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Unkempt, rough and tough looking members of the gang, or lynch mob, or vigilantes, or posse riders, or cow herders. They had minimal or no dialog, not much screen time, and were generally not listed in the film credits. Some would show up as a face in the crowd, portraying townspeople, barflys, deputies, wagon drivers, ranch hands, etc. We tend to recognize some of their faces, but have no clue as to their real names.




John Beach
Full name: John Alden Beach
1903-1953

Appeared in about 40 westerns and 1 serial, all of which occurred from late 1936 through early 1941.


John Beach was a good lookin' guy who may have been groomed for better roles than the typical B western henchie/background player.

His forty or so film appearances occur over a period from late 1936 through early 1941. Most were Republic oaters as well as fifteen of the William Boyd / Hopalong Cassidy adventures. And from Tinseltown tradepapers, we know that Beach was under contract for a year or two to Harry 'Pop' Sherman, the producer of the Hopalong series.

After a handful of 1941 releases, Beach disappears from Hollywood.


  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on John Beach: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0063476

There is a lot of information below on John Beach and his life. In summary, John Beach was born to a socially and politically prominent New York City family. Beach's father married widow Camilla Havemeyer in 1899, and the Havemeyer family was also wealthy and part of the New York elite. In the mid 1930s, Beach is in California and begins his brief film career doing Hopalong Cassidy westerns. During the World War II years, he gets married and works for Lockheed aircraft. Circa early 1950s, he and his wife Constantine live in Greenwich, Connecticut and he's the owner of an equine pharmaceutical company in New York City.

A 1936 article in the Film Daily tradepaper contained THE clue that led to finding John Beach and I've highlighted that article with an

The search for John Beach included records from Family Search (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), ProQuest obituaries, Newspaper Archive, the Internet Archive, and a few other sources.

There's a couple common threads in our search for John Beach:

1) Beach has a connection to Charles F. Havemeyer and the Havemeyer family of Long Island, New York. Beach's father and mother were Frederick Ogden Beach and Camilla Woodward Havemeyer Beach. Camilla's first husband Charles F. Havemeyer committed suicide and she later married Frederick Ogden Beach. That Havemeyer connection is highlighted below in this color.

2) John Beach married in 1944. His wife's name was Constantine, and her maiden name was Johnston (which I've highlighted below in this color).

We'll begin with a few Hollywood tradepaper blurbs on John Beach from 1936, the year in which he began his brief film career:

  • An article on Beach titled "Socialite Goes Cinematic" appeared in the October 29, 1936 issue of Film Daily. Excerpts: "John Beach, New York society figure and brother of Charles F. Havemeyer, internationally known sportsman and yachting enthusiast, yesterday signed a contract to play a role in ... 'Trail Dust', to be produced by Harry Sherman for Paramount." ( Charles F. Havemeyer and John Beach were half-brothers - they had the same mother but different fathers. That tie to the Havemeyer family led to the discovery of more on our western movie actor John Beach.)
  • Excerpt from the November 12, 1936 issue of Film Daily about the latest Hopalong film: "... 'Trail Dust', in which John Beach, former New York society man, will make his film debut."
  • In the December 24, 1936 Film Daily, there's a Season's Greetings and Happy New Year full page ad from Hoppy producer Harry Sherman. The ad notes that Sherman has the following people under personal contract: William Boyd, James Ellison, George Hayes, Stephen Morris (Morris Ankrum), and John Beach.

And now, we'll wade through lots of census, obituaries, newspaper articles, family info, etc:

  • Ancestry had the marriage index (not the license) for the October 19, 1890 marriage of Charles F. Havemeyer to Camilla Woodward at Islip, New York.
  • The California Digital Newspaper Collection website has an article on the May 10, 1898 suicide of Charles F. Havemeyer at his home in Roslyn, Long Island, New York: http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc?a=d&d=SFC18980511.2.32#
  • Ancestry had the marriage index (not the license) for the November 28, 1899 marriage of Frederick O. Beach to Camilla Havemeyer in Manhattan, New York City.
  • John Beach's father was Frederick Ogden Beach and he passed away on December 16, 1918 at his Park Avenue home in New York City. There were obituaries and funeral notices in New York and Boston newspapers. Excerpts:
    "BEACH---Suddenly, on Dec. 16 at 525 Park Av., Frederick Ogden, husband of Camilla W. Beach. Interment at Woodlawn."
    "Mr. Beach married the widow of Charles O. Havemeyer, who died by a bullet wound - self inflicted the coroner's jury found ... Mrs. Havemeyer became Mrs. Beach about two years later."
  • Ancestry had the 1925 New York census. Camilla Beach has two sons living with her at 120 75th East, New York City - 24 year old Fred D. Beach (occupation real estate) and 21 year old John A. Beach (occupation insurance banker).
  • November 24, 1934 newspaper article - excerpt: "NEW YORK, Nov. 24 --- The will of Camilla W. Beach, filed today, bequeathed a quarter share of the ... estate to her son, John Alden Beach, of Santa Cruz, Calif., and also half of the principal of a trust fund ... Three other brothers share the residue."
  • The Family Search website has the 1940 census on John Beach. He is single, 36 years old, born in New York, and completed four years of high school. He's a lodger in the home of Dorothy Scoullar (and her three children) at 2938 Virginia Road in Los Angeles and he resided at that address in 1935. His occupation is "Motion picture actor", and in 1939, he worked 40 weeks and earned $2441.00:
    1940 census: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9C1-D3Q
    1940 census takers worksheet: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27800-1152-35?cc=2000219&wc=MMYH-NSV:288950596
  • The Family Search website has the 1920, 1930 and 1940 census for John Beach's future wife Constantine Johnston.
    1920: 48 year old Albert Johnston, his 45 year old wife Constantine J., their 9 year old daughter Constantine E., and four servants are living in Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCFD-HCT
    1930: 58 year old Albert Johnston, his 55 year old wife Constantine, and their 19 year old daughter Constantine, and six servants are living in Greenwich, Fairfield County, Connecticut: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XMP3-K9G
    1940: renting at 6010 1/2 Franklin Avenue, Los Angeles, California are 30 year old John K. O'Meara (born Pennsylvania) and 27 year old wife Constantine J. (born New York). John's occupation is "Executive Aviation-Passenger Line": https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K9CD-55C
    1940 census takers worksheet: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-27797-2830-60?cc=2000219
  • The Newspaper Archive website had several articles on the November 25, 1941 death of John K. 'Jack' O'Meara. Excerpts: Headline: "GLIDER PILOT JACK O'MEARA DIES IN CRASH." "John K. O'Meara, 32, a former glider champion, was killed yesterday in the crash of a basic trainer monoplane he was testing for the Harlow Aircraft company of Alhambra (California)." "... is survived by his widow, the former Constantine Eugenie Johnston, New York social figure ..."
  • You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the California Death Records database. There you will find a record for: John Kelly Omeara [sic], born June 18, 1908 in Pennsylvana, Mother's maiden name of Kelly, and he passed away November 25, 1941 in the Los Angeles area.
  • August 2, 1944 newspapers carried a marriage announcement. Excerpts: "Mrs. John K. O'Meara, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Wheeler Johnston of Greenwich, Conn. and John Alden Beach, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Frederic Ogden Beach, of New York city, were married Monday ... Lt. Commander Charles F. Havemeyer, U.S.N.R., of Syossett, L. I. was the best man for his half-brother. The couple will live in Los Angeles, where Mr. Beach is with the Lockheed Aircraft corporation, having just returned after two years of foreign service."
  • Ancestry.com had several Los Angeles County voter registrations for John A. and Constantine J. Beach:
    • 1940 and 1942 Los Angeles county voter registrations (which included an occupation designation):
      Beach, John A, 2942 Virginia rd ... actor (next door to his 2938 Virginia Road address in the 1940 census)
    • 1946 Los Angeles county voter registration:
      Beach, Mrs Constantine J, 5260 Angeles Crest
      No listing for John
    • 1948 and 1950 Los Angeles county voter registrations:
      Beach, Mrs Constantine J, 5260 Angeles Crest
      Beach, John A, 5260 Angeles Crest
  • There was an obituary and funeral notice in September 22 and September 24, 1953 editions of the New York Times newspaper. Excerpts:
    "Greenwich, Conn ... John A. Beach ... president of the Equine Pharmaceutical Corporation of 50 East Fifty-second Street, New York, died today at his home. His age was 49. His wife, the former Constantine Johnston, is publisher of The Greenwich Time. In addition to his wife he leaves a daughter, Camilla J. of Greenwich, and a half-brother, Charles F. Havemeyer of Cold Spring Harbor, L. I."
    "BEACH---John Alden, suddenly, at Greenwich, Conn., Sept. 22, 1953, beloved husband of Constantine Johnston Beach, father of Camilla Johnston Beach and brother of Charles F. Havemeyer. Services at ... Woodlawn Cemetery, New York City ..."
  • Lastly, there's a Havemeyer family tree on Ancestry.com, and John Alden Beach has a birth date of November 9, 1903 and he passed away on September 22, 1953 in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has information on John Beach's parents, Frederick and Camilla Beach, who are interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York:
Camilla Woodward Moss Beach (1869-1934): http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=128813146
Frederick Ogden Beach (1856-1918): http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=126722713



(Courtesy of Les Adams)

John Wayne has his dukes on William Royle, and in the background, from L-to-R, are John Beach, Earl Askam and Olin Francis. From the Three Mesquiteers adventure, RED RIVER RANGE (Republic, 1938).



(From Old Corral image collection)

Above is a re-release lobby card from Gene Autry's GOLD MINE IN THE SKY (Republic, 1938). From left to right are Smiley Burnette, Autry, a young George Montgomery (peering over Champion's saddle), and unidentified player with his back to the camera. The moustached guy on the far right is John Beach. Crop/blowup below showing Montgomery (left) and Beach (right).





(Courtesy of Belinda Kirkhuff)

Above is a still from the Don Barry THE TULSA KID (Republic, 1940). From left to right are Matty Roubert, Fred 'Snowflake' Toones, Luana Walters, Ethan Laidlaw, George Douglas, Noah Beery Sr., John Beach and Jack Kirk.



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