04 May 1893
United States of America
17 August 1974|
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California,
United States of America
(lung cancer, age 81)
Burly American character actor, often seen as a motorcycle cop.|
The following biography notes were made by Robert Winslow for the website:
Perpetual motorcycle cop Edgar Dearing was a California native. He came from a large family: records show he had 2 brothers, Charles and Lester, and 4 sisters. I could find no evidence that Edgar was ever a police officer, whether city or state. On March 16, 1911 he enlisted in the army at Fort McDowell, California. He listed his age as 18, though in fact he would’ve been 17. His previous occupation was “cement worker.” He was 5’8” tall and his physical characteristics were listed as blue eyes, dark hair, and fair complexion. In later documents, Dearing listed himself as a veteran, though it’s unclear if he saw any service during WWI.
The 1920 census has “Herman Dearing” living in Kern County, California, which was (and is) mainly rural. Edgar is one of several boarders in the home of Robert and Walter Myers. Edgar is a truck driver for an oil company and is single.
In 1930, Edgar (listed as Herman) and his wife Nelvina are living at 2907 12th Avenue, Los Angeles. This is about 2 miles east of the Hal Roach Studio. Edgar is 36 and his wife slightly older at 38. The Dearings are renting this home for $50 a month. Edgar’s occupation is “actor – mot[ion] pict[ure] studios” and he’s currently employed. The Dearings have been married around 10 years; the form states that Edgar was 27 and his wife 29 when they married, so this event occurred about 1920, but after the census dated in February. It isn’t clear how Edgar in 1920 met Nelvina, who was from Iowa. At some time between 1930 and 1937 Edgar and Nelvina divorced. Nelvina married Norman Horne in 1937, and after Norman’s passing in 1949, she married a third time (after 18 years of widowhood) in 1967 – oddly enough, to Edgar’s older brother Charles. Although she’d reassumed her maiden name (Hyink), she became Nelvina Dearing again after her third marriage. She passed away at the age of 94 in December 1985.
Dearing married Lila S. Mayre in Los Angeles on Sunday, August 8, 1937. He was 44 and she 30. They would remain married until Edgar’s death 37 years later. Edgar seems to have enjoyed traveling. A manifest dated April 12, 1932 lists him as one of two passengers aboard a flight from Agua Caliente, Mexico (near Tijuana) to San Diego, CA. Edgar is then living at “3072 Maning Los Angeles,” probably an error for 3072 Manning Avenue.
In 1940, the census records the Dearings at 7773 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles. Edgar is listed as “Herman” and his occupation as “actor – stage-screen” though he hasn’t had any employment in the last 13 weeks or roughly since the beginning of the year. However, Edgar made upwards of $5000 the previous year, a substantial amount in the late Depression. Edgar completed 8 years of school (wife Lila completed high school), and as the Dearings are renting their home for $50 a month, they’re probably not too badly off. A large apartment building now occupies the site of the home the Dearings rented, but judging from the other surviving houses from the period, theirs was probably a good-sized dwelling.
A 1942 Los Angeles City Directory has Edgar and Lila at 8764 Burton Way. Edgar’s occupation is “actor.”
Real name: Herman Edgar Dearing
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography;
plus all films with Laurel & Hardy.