During the first half of his Our Gang tenure, Thomas's Buckwheat character was often paired with Eugene "Porky" Lee as a tag-along team of "little kids" rallying against (and often outsmarting) the "big kids", George "Spanky" McFarland and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer. This new print is made from the original hand oil tinted photograph that was professionally digitized to He died on October 10, 1980 in Los Angeles Despite being confronted by McFarland on the television newsmagazine A Current Affair, English, who died four years later at the age of 60, refused to retreat from his claim, maintaining that he had originated the role of Buckwheat, with other actors playing the character only after he had left it. [5] Later, during the 1950s and 1960s, the NAACP fought against the tired and demeaning racial stereotypes and moved to have the television series ended.[5][6]. Prime Video has you covered this holiday season with movies for the family. [10] In 2010, he wrote the book "Otay!" He was an actor, known for General Spanky (1936), Colorado Pioneers (1945) and Pay As You Exit (1936). Billie Thomas first appeared in the 1934 Our Gang shorts For Pete's Sake!, The First Round-Up, and Washee Ironee as a background player. “After the Army, I wasn't really interested in the hassle of performing," he explained shortly before his death in 1980. Mar 12, 2014 - Billie Thomas was an African-American child actor who was best-known for appearing in the "Our Gang" film series from 1934 to its end in 1944. your own Pins on Pinterest Up for sale is an 8 x 10 full color photo reprint of a hand oil tinted photograph featuring Billie Thomas as Buckwheat from the 1930s film & television series, The Little Rascals Our Gang . Our Gang Follies of 1938. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, USA as William Thomas Jr. "Even the big stars had to chase around and audition; it seemed like a rat race to me, with no security. English's appearance prompted public objections from McFarland, who contacted media outlets following the broadcast to inform them that the true Buckwheat had been dead for ten years. [3][4] However, the work of Thomas and the other black cast members as actors is credited with helping the cause of race relations by playing alongside white children as equals in a desegregated show during the height of the Jim Crow Era. He was picked out of several of kids to fill in the role o… [12], The next week, 20/20 acknowledged, on-air, that English's claim had been false and apologized for the interview. Billie ‘Buckwheat’ Thomas Wiki: Salary, Married, Wedding, Spouse, Family Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, USA as William Thomas Jr. American child actor Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas in a promotional portrait for the Hal Roach 'Our Gang' comedy film series, circa, 1938. Billie Thomas was an African-American child actor who was best-known for appearing in the "Our Gang" film series from 1934 to its end in 1944. Washee Ironee . Here are some of our picks to get you in the spirit. By 1940, Thomas had grown out of his speech impediment, and with Lee having been replaced by Robert Blake, Thomas's Buckwheat character was written as an archetypal black youth. '20/20' Producer Resigns Over Buckwheat Interview. Several days were spent touring famous Hollywood attractions, and then the highlight of the gathering took place in the hotel ballroom. Overview ↓ Filmography ↓ Other Appearances ↓ Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas | Black history facts, Black hollywood, African american history. He was a native of Los Angeles. [14], CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "Spanky" McFarland discusses Buckwheat in a 1987 appearance, "The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang", "Scholarship Keeps Controversial Image in the Spotlight : Education: Despite criticism, the son of the actor who played Buckwheat sees grant as a way to preserve his father's legacy", His gang Spanky McFarland remembers his long stint as a `Little Rascal'. William "Billie" Thomas Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980) was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. He was a native of Los Angeles, California. He was a husband, father, and soldier. He was twelve years old when the final Our Gang film, Dancing Romeo, was completed in November 1943. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Thomas auditioned for an "Our Gang" role when he was three years old. Billie Thomas Girlfriend Boyfriend, Married, Spouse Wife Husband, Instagram Pics, Twitter New Post, Facebook Update, Youtube Video. Acting. Thomas had a speech impediment as a young child, as did Lee, who became Thomas's friend both on the set and off. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas - IMDb Billie Thomas was an African-American child actor who was best-known for appearing in the "Our Gang" film series from 1934 to its end in 1944. After Stymie's departure from the series later in 1935, the Buckwheat character slowly morphed into a boy, first referred to definitively as a "he" in 1936's The Pinch Singer. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, USA as William Thomas Jr. [1] Thomas is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood.[9]. Thomas began appearing as "Buckwheat" with 1935's Mama's Little Pirate. Thomas remained in Our Gang for ten years, appearing in all but one of the shorts, Feed 'em and Weep (due to sickness when Philip Hurlic filled in for him), made from Washee Ironee in 1934 through the series' end in 1944. William “Billie” Thomas, Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980) was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series’ end in 1944. Character: Buckwheat Thomas Birthday: March 12, 1931 Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California Date of Death: October 10, 1980 Place of Death: Los Angeles, California First Short: For Pete's Sake Last Short: Tale Of A Dog Number of Shorts: 92 History: William Thomas Jr. was the only son of William Thomas Sr., a janitor at the Wilton Apartment Building in Hollywood, California. "I didn't care for them a bit. In 1950, Billy had a son whom he also named William Thomas Jr. William Thomas Jr. the younger, went on to graduate from California State Northridge University in 1975, then in 1992, created the Buckwheat Memorial Scholarship for students at Northridge in his honor. Billie Thomas is best remembered as “Buckwheat” in the TV series, “The Little Rascals” and “Our Gang”. Biography/Timeline. Il décède trois mois plus tard d’une crise cardiaque le 10 octobre 1980, A l’occasion du premier anniversaire de sa … Thomas enlisted in the United States Army in 1954 at the age of 23, and was released from active military service in 1956 decorated with a National Defense Service Medal and a Good Conduct Medal. Heavenly Music. Mr. Murphy did a very poor imitation. [11] But Thomas's co-star George McFarland, who played "Spanky" in Little Rascals, made it clear that he hated Murphy's imitations. Buckwheat eventually became a more masculine character, and was first credited as male … [1] In his Classic Movie Guide write-up for the film, Leonard Maltin surmises that "Buckwheat's role as slave in search of a master may displease contemporary audiences. "[11], In 1990, the ABC newsmagazine 20/20 aired a segment featuring a man named Bill English, then a grocery bagger in Arizona, who claimed to be the adult Buckwheat. This is similar to the initial handling of another African-American Our Gang member, Allen "Farina" Hoskins, who worked in the series during the silent and early sound eras. Billy's heritage grew to be more than the ninety-three comedies in which he appeared as Buckwheat. Mar 12, 2014 - Billie Thomas was an African-American child actor who was best-known for appearing in the "Our Gang" film series from 1934 to its end in 1944. He was cast as a background player in the short films "For Pete's Sake! Mar 30, 2018 - This Pin was discovered by Johnnie Lewis. The "Buckwheat" and "Porky" characters both became known for their collective garbled dialogue, in particular their catchphrase, "O-tay!" Cast. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Thomas auditioned for an "Our Gang" role when he was three years old. [1], Despite the change in the Buckwheat character's gender, Billie Thomas's androgynous costuming was not changed until his appearance in the 1936 film Pay as You Exit. William "Billie" Thomas Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980) was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. We don't have a biography for Billie Thomas. On November 30, 2012, he died at the age of 62. He was an actor, known for Bored of Education (1936), General Spanky (1936) and Hearts Are Thumps (1937). But the real question is whether he was a boy or a girl. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas is a member of Actor The "Buckwheat" character was a female at this time, portrayed by Our Gang kid Matthew "Stymie" Beard's younger sister Carlena in For Pete's Sake!, and by Willie Mae Walton in three other shorts. He was a native of Los Angeles. 1934. William Thomas Jr. (lahir 12 Maret 1931 – meninggal 10 Oktober 1980 pada umur 49 tahun), yang juga dikenal dengan sebutan Billie Thomas, adalah seorang pemeran cilik Amerika Serikat yang dikenal karena memerankan karakter Buckwheat dalam seri film pendek Our Gang ( Little Rascals) dari 1934 sampai akhir seri tersebut pada 1944. Among those honored, on July 31, were fellow Our Gangers George McFarland, Dorothy DeBorba, Tommy Bond, and Joe Cobb. The Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas Story. For Pete's Sake! After returning to civilian life, Thomas faced a dilemma shared by many of his co-stars from Our Gang. He was a native of Los Angeles, California. "[1] However, Thomas still enjoyed the film industry at large, and had a successful career as a film lab technician with the Technicolor corporation. When Thomas was brought out, he received a spontaneous standing ovation, and was moved to tears. Thomas was the only cast member to appear in all 52 of the MGM-produced entries and was the only holdover from the Hal Roach era to remain in the series until its end in 1944. The character of Buckwheat in later years became synonymous with the derogatory "pickaninny" stereotype. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas is a member of Actor Net worth: $500,000 . William "Billie" Thomas Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980) was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. 2012: The Best of The Little Rascals in 3D as Buckwheat: 1945: Colorado Pioneers as Smokey, Parish Boy (as Buckwheat Thomas) 1944: Dancing Romeo as Buckwheat: 1944: Tale of a Dog as Buckwheat … William Thomas Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980), known as Billie Thomas, was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. He made Buckwheat into a stereotype that he wasn't, at the expense of the people in his family who are still alive. He was in the show for ten years, from 1934 to its ending in 1944. Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas would remain the only holdover from the Hal Roach Our Gang era to stay with the series until its end in 1944. He was a native of Los Angeles, California. Let’s start to read as below. Let’s start to read as below. Though offered many film and stage roles, he had no desire to return to Hollywood as an actor. He was cast as a background player in the short films "For Pete's Sake! He was 49. Actor. Billie Thomas (originally William Thomas, Jr.) is best remembered as Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) shorts from 1934 until the series ended in 1943. Some Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas images. Despite Thomas being a male, the Buckwheat character remained a female—dressed as a Topsy-esque image of the African-American "pickaninny" stereotype with bowed pigtails, a large hand-me-down sweater and oversized boots. His Buckwheat character was affectionately spoofed by Eddie Murphy during the comedian's stint on TV's "Saturday Night Live" in the early 1980s. The fallout from this incident included the resignation of a 20/20 producer[13] and a negligence lawsuit filed by the son of William Thomas. The reason for the change in appearance was so he could portray, in the 1936 Our Gang feature film General Spanky, a five-year-old slave asking men on a riverboat and, subsequently, shoeshine boy Spanky, "You be my master?". Having been 14 when WWII ended in 1945, +/-9 years before he actually joined the military, it is uncertain why his grave marker says "Reg US Army, World War II". Beginner's Luck. [1], At "Hollywood 80", the second annual meeting of The Sons of the Desert, from July 30 to August 3, 1980, more than 500 fans gathered at the Los Angeles Hilton Hotel. Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas Active - 1934 - 1945 | Born - Mar 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, United States | Died - Oct 10, 1980 | Genres - Comedy. He died on October 10, 1980 in Los Angeles. Thomas remained in Our Gang when the series changed production from Hal Roach Studios to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1938. Known For. [5] According to Julia Lee, author of Our Gang: A Racial History of The Little Rascals, Thomas and the others were "considered saviors in many ways" by the black community as the most popular black stars in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. Bored of Education. Eddie Murphy performed a series of Buckwheat sketches on Saturday Night Live during the 1980s when he was a cast member. ", "The First Round-Up", and "... SNL's 40th Anniversary: Catchphrases first 20 years, Most Exciting Movie Fictional Scout Troop, Cinecittà Babilonia: Sex, Drugs and Black Shirts. William Thomas, the man known as "Buckwheat," one of the most beloved characters in the history of the Our Gang and Little Rascals films, rose from obscurity to become an American icon. With the short film "Mama's Little Pirate" (1935), Thomas became the third actor to portray the character "Buckwheat", who had at first been depicted as a bowed-pigtailed female character at first, portrayed by Carlena Beard (1929-1972) and Willie Mae Walton (1918-2018); Thomas was effectively cross-dressing for the role. He was a native of Los Angeles, California. Teacher's Beau. Bear Facts. "Buckwheat actor's son sues ABC over phony", The Sons of the Desert Convention/Our Gang Reunion, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Billie_%22Buckwheat%22_Thomas&oldid=992470132, Turner Classic Movies person ID same as Wikidata, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 5 December 2020, at 12:44. He died on October 10, 1980 in Los Angeles. William "Billie" Thomas, Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980) was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. Discover (and save!) Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, USA as William Thomas Jr. He took his experience in film work as a spark to learn the trade of film editing and cutting. He played Buckwheat in 93 "Our Gang" films, beginning in 1934. De retour à la vie civile, Billie Buckwheat Thomas reste dans le domaine cinématographique et travaille comme technicien de laboratoire de films pour Technicolor Corporation. He was an actor, known for Bored of Education (1936), General Spanky (1936) and Hearts Are Thumps (1937). "[2], Thomas remained in Our Gang for ten years, appearing in all but one of the shorts, Feed 'em and Weep (due to sickness when Philip Hurlic filled in for him), made from Washee Ironee in 1934 through the series' end in 1944. [1][7][8], On October 10, 1980, ten weeks after his July 31 appearance at the Hilton, Thomas died of a heart attack in his Los Angeles apartment at the age of 49, forty-six years to the day after his mother brought him to audition at the Hal Roach Studios. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas, Actor: Pay As You Exit. Take a look at the film and television career of the late Chadwick Boseman. originally uttered by Porky, but soon used by both characters.[1]. Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas; Billy "Froggy" Laughlin; Bobby "Mickey" Blake; Janet Burston; Dessin anim é. Arrivé en même temps que Pac-Man, un feuilleton live de dessin animé du même titre, produit par Hanna-Barbera en 1982, apparaît dans la même année de la série originale après avoir réalisé The Little Rascals Christmas Special pour Noël en 1979. Although the character he played was often … Continue reading "Biography" This new costuming — overalls, striped shirt, oversized shoes, and a large unkempt Afro — was retained for the series until the end. Thomas was born in Los Angeles. He was one of the most popular of "The Little Rascals". Born in Los Angeles, California, Billie Thomas auditioned at the Hal Roach Studios at the age of three. Billie Thomas was an African-American child actor who was best-known for appearing in the "Our Gang" film series from 1934 to its end in 1944. Lors d’une conférences sur les «Little Rascals» en 1980, Billie reçoit une ovation spontanée qui l’a émue aux larmes. Take a look at the film and television career of Sylvie's Love star Tessa Thompson. 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