Click for large image
Ward Bond was born in Benkelman, Nebraska in 1903. His family moved to Denver when he was a teen, and he went to college at USC. There this big burly man became a football player, and he became best friends with fellow teammate John Wayne (the two would go to bars, get drunk, and get into fights!). When Wayne started playing bit parts in movies in 1929, so did Bond. Wayne got his big break in The Big Trail in 1930, but Bond continued mostly playing bit parts for years before getting more significant roles. In 1929, John Ford spotted Bond, and gave him a speaking role in Salute in 1929, and he kept casting him in many of his movies, a total of 26 in all, perhaps the most any one actor made with a single director. Bond appeared in around 270 movies over a 30 year period, one of the most of any actor. At his peak, he made 10 to 20 films every year, and he was in 30 movies in 1935 alone! He took any part that was offered him, continuing to take tiny bit parts after he had played some major roles. Some of his best roles were in Wagon Master, The Quiet Man, The Searchers, The Maltese Falcon, Johnny Guitar, It's a Wonderful Life, and Rio Bravo. He appeared in 11 of the movies that were nominated for Best Picture, and in 7 of the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies. Bond had epilepsy, which kept him out of military service, but that was never revealed until after his death. He was extremely right wing politically, as were Wayne and Ford, and he actively campaigned against Communists in movies in the 1950s, earning him the hatred of liberals. In 1957, he finally achieved stardom, but it was as the lead in the TV show Wagon Train, which ran for four years. While he was still starring on the show, Bond had a massive heart attack and passed away in 1960, at 57. John Wayne gave the eulogy at his funeral.
view gallery of sold items featuring Ward Bond