Walter Brennan was an American actor. Brennan won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor three times and is tied with Jack Nicholson for the most Academy Award wins for a male actor.
Born in Lynn, Massachusetts less than two miles from his family’s home in Swampscott, to Irish immigrants, he was christened Walter Andrew Brennan. His father was an engineer and inventor. Walter Brennan studied engineering at Rindge Technical High School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
While in school, Brennan became interested in acting, and began to perform in vaudeville. While working as a bank clerk, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as a private with the 101st Field Artillery Regiment in France during World War I. Following the war, he moved to Guatemala and raised pineapples, before settling in Los Angeles. During the 1920s, he became involved in the real estate market, where he made a fortune. Unfortunately, he lost most of his money when the market took a sudden downturn.
Finding himself broke, he began taking extra parts in 1929 and then bit parts in as many films as he could, including The Invisible Man and The Bride of Frankenstein, and also worked as a stunt man. In the 1930s, he began appearing in higher-quality films and received more substantial roles as his talent was recognized. This culminated with his receiving the very first Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Swan Bostrom in the period film Come and Get It. Two years later he portrayed town drunk and accused murderer Muff Potter in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.