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The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.


Wardell 'Ward' Bond

1903 - 1960


Ward Bond often played characters of Irish nationality such as his great portrayal of Father Lonergan in THE QUIET MAN. Some list his birthplace as Denver, Colorado, but Bond was really born in Benkelman, Nebraska. He played football at the University of Southern California (and John Wayne was also on the team, but at that time, his name was Marion Morrison).

Bond, Wayne and the entire Southern Cal team were hired to appear in SALUTE (1929), a football yarn starring George O'Brien and directed by John Ford. It was during this football movie that Bond and Wayne became friendly with filmmaker Ford ... and both actors would appear in many of Ford's later films. Bond also became one of Wayne's closest friends (and drinking companions).

There were many memorable roles for Bond: he was a bus driver in the Clark Gable/Claudette Colbert IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT; he was "Bert" the policeman in the Jimmy Stewart IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE; was one of the hard-boiled detectives harassing Humphrey Bogart in THE MALTESE FALCON; and he was the fly fishing Catholic priest in John Ford's THE QUIET MAN which starred John Wayne. One of my favorite Bond roles is his portrayal of boxing champion "John L. Sullivan" to Errol Flynn's "James J. Corbett" in the Warner Bros. production, GENTLEMAN JIM.

The so-called "John Ford Stock Company" included Bond, Harry Carey, Jr., Ben Johnson, Victor McLaglen, and others. Some of the Ford directed films in which Bond appeared include DRUMS ALONG THE MOHAWK (1939), THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940), TOBACCO ROAD (1941), THEY WERE EXPENDABLE (1945), FORT APACHE (1948), 3 GODFATHERS (1948), WAGON MASTER (1950), THE SEARCHERS (1956), more.

Bond's best remembered roles are the later John Ford films ... along with his three year run starring as "Major Seth Adams" on TV's WAGON TRAIN. WAGON TRAIN was among the top rated TV shows when Bond passed away of a heart attack on November 5, 1960 in a Dallas, Texas hotel while on a visit to attend a football game. The obituary mentioned Bond's wife Mary Lou May, and a previous wife, Doris Sellers Childs. No children were mentioned in the obituary --- I'm wondering whether Bond had any offspring.

However, between SALUTE and the John Ford movies, Ward Bond sharpened his acting talents as a supporting player in a variety of B features at various production companies and studios. During the 1930s, he was a member of the stable of sagebrush heavies at Columbia and Universal where he antagonized cowboy heroes Tim McCoy, Buck Jones and Ken Maynard.

You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). There you will find a record for: Ward Bond, born April 9, 1903 and passed away November, 1960.

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Ward Bond: http://us.imdb.com/name/nm0000955/

Candace Rich's Fifties website has a page on the WAGON TRAIN TV series and her page on Ward Bond is at: http://www.fiftiesweb.com/wt/ward-bond.htm

The Benkelman, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce website includes info on their Ward Bond Memorial Park and Dundy County museum which has some Ward Bond memorabilia: http://www.bwtelcom.net/dcccd/city.html

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website notes that Bond was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=2332

Jerry Murbach's Doctor Macro website has several images of Bond (and others) in John Ford's FORT APACHE: http://www.doctormacro.com/movie%20star%20pages/Bond,%20Ward-Annex.htm




(From Old Corral image collection)

Above from left to right are Tim McCoy, Geneva Mitchell and Ward Bond from FIGHTING SHADOWS (Columbia, 1935), one of the films in McCoy's last season at Columbia.



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Buck Jones sneaking up on Ward Bond (left) and Bob Kortman (right) in a re-release lobby card from Buck's THE CRIMSON TRAIL (Universal, 1935).



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above - Ward Bond versus Ken Maynard in a lobby card from WESTERN COURAGE (Columbia, 1935), one of the eight oaters that Maynard did for producer Larry Darmour which were released by Columbia.


(From Old Corral image collection)

Above, WAGON TRAIN TV show stars Robert Horton and Ward Bond (with Bond as wagon train boss "Seth Adams").



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