Monday, June 7, 2010

Dorothy DeBorba of Our Gang Passes On

Dorothy DeBorba, who appeared in twenty four Our Gang shorts from 1930 to 1933, passed on June 2 at the age of 85. The cause was emphysema.

Dorothy DeBorba was born in Los Angeles, California. She made her film debut when she was only five, appearing in the comedy A Royal Romance in 1930. She impressed Our Gang producer Hal Roach with her ability to cry on cue, and joined the cast of the popular shorts in 1930's "Pups is Pups." In that short, she played Jackie Cooper's little sister. Dorothy was easily recognisable because of her light brown hair, generally done up in ringlets with a bow. After appearing in three shorts as Norman "Chubby" Chaney's little sister, in which she parroted whatever Chubby said, she became known on the lot as "Echo," even though the name was never used on screen.

Dorothy DeBorba would appear in other films besides the Our Gang shorts. She appeared in bit parts in such films as Men of the North (1930) and The Boyfriends short "Blood and Thunder." Dorothy's last Our Gang short was Mush and Milk in 1933. Her last film appearance was a bit part in Bombshell that year.

Miss DeBorba graduated from Van Nuys High School and later worked at Republic Studios as a secretary. She also worked as senior clerk at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. She would later become a regular guest of the Sons of the Desert, the Laurel and Hardy fan club.

While Dorothy DeBorba may not be as famous as Spanky, Alfafa, Darla, or Buckwheat, she was one of the many actors who made the Our Gang comedies a success. She had a natural gift for comedy, with impeccable timing and perfect delivery Indeed, like all of the Our Gang actors she did not seem so much like an actor as she did a child doing what children do naturally. Although she was not one of the most famous members of the Our Gang cast, she was as gifted as any of those who were better know.

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