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Walter Baldwin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Walter Baldwin
Walter Baldwin in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers.jpg
Walter Baldwin in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)
Walter Smith Baldwin Jr.

(1889-01-02)January 2, 1889
DiedJanuary 27, 1977 (aged 88)
Years active1936−1971

Walter Smith Baldwin Jr. (January 2, 1889 − January 27, 1977) was an American character actor whose career spanned five decades and 150 film and television roles, and numerous stage performances.

Baldwin was born in Lima, Ohio, into a theatrical family: his father Walter S. Baldwin Sr. and mother Pearl Melville (a sister of Rose Melville) were both actors.[1] He joined his parents' stock company, and in 1915 married fellow actor Geraldine Blair.[2]

He was probably best known for playing the father of the disabled sailor in The Best Years of Our Lives. He was the first actor to portray "Floyd the Barber" on The Andy Griffith Show.

Prior to his first film roles in 1939, Baldwin had appeared in more than a dozen Broadway plays. He played Whit in the first Broadway production of Of Mice and Men, and also appeared in the original Grand Hotel in a small role, as well as serving as the production's stage manager. He originated the role of Bensinger, the prissy Chicago Tribune reporter, in the 1928 Broadway production of The Front Page.

In the 1960s he had small acting roles in television shows such as Petticoat Junction and Green Acres. In 1967 he portrayed a stable owner in “Fandango” (S12E21) on the TV Western Gunsmoke. He continued to act in motion pictures, and one of his last roles was in Rosemary's Baby.

Baldwin was known for playing solid middle class burghers, although sometimes he gave portrayals of eccentric characters. He played a customer seeking a prostitute in The Lost Weekend and the rebellious prison trusty Orvy in Cry of the City. Walter Baldwin was featured in a lot of John Deere Day Movies from 1949 to 1959 where he played the farmer Tom Gordon. In this series of Deere Day movies over a decade he helped to introduce many new pieces of John Deere farm equipment year-by-year. In each yearly movie he would be shown in a Tom Gordon Family Film where he would be buying new John Deere farm equipment or a new green and yellow tractor. A picture of Walter Baldwin playing Tom Gordon can be found on page 108 of Bob Pripp's book John Deere Yesterday & Today

Hal Erickson writes in AllMovie: "With a pinched Midwestern countenance that enabled him to portray taciturn farmers, obsequious grocery store clerks and the occasional sniveling coward, Baldwin was a familiar (if often unbilled) presence in Hollywood films for three decades."[3]

Selected filmography


  • 1930 Census records, retrieved December 3, 2008
  • Draft Card, Walter S. Baldwin Jr., retrieved December 3, 2008


  1. ^ McCormick, Mike (Jan 20, 2013). "Historical Perspective: Metamorphosis of Sis Hopkins curing Gay Nineties". Terre Haute Tribune-Star. Retrieved 2022-09-17.
  2. ^ "Two Favorite Stock Players Stage Romance "For Life"". The Duluth Herald. Duluth, Minnesota. May 22, 1915. p. 19.
  3. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Walter S. Baldwin". AllMovie. Retrieved 2022-09-18.

External links

This page was last edited on 30 January 2023, at 16:21
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