|Birthname||Mathew Beard Jr.|
|born on||1 January 1925 at 01:30 (= 01:30 AM )|
|Place||Los Angeles, California, 34n03, 118w15|
|Timezone||PST h8w (is standard time)|
|Astrology data||10°29' 03°34 Asc. 29°09'|
American child actor, most famous for portraying the character of Stymie in the Our Gang short films from 1930 to 1935, aged 5 to 10. The role was so high profile that he adopted the name Stymie Beard, credited with this for some later roles, such as his 1978 appearance in The Buddy Holly Story.
Beard had previously played baby parts in many films before signing a five-year contract to play in Our Gang. In contrast to Farina, the character he replaced, Stymie was a slick-tongued con-artist who was always self-assured, nonchalant, and ready with a sly comment as well as clever ideas to solve the problems he faced. Stymie could also offer sound, commonsense advice that helped resolve the dilemmas of his playmates. The character's trademark was a bald head crowned by an oversize derby hat, a gift to Beard from comedian Stan Laurel, who had also worked under Our Gang creator Hal Roach.
The then five-year-old Beard came to the series a year after the transition from the silent/early talkie era Our Gang. He had the exclusive distinction of being with the gang from "Miss Crabtree" talkies of the early 1930s, through the mid-thirties transitional period, up until the era of the more familiar group of Spanky, Alfalfa, and Buckwheat, who would ultimately replace Stymie in 1935.
Beard's paycheck was used to help support his East Los Angeles family, including thirteen brothers and sisters. Four other members of the Beard family would appear in the Our Gang comedies, including his younger sisters Betty Jane Beard and Carlena Beard, his younger brother Bobbie Beard, and his mother, Johnnie Mae Beard. Beard's younger brother Renee Beard would appear in Hal Roach's Our Gang-derived featurettes of the 1940s, Curley and Who Killed Doc Robbin.
After Beard left the series in 1935 at the age of ten, he went on to score some minor roles in feature films, such as Captain Blood (1935) starring Errol Flynn and Jezebel (1938) with Bette Davis. By the time he was in high school, he had retired from acting.
Falling into drug use and street life, Beard became addicted to heroin. He spent most of his early adult life in and out of jail on drug and theft charges. In the 1960s, he checked himself into Synanon, a drug rehabilitation facility in Los Angeles, and successfully ended his heroin use. Beard travelled around the USA, giving lectures on drug-abuse awareness.
Beard suffered a stroke on 3 January 1981, sustained head injuries from falling down a flight of stairs, and died of pneumonia on 8 January 1981 at age 56 in Los Angeles.
- associate relationship with Albright, Wally (born 3 September 1925). Notes: Co-stars in "Our Gang" films
- associate relationship with Bailey, Sherwood (born 6 August 1923). Notes: Co-stars in "Our Gang" films
- associate relationship with Beard, Betty Jane (born 19 December 1927)
- associate relationship with Bond, Tommy (born 16 September 1926). Notes: Co-stars in "Our Gang" films
- associate relationship with Chaney, Norman (born 18 October 1914). Notes: Co-stars in "Our Gang" films
- associate relationship with DeBorba, Dorothy (born 28 March 1925). Notes: Co-stars in "Our Gang" films
- associate relationship with Jackson, Mary Ann (born 14 January 1923). Notes: Co-stars in "Our Gang" films
- associate relationship with McFarlane, "Spanky" (born 19 June 1942). Notes: Co-stars in "Our Gang" films
- associate relationship with Moore, Dickie (born 12 September 1925). Notes: Co-stars in "Our Gang" films
- associate relationship with Wertz, Harold (born 3 August 1927). Notes: Co-stars in 1932 "Our Gang" films
- sibling relationship with Beard, Carlena (born 19 March 1929). Notes: And co-stars in "Our Gang" films
Sy Scholfield provided birth certificate.
- Traits : Body : Race (African-American)
- Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Pneumonia (Terminal)
- Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Stroke
- Diagnoses : Psychological : Abuse Drugs (Heroin)
- Family : Childhood : Family large
- Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Fourth of fourteen)
- Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Drug business
- Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Prison sentence
- Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Thief/ Financial crime
- Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Pneumonia)
- Vocation : Education : Public speaker (Drug-abuse awareness)
- Vocation : Entertainment : Actor/ Actress (Film)
- Vocation : Entertainment : Child performer (Baby roles, film debut in infancy)
- Vocation : Entertainment : Comedy