Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ward Bond, 1903-1960

Today marks the birthday of actor Ward Bond, who would probably be best remembered for the long string of westerns that he made in the 1940s and 1950s. That success was a long time in coming, however. Bond started his career at the beginning of the sound era with a bunch of bit parts that are generally uncredited. IMDb claims he was a policeman in Blonde Crazy opposite James Cagney and Joan Blondell, a policeman in Lady For a Day, and a bus driver in It Happened One Night for example. (Not that I would have recognized Bond in any of those roles, but there you are. I don't know when Bond exactly became bigger, but by the end of the 1930s he was being credited in slightly bigger roles in a wide range of movies, be it Drums Along the Mohawk or Gone With the Wind.

Eventually he started working with John Ford, with their first collaboration being, I think, They Were Expendable. That led to a long string of roles in some of Ford's great movies of the late 1940s and 1950s, be it My Darling Clementine, the John Wayne version of 3 Godfathers, The Quiet Man, or The Searchers. (I have to admit that I tend to be a fan of stuff from that era other than the work of John Ford, but he was certainly an expert at his craft and there are a lot of people who like Ford's films.)

In 1957, Bond took one of the starring roles on the TV series Wagon Train, which was very successful. Unfortunately for Bond, he would suffer a heart attack in late 1960 and die at the surprisingly young age of 57. Wagon Train, having several stars, was able to continue for another three or four seasons after Bond's death.

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