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Jean Darling, one of the last surviving ‘Our Gang’ characters, dies at 93

Cast of 'Our Gang' poses in a tree in 1935. From left to right: Patsy the dog, Joe Cobb, Farina, Harry Spear, Wheezer, Mary Ann Jackson, and Jean Darling standing.

Cast of ‘Our Gang’ poses in a tree in 1935. From left to right: Patsy the dog, Joe Cobb, Farina, Harry Spear, Wheezer, Mary Ann Jackson, and Jean Darling standing.

(Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Jean Darling, one of the last surviving characters from the silent-film series “Our Gang” and a performer in the original Broadway production of “Carousel,” has died at age 93.

Darling died Friday in Rodermark, Germany, after a sudden illness, her son Roy Hamilton-Bowen said.

Darling appeared in the “Our Gang” series between 1927 and 1929, when the short films began incorporating sound into the productions. Some of the films were later repackaged as “The Little Rascals.”

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She was 4 when she was cast for the role of Baby Jean, a curly haired blond.

“I was a terrible looking little thing,” she said in a 2014 interview.

In 1945, she starred as Carrie Pipperidge in the original Broadway run of “Carousel” and later appeared as Aunt Poppy in children’s programming on Ireland’s RTE radio and television broadcasts.

Hamilton-Bowen said his mother remained active up until her death and recently had finished writing a crime novel.

Darling was born Dorothy Jean LeVake in Santa Monica in August 1922. Her son said the precise date is unknown because a fire destroyed her birth records.

She moved to Dublin in 1974, where she wrote and was frequently seen riding about the city on a motorbike. She moved to Germany two years ago, her son said.


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