De Kirby was born in 1915 in Souris, Manitoba, Canada as Haren Ivor De Kirby Lumb. As a child actor, he is known for "Mother Knows Best" (1928). He tells of having a donkey that he took to school one day and how it had to be donated to the San Diego Zoo for rides for children. As a child he and other children (children got in free) "had the run of the zoo." De Kirby became treasurer of the San Diego Zoo. He also became a Board of Directors president of the San Diego Zoo and a San Diego City Councilman as well as deputy mayor later. De Kirby died in 2000. This interview was conducted in De Kirby's home in San Diego for the Oral History Project sponsored by the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Regional History Center at San Diego State University. Edele de Kirby is mentioned during the interview.