Today we begin a new series.

Stars who started out in the film business with an already famous name.

Above is Noah Beery, Jr. True, his father wasn’t as big a star as his uncle, Oscar winner Wallace Beery. But Noah Beery Sr. had been quite well known, especially in silents.

In any case, Noah Jr. was another kettle of acting fish –far more congenial that his forebears.

He began acting with his father while still a teenager, kicking off a more than 60-year career in movies and, mostly, on television.  He was an immensely well liked (offscreen and on) figure who made the most of countless good-guy parts, which segued with age to fatherly then grandfatherly roles.

He is probably best remembered for his role on the Seventies tv series, The Rockford Files. Although just 15 years older than series star James Garner, Noah Jr. convincingly pulled off the role of Garner’s father. The publication TV Guide once ranked his character among the “50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time.”

Anyone who could pull off the grandfatherly role in 1973’s Walking Tall — in which lawman Joe Don Baker deals out small town Tennessee justice in vividly violent fashion — deserves some sort of geniality award. Noah Jr.’s favorite role was in the 1948 Howard Hawks western, Red River, starring John Wayne.

Noah Jr. died in 1994.  He was 81.  His son, Buckland Beery, became an actor.

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