Sun Times Editor
Most of us “old geezers” remember the original cast of the Little Rascals. Ever wonder what happened to them? Well, here are the true answers:
“Alfalfa” -- Carl Switzer was shot to death at age 31. Switzer was wounded in January of 1958 when someone shot him as he was getting into a car. Then the next year, a fatal shot was delivered in a struggle over $50 with an ex-partner in a big game hunting business.
“Chubby” -- The 300-pound Norman Chaney died at age 18 following an operation for a glandular condition.
“Buckwheat” -- William Thomas died at age 49 of a heart attack. He died in Los Angeles in 1980 after a successful life as a film lab technician in Hollywood.
“Darla Hood” -- The Our Gang leading lady contracted hepatitis and died at age 47 on June 13, 1979.
“Brisbane” -- Kendall McCormas, known as Breezy Brisbane, committed suicide at age 64. According to published reports, he gave up show business to be an electrical engineer at the U.S. Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, California. He committed suicide two weeks before his retirement in 1981.
“Froggy” -- William Robert Laughline was killed in a motor scooter accident at age 16 near Huntington Beach, California in the early 1950’s.
“Mickey Daniels” -- He died of liver disease at 55. His real name was Richard Daniels, Jr. He died alone in a hotel of cirrhosis of the liver on August 20, 1970.
“Stymie” -- Mathew Bear led a life of crime and drugs. He died at age 56. After leaving the Our Gang series as a child, Stymie reportedly acted through high school. He became addicted to drugs, especially heroin, and spent much of his young adult years in and out of jail. In the 1980’s, he got cleaned of drugs and went back into acting and traveling doing drug abuse lectures. He died of pneumonia.
“Scotty Beckett” -- He died at age 38. The last 10 years of his life were filled with unpleasant stories of divorce, violence, drugs and arrests. He checked into a Hollywood nursing home on May 8, 1968, needing medical attention after suffering a serious beating. He died two days later. Although pills and a note were found, no conclusion was made by the coroner as to the exact cause of death. According to the Internet Movie Database, he died of an overdose of barbiturates.
“Wheezer” -- Robert Hutchins was killed in an airplane accident at age 19. According to findagrave.com, he was killed during the last thirty minutes of his basic training at the Merced Army Air Corps field in California when his plane crashed on landing.
“Spanky” -- Spanky was played by George McFarland who went on to become a Forth Worth, Texas businessman before his death of a heart attack in 1993.
“Mickey” -- Robert Blake, who was cleared of charges of killing his wife a few years ago, did appear in some of the later Little Rascals episodes and played Mickey. Some people think that Blake played “Spanky,” but nothing could be further from the truth.
According to crime writer David Lohr, there are some additions to the Our Gang death list:
“Bonedust” -- Robert H. Young (9/15/17 - 9/10/51) died in a hotel fire, which started when he fell asleep smoking in bed.
“Dorothy” -- Dorothy Dandridge (11/09/23 9/08/65) committed suicide after an investment scheme caused her to go bankrupt.
“Slim” -- Harold Switzer (1/16/25 - 4/14/67), like his brother, Harold was also killed following a dispute with another man.
“Waldo” -- Darwood Kaye (9/08/29 - 5/15/2002) was killed by a hit and run driver while walking on the sidewalk.
“Jay R.” -- Jay R. Smith (8/29/15 - 10/05/2002) was stabbed to death and left in the desert by a homeless man he had befriended.
“Butch” -- Thomas Bond died on September 24, 2005 in Los Angeles of complications from heart disease. He was 79.