He was Walter Reed Smith on his birth certificate, but when he decided to pursue acting, the Washington-born hopeful dropped the "Smith" and retained his first and middle name professionally. Bypassing the obvious medical roles that an actor with his hospital-inspired cognomen might have accepted for publicity purposes, Reed became a light leading man in wartime films like Seven Days Leave (1942). Banking on his vague resemblance to comic-book hero Dick Tracy, Reed starred in the 1951 Republic serials Flying Disc Man from Mars and Government Agents vs. Phantom Legion. He was also seen as mine supervisor Bill Corrigan in Superman vs. the Mole Men (1951), a 58-minute B-film which represented George Reeves' first appearance as the Man of Steel. Walter Reed continued as a journeyman "authority" actor until 1970's Tora! Tora! Tora!