Whatever happened to Walter Pidgeon? - G.L., New Haven, Conn.

Stats: Born Sept. 23, 1897, in East St. John, New Brunswick, Canada. Educated at University of New Brunswick and New England Conservatory of Music, Boston. Married twice, one daughter.Early years: Pidgeon worked in a Boston bank and studied singing on the side. Fred Astaire heard him sing at a party and helped him get an audition for the stage. Pidgeon made his stage bow in "You Never Can Tell" with Elsie Janis. He had a successful recording career (two hits were "What'll I Do?" and "All Alone") before he made his movie debut in a 1925 silent, "Mannequin." After working at other studios, he signed with MGM in 1937 and stayed 20 years, from "Saratoga" with Jean Harlow to "The Rack" in 1957.

Famous for: He played somber, strong roles in movies like "Man Hunt" and "How Green Was My Valley" and in a series of films with Greer Garson: "Blossoms in the Dust," "Mrs. Miniver," "Madame Curie," "Mrs. Parkington," "Julia Misbehaves" and "Scandal at Scourie."

In recent years: He appeared on Broadway in "The Happiest Millionaire" and made more movies in the '60s and '70s, the last a bit in 1978 in Mae West's "Sextette." He was incapacitated by a series of strokes and died in 1984.

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