One of the most recognizable of the Saturday matinee sluggers was Bud Geary, one of Republic’s so called “stock players”.
Born Sigsbee Maine Geary in Salt Lake City, UT, on Feb. 15, 1898, Bud apparently made his screen debut in the silent feature “What Would You Do?” (‘20) which starred Charles French and Madlaine Traverse. This was soon followed by “Everyman’s Place” in ‘21 starring Grace Darling. In ‘22, billed as Maine Geary, he was Will Scarlett in Douglas Fairbanks Sr.’s “Robin Hood”. Ruggedly handsome, the young athlete played dashing hero roles in the ‘20s. Western credits during this era include “Smoking Trails” (‘24) w/Bill Patton and “Arizona Romeo” (‘25) with Buck Jones. As sound came in his popularity dropped substantially but he worked continuously in mostly unbilled parts in picture after picture.
He was 6' 1", beefy, and athletic so was cast as a cop, cowboy, sea captain, henchman and gangster. Despite scores of credits, it wasn’t until three serials at Republic in ‘39 that his days as a tough henchman took off and he found a home at Republic on through ‘46. The stuntman/actor slugged it out in 18 serials at the Thrill Factory—from “Daredevils of the Red Circle” through “King of the Forest Rangers” (plus a couple early on at Columbia)—and dozens of westerns opposite 3 Mesquiteers, Gene Autry, Don Barry, Bill Elliott, Bob Livingston, Sunset Carson, “Rocky” Lane and Roy Rogers.
Not being under exclusive contract to Republic allowed Bud to handle assignments at RKO with Tim Holt, Columbia with Charles Starrett and PRC with Bob Steele.
Sadly, for action fans, at only 48, Bud died in a car wreck on a rural highway in San Fernando Feb. 22, 1946, at the height of his career. His final role was as one of the henchmen in Columbia’s “Hop Harrigan” serial (‘46). Investigators found Geary was driving at an excessive speed when the car left the road and overturned. It was the cliffhanger he didn’t walk away from. His final film, “California” with Ray Milland, was released after his death.
Only a handful of stuntmen have gained the recognition of Bud Geary, even though many of his over 200 roles were uncredited. This talented and athletic man richly deserves our praise and admiration.