Jean Darling, who appeared in dozens of “Our Gang” silent comedy shorts as a child actress, has passed away. She was 93.
Darling, who later originated the role of Carrie Pipperidge in the original cast of musical comedy “Carousel”, died on September 4 in Rodgau, Germany, writer-director Rene Riva has confirmed, said The Hollywood Reporter.
In 2013, she starred in his silent slapstick short film, The Butler’s Tale.
Born Dorothy Jean LaVake in Santa Monica, Darling was spotted by an assistant of Our Gang producer Hal Roach and made her first appearance as the tyke named Jean in the 1927 silent Bring Home the Turkey.
Her character often was the object of the boys’ affections. Darling left the “Our Gang” series just as sound was being introduced to the movies.
Darling played the title character as a child in “Jane Eyre” (1934) and appeared in “Babes in Toyland” before headlining a vaudeville act and studying opera.
She made her Broadway debut with “Count Me In” opposite Jean Arthur in 1942.
Darling portrayed Julie Jordan’s friend Carrie in the original cast of 1945’s “Carousel”, working 850 consecutive performances at one point. Her big number was the song, “(When I Marry) Mister Snow.”
In 1954, Darling married Reuben Bowen, also known as Kajar the Magician, and they moved to Dublin in 1974.
She wrote mystery and crime stories for magazines, voiced the character of Aunty Poppy for RTE radio plays in Ireland and moved to Rodgau to be with her son, Roy, who survives her.