Billy Barty dies at 76

Alecia Foster

GLENDALE -- Friends and family of veteran actor Billy Barty remember

him as a man small in stature but big in heart.

"He always wanted to solve everyone's problems, no matter how big or

small," Barty's friend and publicist Bill York said.

Barty died Saturday morning at Glendale Memorial Hospital. He was 76.

The 3-foot, 10-inch actor had been hospitalized since Nov. 30 with

heart problems and a lung infection.

Barty was born William John Bertanzetti on Oct. 25, 1924.

He began his acting career in 1927 and has appeared in hundreds of

films and television shows. Of note were the movies "Willow" and "Foul

Play," and Sid and Marty Kroft's television show "Sigmund and the Sea


In 1957, he founded Little People of America and in 1975 he founded

the Burbank-based Billy Barty Foundation, both of which were advocacy

groups for little people, helping them become integrated into mainstream

society without being discriminated against.

Barty once said that most people thought little people were only found

in show business or the circus.

"The only way to approach the problem is to influence minds while they

are young so prejudice won't appear later," Barty once said.

Barty is survived by his wife, Shirley, son Braden, daughter Lori

Nelson, son-in-law David Neilson and adopted granddaughter Tina.

Services have been set for 11 a.m. today at the Church of Jesus Christ

of Latter day Saints at 11022 Riverside Drive in North Hollywood. A

private burial will follow at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the

Billy Barty Memorial Adoption Fund, which helps little people adopt

children with dwarfism.

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