The Our Gang series of short comedy films achieved two things that the U.S. movie industry had never attempted before. First of all, the films, which were made from 1922 to 1944, presented kids behaving “normally” instead of like adults. Secondly, they showed black children playing alongside white kids – a big deal at the time.
Because of these factors – and because they were genuinely funny – the Hal Roach-produced Our Gang shorts are still remembered today, some 70-plus years down the line. But what happened to its small cast of tiny actors, who were sometimes known as the Little Rascals?
20. Jean Darling (1922-2015)
Jean Darling was just four years old when she started appearing in the Our Gang series and eventually completed 52 films, six of which were “talkies.” The California girl grew up to be a writer and a journalist – and one happy to chat about her childhood acting days too. Darling even did a Reddit AMA – or Ask Me Anything – session for inquisitive fans in 2014. Sadly, however, she died the following year at the grand old age of 93.
19. Lassie Lou Ahern (1920-2018)
Lassie Lou Ahern’s Our Gang film career was short and sweet. The Los Angeles-born girl began appearing in the movies in 1923 and quit the following year, by which time her sister Peggy had come on board. In fact, Lassie teamed up with her elder sibling for much of her career, appearing on stage with her a decade later as song-and-dance act The Ahern Sisters. Eventually, Lassie became a dance teacher, although she continued to make cameos in TV shows right up until the 1970s. She died at the impressive age of 97.