Will Geer - Rotten Tomatoes

Will Geer

Highest Rated:   100% Salt of the Earth (1954)
Lowest Rated:   20% Bandolero (1968)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Not Available
Though perhaps best remembered for portraying the wise and crusty Grandpa Zeb Walton on the long-running The Waltons (1972-1978), character actor Will Geer had been a staple in films and television for many years before that. He had also been a Broadway regular since his theatrical debut in The Merry Wives of Windsor (1928). Born William Auge Ghere in Frankfort, IN, his interest in acting began in high school. Geer studied botany at the University of Chicago and earned a master's in botany at Columbia. During his college days, Geer also appeared in student theater. Always a bit of a rebel with a genuine love of people and the land, Geer hooked up with folksingers Woody Guthrie and Burl Ives during the Depression to travel about and perform, mostly at government work camps. Even late in life, Geer described himself as a folklorist. Actress Helen Hayes wryly described him once as "the world's oldest hippie." He got his professional start with Eva Le Gallienne's National Repertory Company. During the '30s and '40s, Geer appeared often on Broadway. Beginning with The Misleading Lady in 1932, he began playing small occasional roles in films. By the late '40s, he had become a character actor in such films as Intruder in the Dust (1949). He often appeared in Westerns like Comanche Territory and Broken Arrow (1950). In 1951, after appearing in four films that year, Geer was blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee for refusing to answer their questions. Still, Geer managed to appear in at least one film, Salt of the Earth, a defiant, incendiary documentary look at a worker's strike led by the wives of abused salt miners in New Mexico that featured a production staff largely comprised of blackballed Hollywood artists. Other than that, Geer returned to Broadway until 1962 when Otto Preminger cast him as a Senate minority leader in Advise and Consent. During the '60s, the 6'2", 230-pound Geer was frequently cast in villainous roles. He often appeared on television throughout the decade in shows ranging from Gunsmoke to Hawaii 5-0 as well as playing a regular role on the short-lived series The Young Rebels (1970-1971). He was a key member of The Waltons from the pilot special through his death when the series was on summer hiatus in 1978. His was among the show's most popular characters and he is said to have patterned Zebulon Walton after producer/creator Earl Hamner's book character, himself, and his own grandfather, a successful sourdough during the California goldrush who sported a mustache and white hair similar to Geer's own. It was his grandfather who taught the actor to love nature and to study botany. In addition to his work on the popular family series, Geer also continued a busy feature-film and television-movie career. His last film appearance was in the highly regarded made-for-TV biography of Harriet Tubman, A Woman Called Moses (1978). His daughter, Ellen Geer, is also an actor.

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT BOX OFFICE YEAR
46% Why Did I Get Married?
  • ADR Cast Member
$55.2M 2007
No Score Yet Unknown Powers
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Clay Classics: Rip Van Winkle
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet Mysterious Miracles: World Beyond Death
  • Actor
2005
No Score Yet A Woman Called Moses
  • Garrett
1978
No Score Yet My Sister, My Love
  • Zom
1978
No Score Yet Rip Van Winkle
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet The Waltons: A Christmas Carol
  • Actor
1978
No Score Yet The Billion Dollar Hobo
  • Choo-Choo Trayne
1978
No Score Yet Moving Violation
  • Rockfield
1977
No Score Yet Bunco
  • Actor
1977
No Score Yet The Blue Bird
  • Grandfather
1976
No Score Yet The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery
  • Dr. Simpson
1975
No Score Yet Hurricane
  • Actor
1974
No Score Yet The Hanged Man
  • Nameless
1974
50% Executive Action
  • Ferguson
1973
No Score Yet Savage
  • Joel Ryker
1973
No Score Yet Columbo
  • Heideman
1973
No Score Yet Silence
  • Crazy Jack
1973
No Score Yet The Waltons
  • Zeb `Grandpa' Walton
1973
No Score Yet Napoleon and Samantha
  • Grandpa
1972
No Score Yet The Rowdyman
  • Stan
1972
95% Jeremiah Johnson
  • Bear Claw
1972
No Score Yet Scarecrow
  • Actor
1972
No Score Yet The Waltons The Children's Carol
  • Actor
1972
No Score Yet Dear, Dead Delilah
  • Roy Jurroe
1972
No Score Yet Brother John
  • Doc Thomas
1971
No Score Yet The Brotherhood of the Bell
  • Mike Patterson
1970
No Score Yet The Moonshine War
  • Sheriff Baylor
1970
No Score Yet The Reivers
  • Boss
1969
20% Bandolero
  • Pop Chaney
1968
80% The President's Analyst
  • Dr. Lee Evans
1967
91% In Cold Blood
  • Prosecuting Attorney
1967
90% Seconds
  • Boss
1966
No Score Yet Black like Me
  • Actor
1964
82% Advise and Consent
  • Senate Minority Leader
1962
100% Salt of the Earth
  • Sheriff
1954
No Score Yet The Tall Target
  • Homer Crowley
1951
No Score Yet Bright Victory
  • Mr. Nevins
1951
No Score Yet Double Crossbones
  • Tom Botts
1951
No Score Yet To Please a Lady
  • Jack Mackay
1950
No Score Yet Convicted
  • Convict Mapes
1950
89% Broken Arrow
  • Ben Slade
1950
100% Winchester '73
  • Wyatt Earp
1950
No Score Yet Comanche Territory
  • Seeger
1950
100% Intruder in the Dust
  • Sheriff Hampton
1949
No Score Yet Lust for Gold
  • Deputy Ray Covin
1949
No Score Yet Johnny Allegro
  • Schultzy
1949
No Score Yet Deep Waters
  • Nick Driver
1948
No Score Yet Becky Sharp
  • Actor
1935
No Score Yet The Mystery of Edwin Drood
  • Villager
1935

Quotes from Will Geer's Characters