Rex Bell

Rex Bell (born George Francis Beldam; October 16, 1903 – July 4, 1962) was an American actor and politician. He was a Western movie star married to actress Clara Bow, and the 21st Lieutenant Governor of Nevada.

Rex Bell
RexBell2.jpg
21st Lieutenant Governor of Nevada
In office
1955–1962
GovernorCharles H. Russell
Grant Sawyer
Preceded byClifford A. Jones
Succeeded byMaude Frazier
Personal details
Born
George Francis Beldam

(1903-10-16)October 16, 1903
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
DiedJuly 4, 1962(1962-07-04) (aged 58)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
(m. 1931)
Children2
ProfessionActor, politician

Film careerEdit

Bell made his film debut in Wild West Romance in 1928,[1] and went on to act in a number of films, mostly Westerns, in which he had the lead role. He left the movie industry in 1936, although he had generally small roles in a few later films.

In 1931,[2] Bell and his wife, actress Clara Bow, founded the Walking Box Ranch,[3] at Searchlight, Nevada.[4]

His final film appearance was a brief cameo as a cowboy in John Huston's film The Misfits (1961), which was shot on location in Nevada. He appeared in the film with actress Marilyn Monroe, who died a month after Bell in the summer of 1962.

Political careerEdit

In 1944, Bell ran for the United States House of Representatives on the Republican ticket against Democrat Berkeley Bunker. The Nevada State Journal commented on November 1: "He has made friends where ever he appeared, but consensus is that the time is too short to overcome a handicap of not being so well known as his opponent".[5] The election was held November 7, and Bell got 19,096 votes while Bunker received 36,648.[6]

Bell was the leader of the Nevada Republican Party and in 1948 was an alternate to the Republican National Convention. He was also active in the Nevada Chamber of Commerce and Boy Scouts.[7]

The ties Bell forged during those years helped him win the Lieutenant Governor's office in 1954. That year, Charles H. Russell, the incumbent Republican governor, also won. In 1958, Democrat Grant Sawyer unseated Russell, but Bell won re-election as Lieutenant Governor (Bell and his Nevada state political position are mentioned in John D. MacDonald's 1960 novel The Only Girl in the Game). He died in office of a heart attack in 1962.

Other activitiesEdit

TelevisionEdit

Bell was host of the program Cowboys and Injuns in 1950. It began on a station in Los Angeles[1] and went on to be broadcast on ABC. The show focused on legends that were derived from folklore of cowboys and Native Americans in the United States.[8]

BusinessEdit

Bell operated Rexco, Incorporated, which manufactured and distributed novelty gift items. He and his brother also had two clothing stores in Nevada.[1]

Personal lifeEdit

Bell was born in Chicago on October 16, 1903, and married actress Clara Bow in 1931.[3] They had two sons, Tony Beldam (1934–2011), who changed his name to Rex Anthony Bell Jr., and George Beldam Jr. (born 1938).[9][10] Rex Bell Jr. appeared in two Western films—Stage to Thunder Rock (1964), in the role of "Shotgun Rex", and Young Fury (1965), and later served as district attorney of Clark County from 1987 to 1995.[11]

The Rex Bell Elementary School in Las Vegas was named in honor of Bell.[12]

FilmographyEdit

 
Bell in Too Much Beef, 1936
Year Title Role Notes
1928 Wild West Romance Phil O'Malley
1928 The Cowboy Kid Jim Barrett
1928 Girl-Shy Cowboy Joe Benson
1928 Taking a Chance Joe Courtney
1929 Joy Street Eddie
1929 Pleasure Crazed Peters (chauffeur)
1929 Salute Cadet Uncredited
1929 Happy Days Rex Bell
1929 They Had to See Paris Clark McCurdy
1930 Harmony at Home Dick Grant
1930 Courage Lynn Willard
1930 True to the Navy Eddie
1930 Lightnin' Larry - Betty's Husband
1931 Battling with Buffalo Bill Dave Archer Serial
1931 Forgotten Women Jimmy Burke
1931 Law of the Sea Cole Andrews
1932 The Arm of the Law Robin Dale
1932 Broadway to Cheyenne Breezy Kildare
1932 The Man From Arizona Kent Rogers
1932 Lucky Larrigan Craig Larrigan - posing as Tex aka Lucky
1932 Crashin' Broadway Tad Wallace
1933 Diamond Trail Speed Morgan - posing as Frisco Eddie
1933 Fighting Texans Randy Graves
1933 The Fugitive Joe Kean
1933 Rainbow Ranch Ed Randall
1933 Hollywood on Parade No. A-8 Himself Short
1934 The Tonto Kid Skeets Slawson aka The Tonto Kid
1934 Gunfire Jerry Dunbar
1935 Fighting Pioneers Lieutenant Bentley
1935 Border Vengeance Announced Rodeo Guest Star Uncredited
1935 Saddle Aces Steve Brandt
1936 Too Much Beef Johnny Argyle alias Tucson Smith
1936 West of Nevada Jim Carden, posing as Jim Lloyd
1936 Men of the Plains Jim Dean - aka Tom Porter
1936 The Idaho Kid Todd Hollister aka Idaho
1936 Law and Lead Jimmy Sawyer
1936 Stormy Trails Tom Storm
1942 Tombstone, the Town Too Tough to Die Virgil Earp
1942 Dawn on the Great Divide Jack Carson
1952 Lone Star Minor Role Uncredited
1952 Sky Full of Moon Himself Uncredited
1961 The Misfits Old Cowboy Uncredited, (final film role)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Rex Bell: Nevada's Goodwill Ambassador". Films of the Golden Age (91): 58–59. Winter 2017–2018.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  2. ^ Kalil, J.M. (2000-12-20). "WALKING BOX RANCH: Sale brings less than third of asking price". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  3. ^ a b Kalil, J.M. (2000-11-19). "Ranch sells for $650,000". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-19.
  4. ^ Reid, Harry (2007-11-05). Searchlight: The Camp That Didn't Fail. University of Nevada Press. p. 103. ISBN 0874177537.
  5. ^ Nevada State Journal, November 1, 1944
  6. ^ Nevada State Journal, November 18, 1944
  7. ^ Nevada Day Grand Marshals
  8. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 216. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  9. ^ B-Westerns
  10. ^ Hall, Mordaunt. "Movies". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-11. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  11. ^ "Rex Bell Jr., former Clark County district attorney, dies at 76". Las Vegas Review-Journal. July 9, 2011. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  12. ^ Rex Bell Elementary School

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Clifford A. Jones
Lieutenant Governor of Nevada
1955 – 1962
Succeeded by
Maude Frazier