×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Billy Chapin, Child Actor in ‘Night of the Hunter,’ Dies at 72

Billy Chapin, a child actor known for his roles in “The Kid from Left Field” and “The Night of the Hunter” has died. He was 72.

Chapin’s sister and fellow former child actor, Lauren, announced the news on Facebook Saturday. She wrote that Billy had died Friday night “after a long illness.”

“Billy was a wonderful brother to both Michael and me,” Lauren wrote. “And he made us proud of all the great films he was in… He will be greatly missed.”

Billy, Lauren and their brother, Michael, were all successful child actors during the 1940s and ’50s. Billy, born “William McClellan Chapin” is the middle of the three siblings who were all born in Los Angeles.

Apart from several stage appearances as a newborn, Billy got his start in 1951 in the Broadway production of “Three Wishes for Jamie.” His first big on-screen role was as the “Diaper Manager” Christie Cooper in the 1953 baseball film “The Kid from Left Field.” The family film also starred Dan Dailey, Anne Bancroft and Lloyd Bridges.

Billy’s most recognizable role came in 1955 in the film noir film “Night of the Hunter” directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. Although it was considered a critical and commercial failure at the time, in 1992, the United States Library of Congress selected the picture for preservation in the National Film Registry, forever preserving its legacy.

Popular on Variety

After “Night of the Hunter,” his film career declined, then his television roles wrapped as well until his career in Hollywood ended in 1959.

Hollywood Stars and Icons Lost in 2016

More Film

  • Dutch art dealer Jan Six and

    IDFA: Oeke Hoogendijk's 'My Rembrandt' Debuts Trailer Before World Premiere (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given exclusive access to the trailer to “My Rembrandt,” directed by Oeke Hoogendijk, which has its world premiere on Sunday in the Masters section of the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA). The film is set in the world of the art market for paintings by the Dutch Old Master. While art collectors [...]

  • Martin Scorsese'The Irishman' film premiere, Arrivals,

    Martin Scorsese Honored by Palm Springs Film Festival for 'The Irishman'

    Martin Scorsese has been selected by the Palm Springs International Film Festival as the recipient of its Sonny Bono Visionary Award for “The Irishman.” He will be presented the award at the festival’s gala on Jan. 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The festival runs Jan. 2-13. “Martin Scorsese has directed another masterpiece about [...]

  • 'Sunless Shadows' Review: Piercing Iranian Doc

    IDFA Film Review: 'Sunless Shadows'

    “Listen to women” has become the mantra of the MeToo age, though films that entirely follow its simple directive remain relatively few. “Starless Dreams” was one: Mehrdad Oskouei’s superb 2016 documentary engaged in aching, revealing dialogue with multiple teenage girls in a Tehran juvenile correctional facility, lending an open, sympathetic ear to their stories of [...]

  • Trusted reindeer Sven and curious snowman

    'Frozen 2' Heads for Sizzling $130 Million North American Launch

    Disney’s “Frozen 2” is heading for a hot $130 million opening weekend at 4,400 North American locations, early estimates showed Friday. That’s well above the $100 million launch that Disney was forecasting for the sequel, which will provide a much-needed jolt to the moviegoing business. The 2019 North American box office trails last year by [...]

  • The Banker

    Apple Delays 'The Banker' Release Amid Review of Family Accusations

    Apple is delaying the theatrical release of “The Banker,” originally set for Dec. 6 with assistance from Bleecker Street, insiders familiar with the company said. It’s being delayed as the filmmakers review accusations of historical inaccuracy and sexual abuse at the hands of co-producer Bernard Garrett Jr. The film was also set to premiere on [...]

  • Alex Ginno Fully Formed

    Brad Fuller and Andrew Form's Fully Formed Taps Alex Ginno as Head of Film (EXCLUSIVE)

    Alex Ginno has joined Brad Fuller and Andrew Form’s Fully Formed as head of film. The company has a three-year first-look deal with Paramount, where they recently wrapped production on “A Quiet Place: Part II” and are currently prepping Season 3 of the hit show “Jack Ryan” for Amazon. The second season recently bowed, with [...]

  • Queen and Slim soundtrack

    Album Review: 'Queen & Slim: The Soundtrack'

    “Queen & Slim,” the film, traffics in sudden tragedy and symbolic terror as it portrays the violence of self-defense and self-awareness in stark, painful terms. It deserves an equally audacious score and soundtrack, a job that has gone to another Devonté Hynes, the British singer, songwriter, guitarist, record producer and director in his guise of Blood [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content