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Harold Switzer
Born Harold Frederick Switzer
January 16, 1925(1925-01-16)
Paris, Illinois, USA
Died April 14, 1967 (aged 42)
Glendale, California, USA
Occupation child actor
Years active 1935-1940
Spouse(s) Beverly Osso

Harold Frederick Switzer (January 16, 1925 – April 14, 1967) was an American child actor, most notable for appearing in the Our Gang short subjects series as an extra. He was the older brother of gang member Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, one of the series' most popular and best-remembered characters.[1]

Contents

Early life and family

Switzer was born in Paris, Illinois, the first son of Gladys C. Shanks (née Doerr) and G. Frederick Switzer. He and younger brother Carl became famous around their hometown for their musical talent and performances; both sang and played a number of instruments.

Our Gang

The Switzers took a trip to California in 1934 to visit with family members. While sightseeing they eventually wound up at Hal Roach Studios. Following a public tour of the facility, 8-year-old Harold and 6-year-old Carl entered into the Hal Roach Studio's open-to-the-public cafeteria, the Our Gang Café, and began an impromptu performance. Producer Hal Roach was present at the commissary that day and was impressed by the performance. He signed both Switzers to appear in Our Gang. Harold was given two nicknames, "Slim" and "Deadpan," and Carl was dubbed "Alfalfa."[2]

The Switzer brothers first appeared in the 1935 Our Gang short, Beginner's Luck. By the end of the year, Alfalfa was one of the main characters in the series, while Harold had more or less been relegated to the role of a background player. Both Alfalfa and Harold outgrew the series by 1940, with Harold's last appearance in The Big Premiere.

Adult years and death

Though not saddled with the same problems his younger brother was laced with due to being typecast as a "child star," Harold had his own problems. For several years, he operated a Speed Queen Company franchise, installing and servicing washer and dryers.[2] In 1967, after killing a customer over a dispute, Switzer drove himself to a remote area near Glendale, California and committed suicide. He was 42.[2]

Harold Switzer is interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California, alongside his brother Alfalfa.

Personal life

Swtizer was married to Beverly Osso for over 10 years. The union brought three children: Judith Ann, Tony Frederick and Teddy Berton. Switzer also bore a child with a Miss Rose named Gladys Lavon.[3]

External links

References

  1. ^ gideonseniors1959.com
  2. ^ a b c Maltin, Leonard and Bann, Richard W. (1977, rev. 1992). The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang, p. 268-271. New York: Crown Publishing/Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-517-58325-9
  3. ^ imdb.com
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