Many oldies will still remember one of the most memorable performers in the early years of television in the United States, Wally Cox and his endearing personality. He was famous for eliciting laughter from audiences with little or no effort. Although his diminutive stature, slight frame, and high-pitched voice limited his ability to participate in entertaining events, these limiting traits made him an ideal choice for comic book roles. He is well remembered for his unforgettable portrayal of Professor P. Caspar Biddle in one of the episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies Known as “The Bird-Watchers,” which aired in 1966.
Until his death, the veteran comedian appeared on the set of many projects popular among his television credits Mr. Peepers – a US television series that lasted from 1952 to 1955. Wally’s television personality was that of a shy, silent man – always in horn-rimmed glasses, whose voice can best be described as clearly articulated and tentative. But in real life he was a military veteran and quite athletic. Wally Cox was also a voice actor, his voice behind the animated canine superhero Underdog on the television show of the same name. Before his death, he published a children’s novel called The Tenth Life of Osiris Oakes.
Wally’s date of birth was December 6, 1924. He was born Wallace Maynard Cox in Detroit, Michigan and was raised by his mother, Eleanor Blake, who made a living as a mystery writer. At the age of 10 he moved to Evanston, Illinois with his mother and younger sister. There he met his lifelong friend Marlon Brando. Wally’s family was always on the move, so his education was completed in several locations across the United States.
It was when his family returned to Detroit, Chicago and New York that young Wally Cox attended Denby High School, where he completed his high school education in 1942. He attended City College of New York when his family returned to New York during World War II. He worked in the US Army for four months and transferred to New York University after his discharge from the military.
Wally Cox cared for his sister and ailing mother, with the proceeds making jewelry in a small shop and also at parties and events where he began to establish himself in comedy monologues. Beginning in December 1984, he landed regular jobs as a performer at nightclubs such as the Village Vanguard. His lifelong friend Marlon Brando advised him to study acting with Stella Adler when Marlon started living with him as a roommate.
Wally Cox had a record of three marriages and two divorces. His first marriage was to Marilyn Gennaro on June 7, 1954, but their marriage ended in divorce in 1961. However, it didn’t end until they had a couple of kids. His second wife, Milagros Tirado, came into the picture in a marriage ceremony that took place on October 25, 1963, but their divorce came barely three years later on August 16, 1966. He married his last wife, Patricia Tiernan, in 1967 and they were together until his death in 1973.
Was Wally Cox gay?
Wally Cox has never been gay, a man who went through three marriages to the opposite sex in his lifetime cannot be classified as gay. It seems the gay rumors were sparked by his close bond with Brando, who told a journalist that had he been a woman he would have married Walley and that they would have lived happily ever after. Additionally, writer-editor Beauregard Houston-Montgomery reported that Brando told him that Walley was the love of his life — a statement by Brando while he was high on marijuana. However, this suggestion was rejected by some of Wally’s wives, who dismissed their friendship as platonic.
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Wally Cox died suddenly on February 15, 1973 at his home in Hollywood, California. Autopsy results revealed that the comedian died of a heart attack (coronary artery occlusion). After his death, it was reported that his ashes were to be scattered at sea without burial. Another report surfaced a while later, suggesting that Wally’s ashes were going to be linked to Brandos and Sam Gilmans – another close friend scattered throughout both Tahiti and Death Valley.
Rumor has it that Brando collected Walley’s ashes from his widow and instead of scattering them at sea as he had promised, he actually hid them in his house and talked to them constantly. After Brando’s death, on September 22, 2004, the Los Angeles Times quoted Brando’s son Miko as saying that both his father’s and Wally’s ashes were scattered in Death Valley at the same time.