||William Auge Geer
was born in Frankfort, Indiana, on March 9, 1902. He was
probably best known for his Emmy award winning role of The
Grandfather, Zebulon Walton, in the series The Waltons. The role
of Zeb in The Homecoming was played by Edgar Bergen.
Geer's debut as an actor was
in 1928, when he appeared on stage in The Merry Wives of
Windsor. Perhaps many of the more well known plays he appeared
in were Shakespearean plays such as Hamlet, Macbeth, Twelfth
Night and Anthony and Cleopatra. Other classic plays included
The School for Scandal and The Wild Duck.
During the 1960's and 70's,
Geer appeared in many television series of the times, including
Bonanza, Hawaii Five-O, Medical Center, Columbo and Bewitched.
He also went on to appear in a number of television movies such
as Memory of Us, The Hanged Man and The Billion Dollar Hobo. He
also appeared in several movies such as the remake of The
Bluebird. His last film appearance was in a made for TV
biography of Harriet Tubman, A Woman Called Moses, made in 1978.
Sadly, on April 22nd 1978,
the beloved Grandpa of the Walton children, and one of America's
best loved actors, died just before the filming for the next
season of The Waltons was due to begin. It has been nice to see
that his memory was still incorporated into the scripts of The
Waltons, and he was, and still is, often referred to by the
Walton family members, in just the same way as a loved
grandparent might be in any family. His photo is still around
the Waltons set, and we often see flashbacks as family members
recall specific incidents.
Today, the ashes of Will Geer
rest in his beloved Theatricum Botanicum. The theatre company at
the gardens now produce 4 plays each season, and is under the
care of his family. His daughter, Ellen, herself an actress who
appeared several times on The Waltons, remains very involved
with the theatre company, and works very hard to help to keep
Will's dreams and memory alive.