John Beal (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 08, 2022

Biography — John Beal spent four years traveling from his first to his second screen role at one of Hollywood’s major motion picture studios.

Beal made his debut for the screen in 1933 in “Another Language” at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He never saw the inside of M-G-M again until he began work with William Powell and Myrna Loy in “Double Wedding,” adapted from Ferenc Molnar’s “Great Love.”

Brought from the New York stage four years ago for “Another Language,” Beal created something of a sensation and received many attractive film offers. He upset precedent by refusing to accept a screen contract and by returning to New York and the stage.

Recently Beal returned to Hollywood, but his present contract contains a clause permitting him to return to the stage for a definite period each year.

Born in Joplin, Missouri, on August 13, his real name is James Alexander Bliedung and he is still known to his home town friends as Alex Bliedung. His father, a department store owner, still lives in Joplin.

Hedgerow ‘Grad’

Beal received his preparatory education in the public schools of Joplin and demonstrated his dramatic talents early in student days. In his senior year at Joplin High he won the lead in the class play.

He continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a member of the Mask and Wig Dramatic Society, with which his performances were so outstanding that they attracted the attention of Jasper Deeter, owner of the Hedgerow Theater at Moylan, near Philadelphia. Following Beal’s graduation in 1930, Deeter added him to his company and assigned him to important roles in his famous theater repertoire. Also, at Hedgerow, Ann Harding received her dramatic training.

Although his acting career started auspiciously, Beal cherished another ambition. He had always been fond of painting and sketching and had hoped to become an illustrator.

He returned to New York, enrolling at the Art Students’ League for a course in illustration. While attending the school, he was offered a chance to understudy in Frank Craven’s play, “That’s Gratitude.” He accepted and returned to the theatre. Minor roles in several plays followed and then hewon his first real opportunity in “Wild Waves.”

Beal’s performance drew the plaudits of the critics and audiences and he was awarded a featured role in the Broadway hit, “Another Language.”

Outdoor Sports

On the sound stages between scenes, Beal amuses himself by making drawings of fellow players and manages to fill a sketchbook on every picture in which he works.

His ambition is to continue with the screen and the stage, playing character roles when his years of younger characterizations are ended. He also still hopes to find some time for professional illustrating.

Swimming, tennis and horseback riding are his favorite sports. He is studying singing and is serious about it, expecting some day to enact a musical comedy role.

Married to Helen Craig, Beal would like to be featured in a picture opposite his wife, because he enjoyed working with her on the stage in Lynn Riggs’ “Russet Mantle.”

His picture appearances so far have been in “Another Language,” “Hat, Coat and Gloves,” “The Little Minister,” “Laddie,” “Break of Hearts,” “Les Miserables,” ‘M’Liss,” ‘We Who Are About to Die,” “Border Cafe,” ‘Double Wedding” and ‘Madame X.”