William Heyes Jr., who started as child actor in the silent “Penrod and Sam” series and in later life acted onstage, died Friday May 3 in Raleigh, N.C., after a long illness. He was 78.
New Bedford, Mass., native was 7 when he was recruited for the film “Skippy” because he looked like the comic character of that name. Jackie Cooper got the role, but Heyes landed the “Penrod and Sam” gig in a two-year movie career. In 1932 he played opposite Fatty Arbuckle in the star’s first talkie, “Hey, Pop.”
He served in the Army during WWII, then studied engineering at USC and worked in the aerospace industry. He returned to acting by becoming involved in community theater and the Masquers Club in Hollywood, performing in such plays as “Twelve Angry Men” and “Harvey.”