Vincent Graeff, a child actor who appeared in the “Our Gang” series of shorts with the likes of George “Spanky” McFarland and Robert Blake, died Feb. 8 in Henderson, Nev. He was 80.
Credited as Billy Ray Smith, Graeff made his debut at the age of 6 in 1937’s “The Pigskin Palooka.” In the early 1940s he appeared in MGM shorts including “Baby Blues,” “Fightin’ Fools,” “Robot Wrecks,” “Helping Hands” and “Going to Press.”
As he grew a bit older, the young actor appeared in many uncredited feature roles, including in notable films such as “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” “The Valley of Decision,” “The Harvey Girls,” “The Dark Corner,” “Sister Kenny,” “The Babe Ruth Story,” “The Set-Up” and “Cheaper by the Dozen.”
Graeff ended his acting career in 1951.
Born in San Ysidro, Calif., Graeff served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, earning a Purple Heart. He had a career as a sheet metal worker.
Graeff’s brother Paul, who also appeared in films as a child actor, died in 2010. Graeff is survived by his wife, Pat; five children; and a number of grandchildren and great-children.