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July 22, 2009




I've read this article and found it terrific -in the wide sense of the word itself. Deering's life was such a paradox, and I see similarity and parallelism with Jack Hawkins' sad ending.


Thanks, Fabian. It is a bit like Jack Hawkins' story, isn't it? Hawkins was lucky enough to keep getting biggish roles after he lost his voice, though. While writing the piece, I kept thinking of Richard Pryor, and his last role as a mechanic in David Lynch's Lost Highway. Some people think that Lynch exploited Pryor for freakshow appeal, but I think that having him appear in the film strengthens the idea of the lost highway -- the wrong turn that our lives can take that leads to somewhere we never thought we would end up. Once you're on that lost highway, there's no turn-off -- just ask John Deering.


a great story.
for his poor sister how hard it must have been to turn him out in order for him to get better.

i wonder what happened with his first wife, sister, and second wife.


Don't feel too sorry for his sister; she got a good salad-dressing business out of his misfortune...


Another great story. Thanks!


Thanks very much -- nice of you to say so!


how in the heck do you come up with these hidden gem stories?
just fantastic.


I find them in various places, but mostly in old newspapers. Not every extra with an interesting face has an interesting story, however, and much of my time is spent chasing down information on intriguing-looking people who turn out to be either fairly unremarkable or completely untraceable. It can be frustrating, but it's great when you come across a gem!


A fascinating history! Poor Deering...really admirable, the way he persevered, despite everything. I love your blog, by the way--I work in a film archive, and we're always interested in your detective work and the stories you've uncovered.


Thanks, Dorinda. Good to have a film archivist or two checking these things out! (I'm always impressed by the calibre of folks who read this blog -- a (very) small but elite group!)

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