Dr. Bernard Punsly, the last surviving member of the Dead End Kids, died of cancer in Torrance, Calif. He was 80.
Punsly starred in numerous films in the 1930s and 1940s about a band of teenagers growing up in the slums of New York, often playing the innocent kid. He left the Dead End Kids after 19 films to go to medical school, and practiced medicine for almost 50 years in Los Angeles.
Born in New York, he began acting at 8 on Broadway and won a contract to play Milty in the film version of the play “Dead End.” Directed by William Wyler, the pic was nominated for four Academy Awards.
Among other titles he appeared in are “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Angels With Dirty Faces” and “Little Tough Guy.” When he played W.C. Field’s caddy in “The Big Broadcast of 1938,” he recalled that he broke up laughing at Fields’ ad-libbing so often he was virtually edited out of the movie.
He is survived by wife Lynne, a son, two grandchildren and a sister.
Donations may be made to the Little Co. of Mary Hospital in Torrance.