Meet Edwin McKim
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 44
Last month, we took a brief look at Ann’s mom, Anna Lehr. Now it’s her dad’s turn.
Samuel Edwin McKim was born in Pittsburgh in 1869 to a Pennsylvania native and a Scotch-Irish immigrant. He abandoned a successful career in local government after getting bit by the acting bug. He started going by the name Edwin S. McKim and hit the road in various traveling productions. In 1905 he was acting at a theater in Harlem where he encountered a 15-year-old student named Anna Lehr who also had show-business aspirations. Despite their difference in age, the pair were soon married and performed onstage together. Their only child, Anna McKim, was born in 1911.
By 1916, the marriage was going sour and Edwin began working for the Lubin studio in Philadelphia while Lehr made movies in Los Angeles and New York. They were finally divorced around 1921 and this split saw a long-term separation of McKim from his daughter. After a few failed show-business ventures, McKim boomed and busted in the Florida real estate market of the 1920s and then returned to Pennsylvania.
In late 1933, McKim’s brother, Walter, became aware of media reports that actress Ann Dvorak was looking for her long-lost father. McKim confirmed paternity by sending Ann footage of her as a child taken in Cuba when she was on location with her parents for a film. By this time, he was a man of modest means and since he insisted on paying for his own train ticket, Ann was not reunited with her father until August of 1934. She and Leslie Fenton met him at the train station in Pasadena, along with a lot of press photographers.
The reunion seemed to be a successful one, and Ann remained in contact with McKim until his death in 1942.