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How Each Little Rascals Cast Member Died (Our Gang)

The Little Rascals is a huge name in the Television industry. Long before the 2004 reboot, the show was running in the 1920s. The original cast of the show appeared on the series titled “Our Gang” and ran until the mid 1940s. The original little rascals found their way into the film industry at ages ranging from about 1 to 5 years old. Many of the stars outgrew the series due to their age; eventually opting to live somewhat normal lives outside of fame. Now that the show is coming up on it’s 100 year anniversary, many of the stars have passed away. Let’s take a look at how each of the Little Rascals members passed away!

Norman “Chubby” Chaney

Norman Chaney was born in Maryland in 1914. This loveable goofball was one of many actors who would go on to play “Chubby” in “Our Gang”. When the previous character who played Chubby was getting too old for the role, producers of the show sent out a nationwide casting call to try and fill the role. Norman Chaney won the role and a two year contract. The 3’11 and 113LB young boy was an instant star. Sadly, Norman continued to gain weight and his boyish looks faded within the two years he was on the show. When Norman finished his contract with Our Gang, he never got the chance to act again. Norman was treated for an undiagnosed glandular disorder when he passed at the age of only 21 years old to myocarditis; the inflammation of heart tissues.

Matthew “Stymie” Beard:

Matthew Beard, better known as “Stymie” in Our Gang was an amazing child actor. The boy started his acting career when he was around 5 years old. Though he played some small roles here and there as a young child, his career began to take off when he was cast as Stymie in the short films of Our Gang. Matthew signed a 5 year contract with the show and proved himself to be a massive success. The young star was known for wearing an oversized hat throughout the series. Sadly at the age of 16, Matthew retired himself from acting. Growing up in Los Angeles, Matthew had a tough home life and was surrounded by negative influences. Matthew became addicted to drugs at a young age and continued to struggle for most of his life. When Matthew was in his 40s, he successfully quit using drugs and began to live the rest of his life. Matthew starred in the family sitcom “Good Times” almost 40 years after his time on “Our Gang”. In 1981, Matthew suffered a stroke at the age of 56 and died in the hospital several days later due to complications from pneumonia.

Scotty Beckett:

Scotty Beckett was known for his role in the Little Rascals as “Spanky”. Scotty starred in the show from 1934 to 1935. Though his time on Our Gang was up, his career in acting was just getting started. Scotty would continue to appear in several big named Hollywood films at the time. He was a great actor but never seemed to secure a leading role that would take him to the next level. While all of his peers were having extreme success, Scotty’s career began to decline. Sadly, Hollywood life got a hold on the young star and led him to a lifetime of substance abuse. After his career in acting was over, Scotty was arrested several times on multiple charges of possession of drugs and drunk and disorderly. When he was just 38 years old, the star checked himself into a medical care facility to treat wounds he obtained from a brutal beating. Two days after arriving at the facility, Scotty was found dead in his room. Not much is known about the incidents surrounding his death but it is assumed that he overdosed to some extent.

Billy “Froggy” Laughlin:

Billy Laughlin, better known as “Froggy” from little rascals was a great child actor.  Billy was known for his larger than life glasses and his raspy unique voice. Though Billy wasn’t always the focus of the show, he served as a great member of the cast who could invoke laughter when it was needed. Sadly, Billy was the member of the cast who passed away first. Billy ended his acting career when he was 12 years old. Four years later at the age of 16, Billy was riding on the back of his friend’s scooter when they were hit by a truck. Billy’s friend survived the incident, and Billy did not. When news of his death reached the media, fans everywhere were deeply upset by the news. Billy was a loveable face during his time on the Little Rascals and tragically lost his life at such a young age.

Tommy “Butch” Bond:

Tommy Bond was known as “The Bully” throughout the “Our Gang” and “The little rascals” series. Tommy was approached by a director when he was just five years old. With the perfect face for acting, Tommy took the role as the alpha on the series. Eventually Tommy outgrew his infamous role and moved on with his career. Though he was no longer interested in acting, Tommy tried his hand at directing and producing television. Tommy excelled in the business industry and worked on many famous movie and television sets. Making a lifelong career out of the industry, Tommy retired in 1991. Sadly, Tommy died at the age of 79 years old due to complications of heart disease.

Carl “Alfalfa” Swizer:

The “Our Gang” comedy series featured a number of amazing young actors. One actor who stood out from the crowd was Carl Swizer. Carl played “Alfalfa” the young boy with a freckled face that was known for his incredible singing voice. Carl and his cast mates pushed boundaries with the show that for the first time featured black and white children playing together. Saldy, Carl never went far in the film industry. When he was just 31, Carl was shot and killed in an altercation regarding money. Not many details of the incident are known, but Carl was yet another child star who tragically lost his life far too soon.

Bobby “Wheezer” Hutchins:

Known as “Wheezer”, Bobby Hutchins was a small town boy who was discovered by an acting agency. He got the nickname when he ran around the set so much that he developed a cough. Wheezer played a young brother in much of the series and was known as the shy boy. Whezer was always anxious about meeting new people and going on new adventures. After his time on the show, Bobby moved back to his home town and began to work in the military. After several years of rising through the ranks, Bobby unfortunately passed away during an aircraft collision.

Dorothy DeBorba:

During her time on the “Our Gang” series, Dorothy played a spunky young girl with brown curly hair. She became known for her funny role while she partook in all kinds of mischief with the other boys on the show. Similar to her castmates, Dorothy outgrew her role on the show and had to move on. Dorthy went on to live a peaceful life as a mother and wife. She passed away at the age of 85 due to complications with emphysema.

Darla Hood:

Darla Hood found fame at the age of just three years old. Growing up, Darla’s mother placed her in dance classes. After Darla proved herself to be a great performer, her dance teacher conceived her mother to take her to New York city to dance. During a performance at a hotel, a casting director found Dorthy. A year later, she was invited to star in little rascals. After her time in the show, Darla enjoyed a life of extreme success as a singer, dancer, and performer. Darla faced a harrowing end when she suffered a surprise heart attack. When she went to the hospital for a simple appendectomy, the blood they used for infusion was contaminated with hepatitis.

Jackie Cooper:

Jackie Cooper recently passed away at the age of 88. Unlike some of his cast mates, he died peacefully with his family by his side. Jackie was well known for capturing the hearts of america with his role in The Little Rascals. Once Jackie reached adolescence, he faced struggles as an aging actor. Jackie survived his awkward phase and moved on to become one of the most highly thought of executives and directors.

Jean Darling:

Jean Darling, another child star featured in the “Our Gang” silent series. After her time on the child television show, Darling grew up to be a seasoned actress. Jean took many lucrative film roles in her career. Eventually, acting helped secure Jean a place on broadway where she starred in many musicals. Over the span of her career with Broadway, she tallied up  850 consecutive performances. In her older age, she took the role of a TV series host. In 2015, Darling passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 93.

Allen “Farina” Hoskins:

At just one year old, Allen was already acting with “Our Gang” child actors. Allen starred on the show for 9 years until he was aged out of the production. After the little rascals series was behind Hoskins, he continued to act. Allen was drafted for the army in 1940 during World War II. In 1980, Hoskins was admitted to a nearby hospital in Oakland, California. Allen Hoskins fell into a coma after suffering from complications with cancer.

Mary Ann Jackson:

Mary Ann Jackson played the sweet younger sister on the show and was known for her wits. Until she was about 10 years old she stayed on the series. Following her acting career, Mary Ann opted for a more normal life. The child actress went to school and began to work for a california department store. After working a modest job and raising a family for 30 years, Mary Ann died of a heart attack in her Los Angeles home in 2003.

Gordon “Porky” Lee:

Anyone who has watched the LIttle Rascals series knows the nickname “Porky”. Gordon Lee played the chubby child star and was featured in over 40 episodes of the show. When Gordon was just 2 years old, his mother sent the production studio a photo of the chubby baby. Like many others on the show, Gordon moved on from child acting and lived a normal life outside of the fame. Gordon eventually became a school teacher in Colorado. In his older age, Gordon retired from teaching to spend time with his children and grandchildren. Porky passed away in 2005 after a long battle with brain and lung cancer.

George “Spanky” MacFarland:

George MacFarland became an actor when he was just three years old. From the moment George stepped on stage, he was an instant hit with the directors of the show. A network favorite; Spanky enjoyed his time on the show and captured the hearts of viewers everywhere. George retired from film when he was 16 years old to pursue a normal life. MacFarland worked in sales for upwards of 30 years before finally owning his own barbecue restaurant in Oklahoma City. Sadly, George died of a heart attack when he was just 64 years old. George passed away in 1993 and was survived by his wife, many children, and his mother.

Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas:

Billie Thomas, better known as “Buckwheat” from The Little Rascals series, passed away in 1980 when he was just 49 years old. Starting in acting at just 3 years old, Billie was a star. Buckwheat was commonly featured on the show with his friend “Spanky”: played by George MacFarland. Ten years after the actor’s death, his name popped up in the news for a surprising reason. The ABC investigation show “20/20” did a feature episode on Billie “Buckwheat” Thomas. An imposter of “Buckwheat’ was discovered working in a grocery store in Tempe, Arizona. Without doing any background research, 20/20 aired an episode that featured the imposter. Billie’s family was rightfully angry with the TV show and their lack of investigation and research skills.

Last surviving member, Robert Blake:

Robert Blake is currently the only surviving member who appeared on the little rascal’s series. Unlike the majority of his child co-stars, Blake continued his acting career into adulthood. Blake starred in a number of famous films such as ‘The Bridal Suite” and ‘Annabella” when he was between 6 and 10 years old. In his early 20s, Blake moved into more serious films and his name as an actor began to gain traction. In 1950, Blake was drafted into the army and served for 2 years. By the time he came back from war, Blake was a fully grown man and actor. Until recently, Robert Blake made many appearances in film and Television. In 2000, Robert Blake made some decisions that would change the outcome of his life. Blake started dating Bonnie Lee Blakely, a known con-artist and scammer. The couple had a child together, but the patentinty was questioned by Bonnie. After a blood test, the father of the child was indeed Robert Blake. The relationship soon became untrusting and weary. In 2001, Bonnie Bakely was murdered in Robert Blake’s car. After investigation, all of the evidence led to Robert Blake. It turned out that Robert had paid someone to spy on Bonnie and eventually hired hit men to kill his lover. Blake is still in prison to this day. It turns out Robert Blake was much more than a little rascal.

The Little Rascals series has been an influential timepiece in the American Television industry. Originally airing back all the way in the 1920s, the show featured many child actors who then found their way into film, directing, and production. Surprisingly, many of the child stars opted to leave television and have normal lives in adulthood. Now that the show has been around for almost 100 years, many of the original actors and actresses have passed away. Though stars of the show like “Porky” and “Spanky” are no longer with us, their performances as child stars still live in the hearts and minds of fans everywhere. Do you think the Little Rascals were overrated, or did the show set the stage for the next 100 years of entertainment? If you enjoyed this video, be sure to give it a like down below! Subscribe to FactsVerse to stay up to date with your favorite childhood stars!

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