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Jean Darling Dies: One of 'Our Gang' Last Members Was 93

Image: Jean Darling Dies: One of 'Our Gang' Last Members Was 93
Jean Darling was one of the last surviving members of "Our Gang." (Getty)

By    |   Tuesday, 08 Sep 2015 07:55 AM

Jean Darling, who acted as a child in dozens of "Our Gang" comedy shorts before turning to Broadway later in her career, has died after a brief illness. She was 93.

Variety said Darling, who was four when she appeared in her first "Our Gang" movie short, was one of the iconic production's last surviving members. She performed in 46 silent "Our Gang" shorts and six talkies.

A native of Santa Monica, California, she made her first appearance in the "Our Gang" shorts as Jean in 1927 after being pointed out by an assistant to Hal Roach, the movie's producer, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Born Dorothy Jean LaVake, Darling went on to play in "Jane Eyre" as the title character when she was a child in 1934. She would later go on to star in Rodgers & Hammerstein's musical comedy "Carousel."

"The crossover to talkies was just idiocy on the part of the producers," Darling said in the book "Silent Stars Speak: Interviews With Twelve Cinema Pioneers."

"Instead of thinking a star could go on and have some voice coaching, they would immediately drop anyone on the first squawk. They went to the stage and brought over stage actors because they would have good voices," she said.

Darling moved to Dublin, Ireland in 1974 and wrote mystery stories, as many as 50 of which were published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and Whispers, said Deadline.com. Darling also read children stories on Irish TV as Aunty Poppy.

Fans praised her on social media.


She died Friday at a nursing home in Roedermark, Germany.

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Jean Darling, who acted as a child in dozens of "Our Gang" comedy shorts before turning to Broadway later in her career, has died after a brief illness. She was 93.
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Tuesday, 08 Sep 2015 07:55 AM
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