Will Geer said that he was glad he was blacklisted from Hollywood in the 1950s

Geer was more like Grandpa Walton than you might think.

Warner Brothers

Though he was an actor all his life, as Grandpa Walton of The Waltons, Will Geer achieved a new level of television fame when he was well into his seventies. In addition to being a talented actor, Geer also worked heavily in social activism. These two roles began to butt heads when Geer was blacklisted by Hollywood in the 1950s, and many studios refused to cast him in their films.

Once Geer appeared on The Waltons, he reached mainstream success and his portrayal later won him an Emmy. Still, no one could blame Geer for being bitter toward Hollywood for turning its back on him in the 1950s. But according to an interview with The Miami News, Geer didn't hold any bad blood.

In fact, he actually maintained that he was grateful for being blacklisted for all those years, as it offered him a new opportunity at a breakthrough role like his character on The Waltons. Moreover, he said it also helped benefit his personal life, as well as his family, paralleling the experience of the Walton family.

"It made my kids realize the value of money the same way the Depression taught the Walton kids," he said. "I think pity is the best revenge of all."

In an interview with The Gannett News Service, Geer toasted to the Waltons, explaining that, to him, one of the best parts of the series was that it held onto relatability while refusing to sacrifice quality. 

"None of the stories are dull and it's just like real life," he said. "They [The Walton family] are poor, but good people. But being poor is no crime. I can remember getting along in this town (Hollywood) without a dime."

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5 Comments

KawiVulc 12 days ago
Even worse rot in Hollywood these days.
coffinman 12 days ago
Interesting tidbit for those interested: He was a commie AND gay.

In 1934, Geer met Harry Hay at the Tony Pastor Theatre where Geer was working as an actor. They soon became lovers.[11] He and Hay participated in a milk strike in Los Angeles. Later that year, he and Hay performed in support of the San Francisco General Strike, where they witnessed police firing on strikers, killing two.[12][6][page needed] He was a committed leftist, with Hay later describing him as his political mentor.[6]: 64–65 [13][14] He introduced Hay to Los Angeles' leftist community, and together they took part in activism, joining demonstrations for laborers' rights and the unemployed, and on one occasion handcuffed themselves to lampposts outside UCLA to hand out leaflets for the American League Against War and Fascism.[6]: 64–65  He became a member of the Communist Party of the United States in 1934. After Hay had become increasingly politicized, Geer introduced him to the Party.[6]: 67, 69 [15] In 1934, he and Hay gave support to a labor strike of the port of San Francisco, part of the 1934 West Coast waterfront strike.[4] Geer became a reader of the West Coast Communist newspaper People's World
McGillahooala 13 days ago
I’m glad he was not bitter about his own desire to upend the fabric of society and have someone else pay his bills getting him into trouble. Good on him.
harlow1313 13 days ago
His daughter, Ellen Geer, played Sunshine in my favorite film, "Harold and Maude." She has an absurdly fun part, interacting with Harold's Hari-kari.
musicman37 13 days ago
Will Geer was truly a Rennaisance man. Not only was he blacklisted for his refusal to testify before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities during the 50s, he also worked tirelessly for laborers rights, was a commited leftist who introduced Woody Guthrie to Pete Seeger, and, in addition to marrying and raising children, was the lover of Harry Hay, one of the first Gay Rights activists.
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