Will Geer

Description   [from Freebase]

Will Geer (born William Aughe Ghere; March 9, 1902 – April 22, 1978) was an American actor and social activist. He is best known for his portrayal of Grandpa Zebulon Tyler Walton in the 1970s TV series, The Waltons. Geer was born in Frankfort, Indiana, the son of Katherine (née Aughe), a teacher, and A. Roy Ghere, a postal worker. He was deeply influenced by his grandfather, who taught him the botanical names of the plants in his native state. Geer started out to become a botanist, studying the subject and obtaining a master's degree at the University of Chicago. While at Chicago he also became a member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. He began his acting career touring in tent shows and on river boats. He worked on several left-oriented documentaries, including narrating Sheldon Dick's Men and Dust, about silicosis among miners. Geer was also the lover of gay activist Harry Hay. In 1934, Hay met Geer at the Tony Pastor Theatre, where Geer worked as an actor. They became lovers, and Hay credited Geer as his political mentor.
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