Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ward Bond

One of my favorite members of movie director John Ford's "stock company" was Ward Bond. He was a good friend of John Ford and John Wayne both on and off the screen. They loved to play cards and get drunk together on John Ford's sailing boat. Ward Bond is best remembered as the wagon master of the 1950's/1960's TV series "Wagon Train." The following is from Wikipedia:

Bond attended the University of Southern California and played football alongside John Wayne, who would become a lifelong friend and colleague. Bond was a starting lineman on USC's first national championship team in 1928. Wayne and Bond, along with several other football players, were recruited to play football players in a film about the United States Naval Academy.

Bond made his screen debut in 1929 in John Ford's Salute, and thereafter played over 200 roles. He was frequently typecast as a friendly policemen or as a brutal thug. He had a long-time working relationship with directors John Ford and Frank Capra, performing in such films as The Searchers, Drums Along the Mohawk, The Quiet Man, and Fort Apache for Ford, with whom he made 25 films, and It Happened One Night and It's a Wonderful Life for Capra. Among his other prominent films were Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Sergeant York (1941), They Were Expendable (1945), and Rio Bravo 1959). He later starred in the popular NBC western television series Wagon Train from 1957 until his death. Wagon Train was based on the 1950 movie Wagon Master, in which Bond also appeared.

The wide-shouldered 6`2" Bond appears in more of the films on both the original and the tenth anniversary edition of the American Film Institute's 100 Years... 100 Movies lists than any other actor: It Happened One Night (1934), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940) , The Maltese Falcon (1941), It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and The Searchers (1956).

Bond has also been in 11 films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, which is more than any other actor:[2] Arrowsmith (1931/32), Lady for a Day (1933), It Happened One Night (1934), You Can't Take It with You (1938), Gone with the Wind (1939), The Grapes of Wrath (1940), The Maltese Falcon (1941), Sergeant York (1941), It's a Wonderful Life (1946), The Quiet Man (1952) and Mister Roberts (1955).

According to

Ward Bond died on November 5, 1960 of a heart attack. His wife Maisie was with him at the time of his death. Legendary director John Ford, accompanied by Harry Carey, Jr. and Ken Curtis (Ford's son-in-law and later, Festus on Gunsmoke) left the filming of Two Rode Together and flew to Dallas, Texas to escort both Bonds back to Los Angeles.

Funeral services were held at the Field Photo Home, run by Ford. Curtis sang "And He Was There" and Carey sang "The Mormon Hymn." John Wayne gave a brief eulogy.

Director John Ford loved to make fun of Ward Bond and would often film him from behind showing his ample rear. When watching old movies, it always brings a smile to my face when Ward Bond appears in one of his many character roles.My favorite is his role as the "The Reverend"/Texas Ranger in "The Searchers." I love the following dialog between Wayne and Bond

REVEREND CLAYTON (BOND):"Well, the prodigal brother. When did you get back? Ain't seen you since the surrender. Come to think of it, I didn't see you at the surrender."
ETHAN (WAYNE): "I don't believe in surrenders. Nope, I've still got my saber, Reverend. Didn't beat it into no plowshare, neither."

ETHAN(WAYNE: "Figure a man's only good for one oath at a time; I took mine to the Confederate States of America."