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Whatever happened to my favorite character actor, Noah Beery of "The Rockford Files"? - R.L.Y., Marshall, Texas.

Stats: Born Aug. 10, 1915, in New York, N.Y., as Noah Beery Jr. Attended military schools and North Hollywood High School. Married twice (his first wife, Maxine, was the daughter of cowboy star Buck Jones), three grown children.Early years: Beery is the son of actor Noah Beery, nephew of actor Wallace Beery. He made his movie debut at 5 in the silent "The Mark of Zorro" with his father. As an adult, he made over 100 features in supporting roles. He's been quoted: "I established an image long ago as the brother of the girl or the friend of the leading man. If you want to keep busy, don't be a Romeo." His first TV series was "Circus Boy," 1956-58, followed by "Riverboat," 1960-61; "Hondo," 1967; and "Doc Elliot," 1974.

Famous for: He was Jim Rockford's dad, Joseph "Rocky" Rockford in "The Rockford Files," 1974-80.

In recent years: "The Quest," 1982, and "The Yellow Rose," 1983-84, were his most recent series. Beery lives on his ranch north of Los Angeles. He is a collector of western art, including the largest private collection by Charles Russell.

- Send questions to Whatever happened to . . ., Detroit Free Press, 321 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit, MI 48226. Volume of mail prohibits personal replies.