“Our Gang” cast member Dorothy deBorba died June 2 in Walnut Creek of emphysema. She was 85.
As a child actor, deBorba landed the part of Dorothy in the kiddie series at age 5. From 1930-33 she played Jackie Cooper’s sister, a bundle of mischief in curls, in nearly 30 shorts.
She was an aud fave, upstaging Norman Chaney’s Chubby(whose kid sister she frequently played) by repeating his lines with a slight twist. For instance, after he said, “My heart is filled with joy. I want to trip and dance,” she echoed, “My heart is filled with joy. I want to rip my pants.”
The daughter of a singer-actress (Lillian deBorba) and a drummer in the Paul Whiteman band, she apparently landed the role in “Our Gang” because she impressed producer Hal Roach with her ability to cry on cue.
After college, deBorba worked at Republic Pictures before seguing to the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley.
Survivors include a son and a daughter.