Actress Jean Darling, one of the last surviving cast members of the “Our Gang” silent comedy shorts who also appeared in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s original production of “Carousel,” died Friday in Rodgau, Germany, reports the New York Times. She was 93.
Darling broke out onto the scene in the early ’20s, scoring the role in Hal Roach’s “Our Gang” after starting to act when she was only 4 years old.
Darling appeared in six “Our Gang” talkies and 46 silents. The series of shorts would become the inspiration for 1994 film “The Little Rascals.”
In addition to her work on “Our Gang,” Darling also moved into film, starring as young Jane in the 1934 adaptation “Jane Eyre.” She also appeared in an uncredited role in “Babes in Toyland.”
She later turned toward the stage, making her debut in 1942 in the musical “Count Me In.” She starred in “Carousel” in 1945, originating the role of Carrie Pipperidge and boasting 850 consecutive performances in the production.
Darling continued to work in adulthood, hosting TV show “A Date With Jean Darling” on NBC in the 1950s. She also hosted “The Singing Knit-Witch” on KHJ-TV in Hollywood.
As recently as 2013, Darling appeared in short silent film “The Butler’s Tale.” She moved to Dublin in the ’70s and wrote mystery and horror stories for magazines.
Darling is survived by her son, Roy, and grandsons Robert and Alec.