Nathaniel Greene Pendleton (August 9, 1895 – October 12, 1967) was an American Olympic wrestler, film actor, and stage performer. His younger brother, Edmund J. Pendleton (1899-1987), was a well-known music composer and choir master and organist for the American Church in Paris.
Nathaniel Greene Pendleton
August 9, 1895
|Died||October 12, 1967 (aged 72)|
|Alma mater||Columbia University (BA)|
|Spouse(s)||Barbara Evelyn (m.?-1967; his death)|
Juanita Alfonzo (m.?-?)
|Men's freestyle wrestling|
|Representing the United States|
Early life and wrestling careerEdit
Pendleton was born in 1895 in Davenport, Iowa to Adelaide E. and Nathaniel G. Pendleton, who was reportedly a descendant of American Revolutionary general Nathanael Greene. Young "Nat" later studied at Columbia University, where he began his wrestling career and served as captain of the school's team in that sport. He was twice Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) champion in 1914 and 1915. Chosen to compete on the United States wrestling team at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, Pendleton lost only one match during the competition and was awarded a silver medal. Some controversy continues to surround that outcome. Both Pendleton's Olympic coach, George Pinneo, and his teammate, Fred Meyer, insisted that he won his final match and should have been awarded the gold medal. Pinneo later recalled that loss as the "most unpopular of many unsatisfactory decisions," and Meyer stated, "Pendleton was the winner of that contest, no ifs or buts." Returning to the US he became a professional wrestler and teamed up with promoter Jack Curley. Curley was aggressively promoting Pendleton and issued a series of haughty challenges, among them boasting that Pendleton could beat Ed "Strangler" Lewis and any other wrestler on the same night. John Pesek was enlisted to face Pendleton, and in a legitimate contest held on January 25, 1923, Pesek defeated and injured Pendleton. Pendleton then began appearing in Hollywood films in uncredited parts and minor roles by the mid-1920s.
Film and stage careerEdit
Pendleton was cast in at least 94 short films and features, most often being typecast in supporting roles, usually as "befuddled good guys" or as slow-witted thugs, gangsters, and policemen. He appears, for example, in the 1932 comedy Horse Feathers starring the Marx Brothers, performing in that film as one of two college football players who kidnap Harpo and Chico. In the 1936 production The Great Ziegfeld, he portrays the circus strongman Eugen Sandow, a role that brought him the best reviews of his career.
Pendleton appears again as a circus strongman in the Marx Brothers' 1939 feature At the Circus. He can be seen as well in recurring roles in two MGM film series from the 1930s and 1940s. He is Joe Wayman, the ambulance driver, in Dr. Kildare and in its spin-off series Dr. Gillespie. He also portrays New York police lieutenant John Guild in The Thin Man series. The former wrestler's final screen appearances are the 1947 releases Scared to Death with Bela Lugosi and Buck Privates Come Home starring Abbott and Costello.
Although Pendleton's professional career outside the wrestling ring was predominantly devoted to film work, he also performed in some stage productions, including in the Broadway plays Naughty Cinderella in 1925 and The Gray Fox in 1928.
Pendleton is a member of several halls of fame: the Glen Brand Wrestling Hall of Fame in Waterloo, Iowa, the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in Cresco, Iowa, and the Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2015, his biography was published. Written by Mike Chapman, a veteran wrestling author and historian, it is titled Pendleton: The Amazing Story of Columbia’s Wrestling Olympian and Star of Hollywood.
- The Battle of Gettysburg (1913) (unconfirmed)
- The Hoosier Schoolmaster (1924) as Bud Means
- Monsieur Beaucaire (1924) as Barber (uncredited)
- Let's Get Married (1926) as Jimmy
- The Laughing Lady (1929) as James Dugan
- The Big Pond (1930) as Pat O'Day
- La grande mare (1930) as Pat O'Day
- The Last of the Duanes (1930) as Bossamer (uncredited)
- The Sea Wolf (1930) as Smoke
- Seas Beneath (1931) as 'Butch' Wagner (uncredited)
- Fair Warning (1931) as Purvis
- Mr. Lemon of Orange (1931) as Gangster (uncredited)
- The Star Witness (1931) as Big Jack
- The Spirit of Notre Dame (1931) as Assistant Coach
- The Ruling Voice (1931) as Board Member (uncredited)
- Blonde Crazy (1931) as Hank - aka Pete
- The Secret Witness (1931) as Gunner - Bodyguard
- The Star Witness (1931) as Gunner - Bodyguard
- Manhattan Parade (1931) as Lady Godiva's Husband (uncredited)
- The Pottsville Palooka (1931, Short) as Spike Mulligan
- Taxi! (1932) as Truck Driver Bull Martin (uncredited)
- The Beast of the City (1932) as Abe Gorman (uncredited)
- A Fool's Advice (1932) as Kelly - Naughty Boy
- Hell Fire Austin (1932) as Bouncer
- The Big Timer (1932) as Kid Melrose (uncredited)
- Play Girl (1932) as Dance Hall Plumber (scenes deleted)
- Girl Crazy (1932) as Motorcycle Cop (uncredited)
- State's Attorney (1932) as Tiger - the Boxer (uncredited)
- Attorney for the Defense (1932) as Mugg
- The Tenderfoot (1932) as Joe - Jealous Husband (uncredited)
- By Whose Hand? (1932) as Delmar
- Horse Feathers (1932) as Darwin football player MacHardie (uncredited)
- Exposure (1932) as Maniac Killer
- The Night Club Lady (1932) as Mike McDougal
- Deception (1932) as Bucky O'Neill
- The Sign of the Cross (1932) as Strabo
- Flesh (1932) as Wrestler (uncredited)
- Whistling in the Dark (1933) as Joe Salvatore
- Parachute Jumper (1933) as Motorcycle Policeman (uncredited)
- Goldie Gets Along (1933) as Motorcycle Officer Cassidy
- Child of Manhattan (1933) as Spyrene
- The White Sister (1933) as Corporal Cessano (uncredited)
- Infernal Machine (1933) as French Thug (uncredited)
- The Nuisance (1933) as Aloysius P. McCarthy (uncredited)
- Baby Face (1933) as Stolvich - Laborer (uncredited)
- Lady for a Day (1933) as Shakespeare
- Penthouse (1933) as Tony Gazotti
- I'm No Angel (1933) as Harry - Acrobat (uncredited)
- The Chief (1933) as Big Mike, a Henchman
- College Coach (1933) as Ladislaus Petrowski
- Lazy River (1934) as Legs Caffey
- Fugitive Lovers (1934) as Alfred 'Tiny' Smith
- Sing and Like It (1934) as T. Fenny Sylvester
- Manhattan Melodrama (1934) as Spud
- The Thin Man (1934) as Guild
- The Defense Rests (1934) as Rocky
- The Cat's-Paw (1934) as Strozzi
- The Girl from Missouri (1934) as Lifeguard
- Straight Is the Way (1934) as Skippy
- Death on the Diamond (1934) as Harry O'Toole
- The Gay Bride (1934) as William T. 'Shoots' Magiz
- Times Square Lady (1935) as Mack
- Baby Face Harrington (1935) as Rocky
- Reckless (1935) as Blossom
- Murder in the Fleet (1935) as 'Spud' Burke
- Calm Yourself (1935) as Knuckles Benedict
- Here Comes the Band (1935) as 'Piccolo Pete'
- It's in the Air (1935) as Henry Potke
- The Garden Murder Case (1935) as Sergeant Heath
- The Great Ziegfeld (1935) as Sandow
- Trapped by Television (1936) as Rocky O'Neil
- Sworn Enemy (1936) as 'Steamer' Krupp
- The Luckiest Girl in the World (1936) as Dugan
- Two in a Crowd (1936) as Flynn
- Sing Me a Love Song (1936) as Rocky
- Under Cover of Night (1937) as Sergeant Lucks
- Song of the City (1937) as Benvenuto Romandi
- Gangway (1937) as Smiles Hogan
- Life Begins in College (1937) as George Black aka Little Black Cloud
- Swing Your Lady (1938) as Joe Skopapolous
- Arsène Lupin Returns (1938) as Joe Doyle
- Fast Company (1938) as Paul Terison
- The Shopworn Angel (1938) as 'Dice'
- The Chaser (1938) as 'Floppy' Phil
- The Crowd Roars (1938) as 'Pug' Walsh
- Young Dr. Kildare (1938) as Joe Wayman
- Burn 'Em Up O'Connor (1939) as Buddy Buttle
- Calling Dr. Kildare (1939) as Wayman
- It's a Wonderful World (1939) as Sergeant Fred Koretz
- 6,000 Enemies (1939) as 'Socks' Martin
- On Borrowed Time (1939) as Mr. Grimes
- At the Circus (1939) as Goliath the Strongman
- Another Thin Man (1939) as Lieutenant Guild
- The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939) as Joe Wayman
- Northwest Passage (1940) as 'Cap' Huff
- The Ghost Comes Home (1940) as Roscoe
- Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940) as Joe Wayman, Ambulance Driver
- Phantom Raiders (1940) as 'Gunboat' Jacklin
- New Moon (1940) as Bondsman (uncredited)
- The Golden Fleecing (1940) as 'Fatso' Werner
- Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940) as Wayman
- Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940) as Joe Wayman
- Flight Command (1940) as CPO 'Spike' Knowles
- Buck Privates (1941) as Sgt. Michael Collins
- Top Sergeant Mulligan (1941) as Top Sgt. Herman Mulligan
- Jail House Blues (1942) as Sonny McGann
- The Mad Doctor of Market Street (1942) as Red Hogan
- Calling Dr. Gillespie (1942) as Joe Wayman
- Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant (1942) as Joe Weyman
- Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (1943) as Joe Wayman
- Swing Fever (1943) as 'Killer' Kennedy
- Death Valley (1946) as Jim Ward
- Scared to Death (1947) as Bill Raymond
- Buck Privates Come Home (1947) as Sergeant Collins
- Schlitz Playhouse (1951-1959, TV Series) as Otto "Bitsy" Lamb (final appearance)
- "Nat Pendleton". Olympedia. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
- Rainho, Manny (August 2015). "This Month in Movie History". Classic Images (482): 24–26.
- "Nat Pendleton, Movie Character Actor, Dies", Los Angeles Times, October 13, 1967, section II, p. 8. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
- "Nat Pendleton". sports-reference.com. Archived from the original on 2020-04-18. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
- Chapman, Mike. Pendleton: The Amazing Story of Columbia's Wrestling Olympian and Star of Hollywood. p. 30.
- "Pendleton's unparalleled route: Olympics, pros, Hollywood". 25 May 2006.
- "National Wrestling Hall of Fame".
- "Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame".
- "Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame".
- "Mike Chapman's website".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nat Pendleton.|