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The 'brains' and 'action' heavies who had meaty roles and lots of dialog ... and the players who were fathers, ranch owners, lawman, mayors, judges, lawyers, storekeepers, newspaper editors, wardens, etc.


In Search of Bob/Robert Terry

Real name: Robert T. Hodges

1908 - 1988

Am looking for an Old Corral visitor who lives near Venice, California. Would be great if you could take a trip to the Venice library and check newspapers from late May to early June, 1988 for an obituary on Robert T. Hodges. Please shoot an e-mail to the Old Corral webmeister if you can do.




Robert/Bob Terry is a mystery. In a very brief Hollywood career that ran from 1935-1940, he freelanced in about forty films - there were four serials and most of the remainder were westerns.

Over half of those forty are oaters with six cowboy heroes: Terry did six with Tim McCoy; six with Tex Ritter; three with Buck Jones; three with Ken Maynard; a pair with Jack Randall; and five of the James Newill Renfrew of the Royal Mounted adventures. And there was one each with Tom Tyler, Bob Steele, Jack Luden and Rex Bell. In many of these, he portrayed a gang member. He seemed to get a bit more dialog and screen time than the typical henchie.

In his early film jobs - if credited - he was either Bob Hodges or Robert Hodges. For example, he's billed as "Bob Hodges" and plays Rex Bell's brother "Billy Storm" in STORMY TRAILS (Colony, 1936). A year or so later, he essayed another brother role - now billing himself as "Bob Terry" - in the Tom Tyler BROTHERS OF THE WEST (Victory, 1937).

Scuttlebutt was that he and hoofer/stuntman/actor Dave O'Brien were friends. That seems to be a reasonable assumption as nearly half of Terry's films include O'Brien in the cast. And in the 1940 census, the Hodges and Mr. and Mrs. David Barclay (Dave O'Brien and actress wife Dorothy Short) were living a block or two from each other in Los Angeles.

Circa 1940, he disappears from films.

Finding very little on an actor named Robert/Bob Terry, I shifted my searches to Bob/Robert Hodges ... and got some positive results:

Robert T. Hodges was born November 14, 1908 in Richmond, New York. According to 1936 and 1938 voter registrations, he's an actor living in Los Angeles. In the 1940 census, his wife Helen is a secretary in the movie industry and Hodges is now a car salesman. Throughout the 1940s, he goes through more job changes - he becomes Supervisor-Cal Ship, then a mill operator, then into building materials. 79 year old Rober T. Hodges passed away on May 28, 1988 and his last residence was Venice, California. However, there is no record in the California Death Records database - indicating a possible error or more likely, he died outside of California.

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Bob Terry: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0855953/

As mentioned - was there a friendship between Dave O'Brien and Bob Terry? The IMDb has them together in 16 films during the years 1937-1940: http://www.imdb.com/search/title?at=0&roles=nm0855953,nm0639495&sort=release_date_us

  Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on a Robert Terry (Robert N. Terry/Robert Northrup Terry) - not to be confused with our Robert/Bob Terry/Robert T. Hodges: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0856069/




(Image courtesy of Les Adams)

Above from left to right are Tim McCoy, Bob Terry, Dave O'Brien and bartender George Morrell in a crop from a lobby card from TEXAS WILDCATS (Victory, 1939) with McCoy as "Lightnin' Bill Carson". A no-good father and son, played by Forrest Taylor and Bob Terry, are out to get heroine Joan Barclay's ranch. Good guy Dave O'Brien portrays Joan Barclay's brother.



Robert T. Hodges
We do know that our Bob/Robert Terry guy was Robert/Bob Hodges in his initial film roles.

The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), and the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) have information on Hodges. Note the move of the family - they lived in New York (1910 census); in Philadelphia (1920 census); and wind up in Los Angeles in the early 1930s.

There's two common threads in the following info - a November 14, 1908 birth date in New York (highlighted below in this color), and parents named Walter M. and Helen B. Hodges (highlighted below in this color).

Also pay attention to the changing occupations of Robert T. Hodges in the census, voter registrations and city directories - from actor to car salesman to Supervisor-Cal Ship to mill operator to building materials, etc.

  • 1908 birth: Ancestry had a birth index (not a birth certificate) for Robert T. Hodges, born November 14, 1908 in Richmond, New York (and Richmond, New York matches the 1910 census below).
  • 1910 census - 40 year old Walter M. Hodges (born Virginia), his 28 year old wife Helen B. (born Indiana), 5 year old son Walter F. (born New York) and 1 year old son Robt T. (born New York) are living in Richmond, New York: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M5SV-QBM
    Ancestry had the 1910 census takers worksheet: Father Walter's occupation is "Salesman - Candle Mfg.". And Robert T. is shown as 1 3/12 years of age (meaning 15 months).
  • 1920 census - 50 year old Walter M. Hodges (born Virginia), his 37 year old wife Helen B. (born Ohio), and 11 year old son Robert T. (born New York) are living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MFYB-R7R
    Ancestry had the 1920 census takers worksheet: the Hodges family owns their home at 816 Sixtieth Street, Philadelphia. Father Walter is "Salesman - Chinaware".
  • 1932 Los Angeles voter registration: Helen B. Hodges, Walter M. Hodges and Robert T. Hodges live at 564 Lillian Way, Los Angeles.
  • 1934 Los Angeles voter registration: Walter M. Hodges and Robert T. Hodges live at 564 Lillian Way, Los Angeles.
  • 1936 Los Angeles voter registration: Helen B. Hodges (occupation housewife), Walter M. Hodges (occupation sales manager) and Robert T. Hodges (occupation actor) live at 536 North Arden Boulevard, Los Angeles.
  • 1938 Los Angeles voter registration: Robert T. Hodges (occupation actor) lives at 536 N. Arden Boulevard, Los Angeles.
  • 1940 census: 29 year old Robert T. Hodges (born New York) and 27 year old wife Helen (born California) live in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9C2-MFL
    1940 census takers worksheet - Robert and Helen Hodges are renting at 8266 Kirkwood Drive, Los Angeles, and they lived in the LA area in 1935. Robert completed one year of college; Helen two years of college. His occupation is "Salesman - Retail Auto Agency", and in 1939, he worked 52 weeks and earned $1450.00. Helen is "Secty - Ind. Motion Pictures", and in 1939, she worked 43 weeks and earned $1075.00: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-27798-4906-58?cc=2000219
    (When viewing this worksheet, scroll down and you'll find David and Dorothy Barclay living at 8230 Mannix. This is Dave O'Brien and wife/actress Dorothy Short.)
  • 1940 census for Robert T. Hodges' mother and father - 71 year old Walter M. Hodges (born Virginia) and his 53 year old wife Helen B. (born Ohio) are living in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9CD-G2D
    Walter and Helen B. own their home at 1944 Canyon ???, Los Angeles. Walter is still working at age 71 - he's a "Sales Manager - Candle Mfg.", and in 1939, he worked 52 weeks and earned $2800.00: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27797-2779-67?cc=2000219
  • 1942 Los Angeles voter registration: Robert T. Hodges (occupation salesman) and Helen R. Hodges (occupation housewife) reside at 8266 Kirkwood Drive, Los Angeles.
  • 1944 Los Angeles voter registration: Robert T. Hodges (occupation supervisor Cal Ship) and Helen Hodges (occupation housewife) live at 212 Strand, Los Angeles.
  • 1946 Los Angeles voter registration: Helen Hodges and Robert T. Hodges live at 212 Strand, Los Angeles.
  • 1947 Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County, California City Directory: Hodges Robt T (Helen R) mill opr h213 Beach dr
  • 1948 and 1950 Los Angeles County voter registration: Helen R. Hodges and Robert T. Hodges live at 235 25th Street, Los Angeles.
  • 1952 Redondo Beach, Los Angeles County, California City Directory: Hodges Robt T (Helen R) bldg materials h235 25th Herm Bch
  • 1952 and 1954 Los Angeles County voter registration: Helen B. Hodges, Helen R. Hodges and Robert T. Hodges live at 235 25th Street, Los Angeles.
  • You may want to go to the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral and then to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). There you will find a record for: Robert T. Hodges, born November 14, 1908, and he passed away on May 28, 1988; he was 79 years old and last residence was Venice, Los Angeles County, California.
    No luck in finding him in the California Death Records database which indicates he died outside of California.
    And there was no obituary or funeral notice in ProQuest obituaries or the Newspaper Archive.
I did connect with Dave Hodges, the owner of a Hodges family tree on Ancestry.com. He provided a bit more info:

Robert T. Hodges ... "was my grandfather's (Walter F.) brother. At one time I had a black and white pic of him shooting a scene (meaning a movie still). From what I can remember he had three sons and one was named David Franklin Hodges. Ancesters go back to Franklin Co., VA."
Speculation: Robert T. Hodges may have had a middle name/nickname of "Terry", "Terrance", or similar. And he dropped the "Hodges" early on in his brief career and became Robert/Bob Terry.


Robert Terry/Robert N. Terry/Robert Northrup Terry
There is another Robert Terry, actor, that turns up in the 1940 census and Burbank, California city directory. And he has a different Social Security number than the Robert T. Hodges above.

The Family Search website (free), Ancestry.com (subscription), and the California Death Records database have information on this Robert Terry:

  • 1910 census - living in Chicago, Illinois are 33 year old John B. Terry (born New York), his 28 year old wife Josephine N. (born Ohio), 3 year old son John C. (born Illinois), newborn son Roger N. (born Illinois) and 63 year old mother-in-law Elizabeth Northrup (born Germany). (Appears the "Roger N." entry was an error by the census taker - see the 1920 census below): https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MKC4-VH5
  • 1920 census - living in Chicago, Illinois are 42 year old John Terry (born New York), his 36 year old wife Josephine (born Ohio), 10 year old son Robert Terry (born Illinois), another son, one daughter, and several boarders: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MJ7N-T6N
  • 1940 census: 30 year old Robert Terry (born New York) and his 24 year old wife Margaret (born Missouri) reside in Los Angeles: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K9CD-XF5
    1940 census takers worksheet - Robert and Margaret Terry are among several families renting at an apartment/multi-unit building at 2477 Cheremore(?) Drive, Los Angeles. Robert lived in the LA area in 1935. His occupation is "Actor Motion Picture Production", and in 1939, he worked 30 weeks and earned $1400.00. Wife Margaret lived in Kansas City, Missouri in 1935, and has no occupation listed: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-27797-2738-52?cc=2000219
    (Residing in a different unit at the same address is 69 year old widow Bertha Terry (born Poland), and she lived in New York in 1935. Is this the mother of Robert Terry?)
  • Ancestry had the 1942 Burbank, California city directory with Margaret and Robert N. Terry (occupation actor) living at 713 Catalina, Burbank, California.
  • The California Death Records database has a record for: Robert Northrup Terry, born November 8, 1909 in Illinois, mother's maiden name of Northrup, and he passed away on March 5, 1980 in the Santa Clara, California area. The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) has a record for: 70 year old Robert Terry, born November 8, 1909, passed away March, 1980, and his last residence was San Jose, Santa Clara County, California.


There's an announcement in the July 3, 1944 issue of Broadcasting magazine which is available at the Internet Archive:

"ROBERT TERRY, former freelance actor and announcer in Hollywood, has joined the announcing staff of KXOK St. Louis."

This can't be Robert T. Hodges, as voter registrations have him in California during the 1930s - 1950s.




(From Old Corral image collection)

In the above lobby card and crop/blowup from LIGHTNING STRIKES WEST (Colony, 1940), Charlie King has the drop on Ken Maynard. Dick Dickinson is on the far left and Bob Terry (light colored shirt) and Reed Howes (mustache) are between Maynard and King. LIGHTNING was the last of four mediocre oaters that Maynard did for Colony Pictures. In this one, Bob Terry is on the side of the law, helping out U. S. Marshal Maynard.



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