Some of the former Little Rascals (or Our Gang) child stars would go on to live pretty normal lives- they lived in normal towns, found normal, everyday jobs, as tradesmen, members of the military, teachers, etc, and died of normal causes like cancer and old age. But those were just the LUCKY ones.
Because SEVERAL of the former cast members would die in some of the most unusual, unexpected, and unfortunate ways; from vehicle accidents, to plane crashes, to suicide and overdoses, and everything in between.
And with HOW many of these strange deaths there were, paired with just how young many of them perished- conspiracists have been left to wonder- IF the lives of the former Little Rascals were CURSED….
Actor William Robert Laughlin was struck from behind by a speeding pickup truck while delivering newspapers on his motor scooter. He was only 16 years old when he died.
On June 13, 1969, the actress Darla Jean Hood died from heart failure immediately following an emergency appendectomy.
The actor Billie Thomas died of a heart attack at just 49-years-old; and ironically, it was on that same exact day that 46 years prior, his mother had taken him to audition for the role in Our Gang at Hal Roach Studios.
Just two days after his 56th birthday, the actor Matthew Beard suffered a stroke which caused him to fall down a flight of stairs. He sustained some head injuries from this fall, but ultimately, just five days after this incident, Beard would pass away from pneumonia.
RICHARD “MICKEY” DANIELS
On August 20, 1970, actor Richard Daniels was found dead and alone in a transient hotel in San Diego from cirrhosis of the liver- caused by his worsening alcoholism. He was 55. Daniels was cremated, and his remains lie unclaimed for twenty-one whole years- before one of his relatives finally put a name to the mysterious John Doe.
One of the most unusual deaths of all of the cast members, actor Carl Dean Switzer was stabbed to death at 31 years old over just fifty dollars; the story is too lengthy to describe here- so check out the episode for all of the details!
Alfalfa’s real-life older brother Harold Switzer, at 42 years old, was the owner and operator of an appliance store; during a visit to one of his customer’s homes, he got into a dispute with them and MURDERED said customer. Immediately after, Switzer drove to a deserted area and took his own life in his car.
PETEY THE DOG
Pal, as he was known off the screen, was the first dog ever to play Pete in the franchise, until he was POISONED and killed in 1930. The assailant was never identified.
The actor Darwood Kaye at 72 years old was on his daily walk around his neighborhood in Riverside, CA when he was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
The actor Bobby Hutchins was training to become a pilot when he died just a few days short of his 20th birthday in a mid-air collision at the Merced Army Air Field in California.
Actor Kendall McComas took his own life at 64 years old after getting word that he would be forced into an early retirement from his job as an electrical engineer at the U.S. Naval Weapons Center in China Lake, California. This was two weeks away from his retirement day.
Actor Norman Chaney underwent an emergency surgery to help with his glandular condition which caused him to exceed 300 pounds. By the next year- he had shrunk down to HALF his original size, causing him to become violently ill. He died from myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) on May 29, 1936 at just 21 years old.
On September 10, 1951- while actor Robert Young was sleeping in a hotel room, he was burned alive in a fire that was thought to have been started by his own lit cigarette.
After a life of suffering from domestic violence, those closest to her stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from her, and even having to give up her own daughter, the actress Dorothy Dandridge was found unresponsive in her LA apartment. A pathology report attributed her death to an accidental overdose of an antidepressant, HOWEVER- this was challenged by the LA County Coroner’s office who determined that Dandridge had actually died of a fat embolism (or when fat globules are released into the bloodstream) resulting from a fracture she had sustained to her foot just five days before her death…
THE DOTY TWINS
Twins Winston and Weston Doty were swept away in their car in a giant flood that hit the LA area on New Year’s Day of 1934.
After a life of drinking, gambling and drug abuse, the actor Scott Beckett wandered into a nursing home seeking treatment after receiving a severe beating from an unknown assailant. Two days later, he was discovered dead in his bed with a bottle of sleeping pill next to him, and the cause of his death was never determined.
The actor Jay Smith at 87 years old had befriended and taken in a homeless man to live with him; unfortunately, this man stabbed Smith to death and abandoned his body in the desert near Las Vegas, NV before pawning his belongings, stealing his car, and using his credit cards.
ROBERT “MICKEY” BLAKE
Don’t let his adorable face fool you- Robert “Mickey” Blake, after an extensive career in Hollywood that lasted decades, was convicted and charged of the murder of his wife Bonnie Lee Bakely in 2001. He ALMOST got away with it though- check out the episode for more on this story.
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