Geer was blacklisted in the early 1950s for refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. As a result, Geer appeared in very few films over the next decade. Among them was Salt of the Earth (1954) which was produced, directed, written, and starring blacklisted Hollywood personnel and told the story of a miners' strike in New Mexico from a pro-union standpoint. The film was denounced as "subversive" and faced difficulties in its production and distribution as a consequence.

Description above from the Wikipedia article Will Geer, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

​From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Will Geer (March 9, 1902 – April 22, 1978) was an American actor and social activist. His original name was William Aughe Ghere. He is remembered for his portrayal of Grandpa Zebulon Tyler Walton in the 1970s TV series, The Waltons.  

Geer made his Broadway debut as Pistol in a 1928 production of Much Ado About Nothing, created the role of Mr. Mister in Marc Blitzstein's The Cradle Will Rock, played Candy in John Steinbeck's theatrical adaptation of his novella Of Mice and Men, and appeared in numerous plays and revues throughout the 1940s. From 1948 to 1951, he appeared in more than a dozen movies, including Winchester '73 (as Wyatt Earp), Broken Arrow, Comanche Territory (all 1950) and Bright Victory (1951).

Geer became a member of the Communist Party of the United States in 1934. Geer was also influential in introducing Harry Hay to organizing in the Communist Party. In 1934, Geer and Hay gave support to a labor strike of the port of San Francisco; the 1934 West Coast waterfront strike which lasted 83 days. Though marred by violence, it was an organizing triumph, one that became a model for future union strikes Geer became a reader of the West Coast Communist newspaper People's World.

Geer became a dedicated activist, touring government work camps in the 1930s with folk singers like Burl Ives and Woody Guthrie (whom he introduced to the People's World and the Daily Worker; Guthrie would go on to write a column for the latter paper). In 1956, the duo released an album together on Folkways Records, titled Bound for Glory: Songs and Stories of Woody Guthrie. In his biography, fellow organizer and homosexual rights pioneer Harry Hay described Geer's activism and outlined their activities while organizing for the strike. Geer is credited with introducing Guthrie to Pete Seeger at the 'Grapes of Wrath' benefit Geer organized in 1940 for migrant farm workers.

Geer acted with the Group Theatre (New York) studying under Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg. Geer also acted in radio, appearing as Mephistopheles (the Devil) in the 1938 and 1944 productions of Norman Corwin's The Plot to Overthrow Christmas. He also acted in the radio soap opera Bright Horizon.

Geer was blacklisted in the early 1950s for refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. As a result, Geer appeared in very few films over the next decade. Among them was Salt of the Earth (1954) which was produced, directed, written, and starring blacklisted Hollywood personnel and told the story of a miners' strike in New Mexico from a pro-union standpoint. The film was denounced as "subversive" and faced difficulties in its production and distribution as a consequence.

Description above from the Wikipedia article Will Geer, licensed under CC-BY-SA, full list of contributors on Wikipedia.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 78

Birthday 1902-03-09

Day of Death 1978-04-22

Place of Birth Frankfort, Indiana, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • High Ghere

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1978 A Woman Called Moses (2 episodes) as Thomas Garrett
1978 Rip Van Winkle as Narrator (voice)
1978 The Mafu Cage as Zom
1978 Unknown Powers as Host
1977 The Billion Dollar Hobo as Choo-Choo Trayne
1977 The Love Boat (1 episode)
1977 Eight Is Enough (2 episodes)
1977 Bunco
1976 Moving Violation as Rockfield
1976 The Blue Bird as Grandfather
1975 Starsky & Hutch (2 episodes)
1975 The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery as Dr. Simpson
1974 Tony Orlando and Dawn (1 episode)
1974 Hurricane as Dr. McCutcheon
1974 Memory of Us as Motel Manager
1974 Silence as Crazy Jack
1974 The Hanged Man as Nameless
1974 The Lives of Benjamin Franklin (4 episodes)
1973 Executive Action as Ferguson
1973 Such Dust as Dreams Are Made On as Len McNeil
1973 Doc Elliot (1 episode)
1973 Isn't It Shocking? as Lemuel Lovell
1973 Savage as Joel Ryker
1973 Brock's Last Case as J. Smiley Krenshaw
1972 Kung Fu (1 episode)
1972 The Waltons (222 episodes) as Zebulon Tyler Walton (grandfather)
1972 Jeremiah Johnson as Bear Claw
1972 Napoleon and Samantha as Grandpa
1972 The Rowdyman
1972 The Sixth Sense (1 episode)
1972 The Scarecrow as Justice Gilead Merton
1972 Dear Dead Delilah as Roy Jurroe
1971 Columbo (1 episode) as Dr. Edmund Hidemann
1971 Brother John as Doc Thomas
1971 Alias Smith and Jones (1 episode)
1970 Pieces of Dreams as The Bishop
1970 The Brotherhood of the Bell as Mike Patterson
1970 The Moonshine War as Mr. Baylor
1969 Medical Center (2 episodes)
1969 Then Came Bronson (1 episode)
1969 The Bill Cosby Show (1 episode)
1968 Hawaii Five-O (1 episode)
1968 Bandolero! as Pop Chaney
1967 In Cold Blood as Prosecutor
1967 Garrison's Gorillas (1 episode)
1967 The Crucible as Giles
1966 Seconds as Old Man
1966 Mission: Impossible (1 episode)
1965 The Trials of O'Brien (1 episode) as Judge Lindemann
1965 Run for Your Life (1 episode)
1964 Daniel Boone (1 episode)
1964 Bewitched (2 episodes)
1964 Black Like Me as Truckdriver
1962 Advise & Consent as Senate Minority Leader
1955 Gunsmoke (1 episode)
1954 Salt of the Earth as Sheriff
1951 The Barefoot Mailman as Dan Paget - Miami Mayor / Postmaster
1951 The Tall Target as Homer Crowley, Train Conductor
1951 Bright Victory as Mr. Lawrence Nevins
1951 Racket Squad (1 episode)
1951 Double Crossbones as Tom Botts
1950 To Please a Lady as Jack Mackay
1950 Convicted as Convict Mapes
1950 Broken Arrow as Rancher
1950 Winchester '73 as Wyatt Earp
1950 It's a Small World as William Musk - Father
1950 Comanche Territory as Dan'l Seeger
1950 The Kid from Texas as O'Fallon
1949 Intruder in the Dust as Sheriff Hampton
1949 Anna Lucasta as Noah
1949 Lust for Gold as Deputy Ray Covin
1949 Johnny Allegro as Schultzy
1948 Deep Waters as Nick Driver
1940 Men and Dust as Narrator (voice)
1940 The Fight for Life as Ballou
1939 Union Pacific as Foreman (uncredited)
1934 Spitfire as West Fry
1932 The Misleading Lady as McMahon - Asylum Guard

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