Oscar Henning

born: 21 August 1897
died: 29 August 1955
Seattle, Washington,
United States of America
(coronary thrombosis, age 58)

Swedish swimmer, diver and one-time actor who appeared among the casts of Harold Lloyd's first three two-reelers in 1919 before briefly becoming manager and promoter for Olympic swimmer and surfing pioneer Duke Kahanamoku in 1922. According to one report: "Henning gained fame in the 1912 Olympic games at Stockholm by winning, as a representative of Sweden, the first heat of the 400 meters breast stroke and then taking second to [Walter] Bathe of Germany in the final. It was at these events at Stockholm that Duke Kahanamoku and Henning first met." Apparently, Henning was publicly taking on the identity of the real second-place Swedish representative, Thor Henning (1894-1967); I have found references to Oscar being a swimmer and diver, but nothing on being an Olympic champion or even competitor, even under his real name. During this time (early 1920s), Oscar would add anywhere from 12 to 17 years to his real age -- perhaps to increase the plausibility of his apparent participation in the 1912 Olympics (in reality, when they were held that summer, Oscar wouldn't have even been 15 years old) -- and claim San Francisco, California, USA as his birth place.
In later life, Henning also worked as a physical director (1922 nat. record) and mining company president (1930 Census, 1931 nat. record), then moved from Los Angeles to Seattle and became the owner of a hotel and a newspaper (1940 Census, WWII draft card) as well as a psychologist (death cert.).
There is a reference to his birth as being 1895, not 1897 which would make him 17 or so in the 1912 Olympics. In the 1930 Census he gives his age as 34, the same as his wife. They both say they were age 19 when married in Aug 1914 in Norway so this would put his birth about 1895.

His real name was Hellstrom. "Oscar H. Henning" was his alias.
Real name: Oskar Verner Hellstrom
Height: 5'11"
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.


Bumping Into Broadway

Captain Kidd's Kids

From Hand To Mouth

Acknowledgements & sources:
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KXTV-V32 (WWI draft reg. card)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHQD-JF2 (1920 Census)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KX42-F9S (1921 pass. list)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVR9-N5BH (1922 pass. list)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KX4L-WYV (1922 pass. list)
https://www.fold3.com/document/7052138/ (1922 declaration of intention)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XC8R-ZV9 (1930 Census)
https://www.fold3.com/document/7165274/ (1931 declaration of intention)
https://www.fold3.com/document/9424618/ (1931 declaration of intention)
https://www.fold3.com/document/9424620/ (1934 petition for nat.)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K936-Y5R (1940 Census)
Oscar Werner Hellstrom, "U.S., Naturalization Records, 1840-1957" (Ancestry.com)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KX3L-5F1 (CA Nat. Index)
https://www.fold3.com/document/649152320/ (WWII draft reg. card)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:N3BY-75T (death certificate)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:J5ZK-Y65 (Social Security Death Index)
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/151681404 (Find a Grave)
https://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=LAH19200629.2.127 (Los Angeles Evening Herald, 29 Jun 1920)
https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025138/1922-01-17/ed-1/seq-12/ (Morning Oregonian, 17 Jan 1922)
https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83025138/1922-01-23/ed-1/seq-10/ (Morning Oregonian, 23 Jan 1922)
https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/lccn/sn83045782/1922-02-05/ed-1/seq-22/ (Sunday Oregonian, 05 Feb 1922)
https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1922-04-23/ed-1/seq-80/ (Sunday Star [Washington, D.C.], 23 Apr 1922)
https://newspaperarchive.com/biloxi-daily-herald-feb-28-1925-p-3/ (Biloxi Daily Herald, 28 Feb 1925)
https://nupepa-hawaii.com/2014/12/16/swim-to-be-held-at-punahou-1922/ (Nupepa)
https://books.google.com/books?id=3SdICgAAQBAJ&q=henning ('Waterman: The Life and Times of Duke Kahanamoku,' by David Davis)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QGL7-21TM (son William Werner Hellstrom's birth, 1926)
https://www.fold3.com/image/9424620 (1934 Pet for Citizenship CA Art Dealer)
https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=SwedenParishBirths&indiv=try&h=152835669 (1920 Sweden Indexed Birth Records 1859-1947 Ancestry.com)
Jesse Brisson (research and information)
Jim Jarvis (research and information)

This page was last updated on: 22 April 2019