Bob Minford

born: 27 March 1895
Lincoln, Nebraska,
United States of America
died: 21 September 1959
Sacramento County, California,
United States of America
(age 64)

American actor who appeared regularly, usually as a background extra in many films for Hal Roach during the late 1920s-early 1930s. For years his face was known and recognised to fans but he was unidentified and credited on this website simply as "Mystery Man". That was, until March 2021 when ANM's top research veteran Jesse Brisson did a bit of digging and figured out his true identity:

(Jesse writes:) A big help in figuring this one out was the cast list for ANOTHER FINE MESS. There are two cops along with Harry Bernard. There is the one referred to as "Kelly," and there is another who joins them towards the end. In addition to Bernard, there are two other actors listed as playing cops: Bill Knight and Bob "Mimford." I did some research on both a while back. I'm pretty darn positive "Kelly" is Bill Knight, based on a couple of photos I found in trade magazines (he later became head of the makeup department at Columbia Pictures). In searching for "Mimford" a long time ago, I found his name was actually Minford. Found dates, statistics, as much as I could, but no visual reference.
But then, when I watched ANOTHER FINE MESS not long ago, I noticed the third cop was our ubiquitous "Mystery Man." So a thought came to my head: could this Bob Minford fellow be the "Mystery Man?" However, I have kept this thought to myself for a while because I never had anything concrete...
...until now. Recently, I got a lucky break via a 1951 Los Angeles news story. First, I'll give a rundown of what happened in said news (this can be appended to his bio):

In the early hours of January 26, 1951, 55-year old transient laborer and ex-convict Robert J. Minford (of 220 West Broadway, Glendale, CA) sat at the bar of a tavern at 5556 Santa Monica Blvd. for ten minutes before announcing a stickup to bartender Donald P. Kelly, going behind the bar to demand money while trying to cover the house of twenty customers. Tavern owner Hal Berger, seated in a booth, ran behind the bar having failed to see Minford's pistol. Minford fired his gun at Berger -- but luckily the gun, a six-shooter filled with five bullets, fell on that one empty chamber. With this lucky split-second opportunity, Kelly proceeded to knock down Minford (then his gun went off, but at the ceiling), and he and Berger proceeded to severely beat their would-be robber. Per a newspaper account, Minford "was so badly mauled by the time police arrived to take him over that he had to be taken to Hollywood receiving hospital for treatment before he was booked," and that he "was so badly pummeled in the battle with his intended victims that officers had to lead him into the station after he had received first aid."
Included with one of the articles was a rather brutal photo of a battered Minford (discretion advised)... Even with that bruised face and those swollen eyes, there's no mistaking that ear shape, that sharp nose...
He was a World War I veteran and was married at least four times. Will Stanton and his wife Rosa were witnesses at Bob's 1929 marriage (his third) to Frances (Dore) Van Sickle. Sadly, Frances died less than five years later (heart problems), leaving Bob a widower.
Real name: Robert James Minford
Height: 5'10"
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.

23
(2)


1927
The Battle Of The Century
Stan's cornerman

1928
Dumb Daddies
Pedestrian

1928
You're Darn Tootin'
Kicking victim

1928
Their Purple Moment
Waiter

1930
Ladrones 
Police officer

1930
The Head Guy
Messenger

1930
Blotto
Phone booth gawker

1930
The Big Kick
Bus driver

1930
La Estacion De Gasolina 
Bus driver

1930
Fast Work
Office worker

1930
Dollar Dizzy
One of Quimby's associates

1930
Another Fine Mess
Policeman

1931
Thundering Tenors
Waiter

1931
Chickens Come Home
Doorman

1931
The Pip From Pittsburg
Dancer

1931
Bargain Day
Policeman

1931
Let's Do Things
Nightclub patron

1931
Pardon Us
Prison cafeteria server

1931
The Panic Is On
Tobacco vendor

1931
One Good Turn
Auction passerby

1932
Too Many Women
Wedding guest who throws shoe

1932
County Hospital
Hospital orderly

1932
Hot Spot
Bystander

1934
I'll Be Suing You
Bystander

Acknowledgements:
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MQMC-K6L (1900 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MK47-QFT (1910 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KNQF-3XL (1916 marriage)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:29JN-G1Z (WWI draft reg. card)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPTF-TDWQ (1919 divorce)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8ZT-K13 (1921 marriage)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:H9Z4-7CW2 (1921 marriage)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K8NT-ZSC (1929 marriage)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XCVW-CYB (1930 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K86T-PYJ (1944 marriage)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPKN-MGS (CA Death Index)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:W9WH-FPZM (U.S. Veterans Adm. Master Index)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:CL3R-C5T2 (burial card index)
https://www.fold3.com/document/319232132/ (headstone app.)
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/136649234 (Find a Grave)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/689565943/ (Daily News [Los Angeles, CA] 26 Jan 1951)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/693418152/ (Mirror News [Los Angeles, CA] 26 Jan 1951)
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/683944049/ (Los Angeles Evening Citizen News 26 Jan 1951)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QP7V-XWYC (wife Frances [Dore] Minford's death certificate 1934)
1923 L.A. City Dir.: Minford Robt J br mgr Little Lake Creamery Co h924 W 10th
1924 L.A. City Dir.: Minford Robt J cashr Harold L Arnold r947 Francisco
1925 L.A. City Dir.: Minford Robt J h947 Francisco
1926 L.A. City Dir.: Minford Robt J clk r433 S Coronado
1930 L.A. City Dir.: Minford Robt actor r433 S Coronado
1935 L.A. City Dir.: Minford Robt h5126 W Washn blvd
1937 L.A. City Dir.: Mimford [sic] Robt waiter r5640 Sta Monica blvd
https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/111736092:2442?tid=&pid=&queryId=0a635dc2794b3d9204726bd41033ccc2&_phsrc=KHs5&_phstart=successSource
(1940 C SLC UT Prison R. J. MINFORD)
Jesse Brisson (research, bio notes and extensive research with identification)
Jim Jarvis (assistance)

This page was last updated on: 16 March 2021