Walter Pidgeon (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 09, 2022

Walter Pidgeon had one of those rare childhoods that spell adventure to all youthful imaginations. It was spent in New Brunswick where the mighty moose and other big game abounded.

“I was quite a hunter for my size,” he recalls, “but my hunting days ended when it was necessary to kill a charging moose to save my own life. He was such a beautiful animal that it took all the urge to kill out of me, and I have not killed an animal of any type since then.”

Born on September 23rd, Pidgeon was the son of a wholesale mercantile man in St. John. His youthful ambition was to become a sea captain like his grandfather, but the nearest he approached this ambition was when he would sail on the St. John River and in the Bay of Fundy, listening to yarns of the “old salts.”

In World War

Following his education in the public and high schools at St. John and at the University of New Brunswick, he enlisted in the Canadian army in 1917 and served through the World War with the 65th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery.

At the close of the war, Pidgeon entered a brokerage business in Boston, where he was employed from 1919 to 1921. While still in business, he entered the Copley Dramatic School and began with small parts with the E. E. Clive Stock Company. He later joined with Elsie Janis, with whom he had worked while entertaining troops in France, on a six months vaudeville tour of the United States. He accompanied Miss Janis to London, England, for a six-months run of the revue. “At Home,” at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

Hollywood Bound

In 1925, Pidgeon went to Hollywood to play in motion pictures for the old Universal company. He appeared in three films but decided he liked the stage better. He returned to Broadway and appeared in many successful stage plays and road show companies.

In 1930, he signed a four-year picture contract. He made four pictures during 1930 — “Viennese Nights,” “Lady in Ermine,” “Declasse” and “Mademoiselle Modiste,” and again became homesick for Broadway. Although his studio wanted to renew his contract, Pidgeon returned to the New York stage.

In New York, he appeared in “No More Ladies,” “The Night of January 16,” “Something Gay” and “There’s Wisdom in Women,” when Hollywood again beckoned to him.

He made three pictures. “Who’s Dangerous,” “Girl Overboard,” and “As Good as Married” —and was next assigned by Metro-Goldwyn Mayer to play with the late Jean Harlow and Clark Gable in Saratoga.

M-G-M Contract

His performance was so well liked that he was again selected to play the leading male role opposite Maureen O’Sullivan in “My Dear Miss Aldrich.” In the midst of this picture, he succeeded in obtaining a release from his contract with another studio and was immediately signed to a long-term Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract and given one of the four leading roles with Myrna Loy, Rosalind Russell and Franchot Tone in “The Four Marys.”

Although starring in many Broadway musical shows, Pidgeon does not care to sing in pictures. He is looking for success in dramatic roles.

Six feet and three inches tall and weighing 190 pounds, Pidgeon is an ardent sportsman and is an excellent tennis player and horseman. For recreation he prefers travel and as a hobby he collects travel and biographical books.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937