The son of an Army officer, Walter Reed was born in
Washington and grew up in Honolulu and Los Angeles, where he attended school
with the children of movie stars. After his parents' divorce, and, during the
darkest days of the Depression, 17-year-old Reed decided to try acting as a
career and made a two-week trip to New York (via hitched rides on railroad
freight cars, amidst hobos and tramps) to look for work on the stage. He worked
in stock and on Broadway and, with an assist from actor Joel McCrea, broke into
pictures in the early 1940s.