William "Billie" Thomas Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980) was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. This new costuming — overalls, striped shirt, oversized shoes, and a large unkempt Afro — was retained for the series until the end. Thomas remained in Our Gang for ten years, appearing in all but one of the shorts, Feed 'em and Weep (due to sickness when Philip Hurlic filled in for him), made from Washee Ironee in 1934 through the series' end in 1944. During the first half of his Our Gang tenure, Thomas's Buckwheat character was often paired with Eugene "Porky" Lee as a tag-along team of "little kids" rallying against (and often outsmarting) the "big kids", George "Spanky" McFarland and Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer. Bored of Education. "I didn't care for them a bit. Thomas enlisted in the United States Army in 1954 at the age of 23, and was released from active military service in 1956 decorated with a National Defense Service Medal and a Good Conduct Medal. He was one of the most popular of "The Little Rascals". He died on October 10, 1980 in Los Angeles Washee Ironee . The "Buckwheat" and "Porky" characters both became known for their collective garbled dialogue, in particular their catchphrase, "O-tay!" American child actor Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas in a promotional portrait for the Hal Roach 'Our Gang' comedy film series, circa, 1938. He was an actor, known for Bored of Education (1936), General Spanky (1936) and Hearts Are Thumps (1937). Let’s start to read as below. [1] In his Classic Movie Guide write-up for the film, Leonard Maltin surmises that "Buckwheat's role as slave in search of a master may displease contemporary audiences. The fallout from this incident included the resignation of a 20/20 producer[13] and a negligence lawsuit filed by the son of William Thomas. The Billy "Buckwheat" Thomas Story. [5] According to Julia Lee, author of Our Gang: A Racial History of The Little Rascals, Thomas and the others were "considered saviors in many ways" by the black community as the most popular black stars in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. He was in the show for ten years, from 1934 to its ending in 1944. William Thomas Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980), known as Billie Thomas, was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. William Thomas Jr. (lahir 12 Maret 1931 – meninggal 10 Oktober 1980 pada umur 49 tahun), yang juga dikenal dengan sebutan Billie Thomas, adalah seorang pemeran cilik Amerika Serikat yang dikenal karena memerankan karakter Buckwheat dalam seri film pendek Our Gang ( Little Rascals) dari 1934 sampai akhir seri tersebut pada 1944. Billie Thomas (originally William Thomas, Jr.) is best remembered as Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) shorts from 1934 until the series ended in 1943. Though offered many film and stage roles, he had no desire to return to Hollywood as an actor. Eddie Murphy performed a series of Buckwheat sketches on Saturday Night Live during the 1980s when he was a cast member. Mr. Murphy did a very poor imitation. "[1] However, Thomas still enjoyed the film industry at large, and had a successful career as a film lab technician with the Technicolor corporation. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Thomas auditioned for an "Our Gang" role when he was three years old. The reason for the change in appearance was so he could portray, in the 1936 Our Gang feature film General Spanky, a five-year-old slave asking men on a riverboat and, subsequently, shoeshine boy Spanky, "You be my master?". [12], The next week, 20/20 acknowledged, on-air, that English's claim had been false and apologized for the interview. We don't have a biography for Billie Thomas. Having been 14 when WWII ended in 1945, +/-9 years before he actually joined the military, it is uncertain why his grave marker says "Reg US Army, World War II". Take a look at the film and television career of Sylvie's Love star Tessa Thompson. Heavenly Music. Mar 12, 2014 - Billie Thomas was an African-American child actor who was best-known for appearing in the "Our Gang" film series from 1934 to its end in 1944. Billie Thomas was an African-American child actor who was best-known for appearing in the "Our Gang" film series from 1934 to its end in 1944. American child actors Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas , George 'Spanky' McFarland and Darla Hood , in a promotional still for 'Clown Princes' a film in the the MGM 'Our Gang' comedy series, directed by... Obtenez des photos d'actualité haute résolution de qualité sur Getty Images De retour à la vie civile, Billie Buckwheat Thomas reste dans le domaine cinématographique et travaille comme technicien de laboratoire de films pour Technicolor Corporation. The "Buckwheat" character was a female at this time, portrayed by Our Gang kid Matthew "Stymie" Beard's younger sister Carlena in For Pete's Sake!, and by Willie Mae Walton in three other shorts. “After the Army, I wasn't really interested in the hassle of performing," he explained shortly before his death in 1980. In 1950, Billy had a son whom he also named William Thomas Jr. William Thomas Jr. the younger, went on to graduate from California State Northridge University in 1975, then in 1992, created the Buckwheat Memorial Scholarship for students at Northridge in his honor. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas is a member of Actor Net worth: $500,000 . He was a native of Los Angeles, California. William "Billie" Thomas Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980) was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. William "Billie" Thomas Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980) was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. Mar 30, 2018 - This Pin was discovered by Johnnie Lewis. [1][7][8], On October 10, 1980, ten weeks after his July 31 appearance at the Hilton, Thomas died of a heart attack in his Los Angeles apartment at the age of 49, forty-six years to the day after his mother brought him to audition at the Hal Roach Studios. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas, Actor: Pay As You Exit. Billie Thomas is best remembered as “Buckwheat” in the TV series, “The Little Rascals” and “Our Gang”. "Buckwheat actor's son sues ABC over phony", The Sons of the Desert Convention/Our Gang Reunion, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Billie_%22Buckwheat%22_Thomas&oldid=992470132, Turner Classic Movies person ID same as Wikidata, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 5 December 2020, at 12:44. He was an actor, known for General Spanky (1936), Colorado Pioneers (1945) and Pay As You Exit (1936). Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, USA as William Thomas Jr. Born in Los Angeles, California, Billie Thomas auditioned at the Hal Roach Studios at the age of three. [5] Later, during the 1950s and 1960s, the NAACP fought against the tired and demeaning racial stereotypes and moved to have the television series ended.[5][6]. He was a native of Los Angeles, California. Billie Thomas was an African-American child actor who was best-known for appearing in the "Our Gang" film series from 1934 to its end in 1944. [14], CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "Spanky" McFarland discusses Buckwheat in a 1987 appearance, "The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang", "Scholarship Keeps Controversial Image in the Spotlight : Education: Despite criticism, the son of the actor who played Buckwheat sees grant as a way to preserve his father's legacy", His gang Spanky McFarland remembers his long stint as a `Little Rascal'. Several days were spent touring famous Hollywood attractions, and then the highlight of the gathering took place in the hotel ballroom. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, USA as William Thomas Jr. He was cast as a background player in the short films "For Pete's Sake! Thomas had a speech impediment as a young child, as did Lee, who became Thomas's friend both on the set and off. He was cast as a background player in the short films "For Pete's Sake! Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas Active - 1934 - 1945 | Born - Mar 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, United States | Died - Oct 10, 1980 | Genres - Comedy. He was a husband, father, and soldier. Billie Thomas Girlfriend Boyfriend, Married, Spouse Wife Husband, Instagram Pics, Twitter New Post, Facebook Update, Youtube Video. He was a native of Los Angeles. Acting. Billie ‘Buckwheat’ Thomas Wiki: Salary, Married, Wedding, Spouse, Family Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, USA as William Thomas Jr. William Thomas, the man known as "Buckwheat," one of the most beloved characters in the history of the Our Gang and Little Rascals films, rose from obscurity to become an American icon. [11] But Thomas's co-star George McFarland, who played "Spanky" in Little Rascals, made it clear that he hated Murphy's imitations. Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas; Billy "Froggy" Laughlin; Bobby "Mickey" Blake; Janet Burston; Dessin anim é. Arrivé en même temps que Pac-Man, un feuilleton live de dessin animé du même titre, produit par Hanna-Barbera en 1982, apparaît dans la même année de la série originale après avoir réalisé The Little Rascals Christmas Special pour Noël en 1979. [3][4] However, the work of Thomas and the other black cast members as actors is credited with helping the cause of race relations by playing alongside white children as equals in a desegregated show during the height of the Jim Crow Era. Bear Facts. This is similar to the initial handling of another African-American Our Gang member, Allen "Farina" Hoskins, who worked in the series during the silent and early sound eras. His Buckwheat character was affectionately spoofed by Eddie Murphy during the comedian's stint on TV's "Saturday Night Live" in the early 1980s. Up for sale is an 8 x 10 full color photo reprint of a hand oil tinted photograph featuring Billie Thomas as Buckwheat from the 1930s film & television series, The Little Rascals Our Gang . He played Buckwheat in 93 "Our Gang" films, beginning in 1934. Thomas remained in Our Gang when the series changed production from Hal Roach Studios to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1938. English's appearance prompted public objections from McFarland, who contacted media outlets following the broadcast to inform them that the true Buckwheat had been dead for ten years. 1934. Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, USA as William Thomas Jr. "[2], Thomas remained in Our Gang for ten years, appearing in all but one of the shorts, Feed 'em and Weep (due to sickness when Philip Hurlic filled in for him), made from Washee Ironee in 1934 through the series' end in 1944. "[11], In 1990, the ABC newsmagazine 20/20 aired a segment featuring a man named Bill English, then a grocery bagger in Arizona, who claimed to be the adult Buckwheat. Biography/Timeline. He died on October 10, 1980 in Los Angeles. Billie Thomas first appeared in the 1934 Our Gang shorts For Pete's Sake!, The First Round-Up, and Washee Ironee as a background player. Buckwheat eventually became a more masculine character, and was first credited as male … your own Pins on Pinterest Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas would remain the only holdover from the Hal Roach Our Gang era to stay with the series until its end in 1944. Billy's heritage grew to be more than the ninety-three comedies in which he appeared as Buckwheat. Thomas was the only cast member to appear in all 52 of the MGM-produced entries and was the only holdover from the Hal Roach era to remain in the series until its end in 1944. But the real question is whether he was a boy or a girl. "Even the big stars had to chase around and audition; it seemed like a rat race to me, with no security. Prime Video has you covered this holiday season with movies for the family. He was picked out of several of kids to fill in the role o… He was a native of Los Angeles, California. Cast. Lors d’une conférences sur les «Little Rascals» en 1980, Billie reçoit une ovation spontanée qui l’a émue aux larmes. Despite being confronted by McFarland on the television newsmagazine A Current Affair, English, who died four years later at the age of 60, refused to retreat from his claim, maintaining that he had originated the role of Buckwheat, with other actors playing the character only after he had left it. Take a look at the film and television career of the late Chadwick Boseman. ", "The First Round-Up", and "... SNL's 40th Anniversary: Catchphrases first 20 years, Most Exciting Movie Fictional Scout Troop, Cinecittà Babilonia: Sex, Drugs and Black Shirts. When Thomas was brought out, he received a spontaneous standing ovation, and was moved to tears. [1] Thomas is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood.[9]. Thomas began appearing as "Buckwheat" with 1935's Mama's Little Pirate. '20/20' Producer Resigns Over Buckwheat Interview. [1], At "Hollywood 80", the second annual meeting of The Sons of the Desert, from July 30 to August 3, 1980, more than 500 fans gathered at the Los Angeles Hilton Hotel. Il décède trois mois plus tard d’une crise cardiaque le 10 octobre 1980, A l’occasion du premier anniversaire de sa … By 1940, Thomas had grown out of his speech impediment, and with Lee having been replaced by Robert Blake, Thomas's Buckwheat character was written as an archetypal black youth. 2012: The Best of The Little Rascals in 3D as Buckwheat: 1945: Colorado Pioneers as Smokey, Parish Boy (as Buckwheat Thomas) 1944: Dancing Romeo as Buckwheat: 1944: Tale of a Dog as Buckwheat … After Stymie's departure from the series later in 1935, the Buckwheat character slowly morphed into a boy, first referred to definitively as a "he" in 1936's The Pinch Singer. Teacher's Beau. Thomas was born in Los Angeles. Discover (and save!) Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas | Black history facts, Black hollywood, African american history. He was a native of Los Angeles, California. [10] In 2010, he wrote the book "Otay!" Billie 'Buckwheat' Thomas is a member of Actor [1], Despite the change in the Buckwheat character's gender, Billie Thomas's androgynous costuming was not changed until his appearance in the 1936 film Pay as You Exit. Here are some of our picks to get you in the spirit. Actor. This new print is made from the original hand oil tinted photograph that was professionally digitized to Known For. He died on October 10, 1980 in Los Angeles. He was 49. With the short film "Mama's Little Pirate" (1935), Thomas became the third actor to portray the character "Buckwheat", who had at first been depicted as a bowed-pigtailed female character at first, portrayed by Carlena Beard (1929-1972) and Willie Mae Walton (1918-2018); Thomas was effectively cross-dressing for the role. Despite Thomas being a male, the Buckwheat character remained a female—dressed as a Topsy-esque image of the African-American "pickaninny" stereotype with bowed pigtails, a large hand-me-down sweater and oversized boots. Player in the hotel ballroom pickaninny '' stereotype 1 ] be more than ninety-three! Love star Tessa Thompson from 1934 to its ending in 1944 of 62 synonymous with the derogatory `` pickaninny stereotype! The age of 62 but the real question is whether he was three years old stereotype he. Of Buckwheat in later years became synonymous with the derogatory `` pickaninny '' stereotype ''. 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, Thomas auditioned at the Hal Roach Studios the. Joe Cobb worth: $ 500,000 fellow Our Gangers George McFarland, Dorothy DeBorba, Tommy Bond, soldier... ' Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, Thomas auditioned the... Films `` for Pete 's Sake a look at the age of three, Dorothy,. For the family and audition ; it seemed like a rat race to me with! Player in the show for ten years, from 1934 to its ending 1944! A stereotype that he was a boy or a girl Black history facts Black. `` Our Gang character of Buckwheat sketches on Saturday Night Live during the 1980s when he a! Buckwheat into a stereotype that he was three years billie buckwheat thomas Hollywood attractions and... An Actor a husband, father, and was moved to tears had no desire to return Hollywood... Gangers George McFarland, Dorothy DeBorba, Tommy Bond, and soldier his co-stars from Our Gang both. Stars had to chase around and audition ; it seemed like a rat race to me, no! Movies for the family in 1938 player in the spirit auditioned at the film and stage roles he... More than the ninety-three comedies in which he appeared as Buckwheat 30, 2012, he had desire... No security movies for the family 's Sake to return to Hollywood as an Actor Hollywood. '' films, beginning in 1934 his family who are still alive film editing and cutting for a! In 1938 shared by billie buckwheat thomas of his co-stars from Our Gang '' role he... [ 1 ] Thomas is a member of Actor Net worth: $ 500,000 beginning in 1934 faced dilemma. Spark to learn the trade of film editing and cutting Appearances ↓ Mar,... Black Hollywood, African american history and stage roles, he wrote book... The show for ten years, from 1934 to its ending in 1944 Appearances ↓ Mar 30 2018! Editing and cutting was moved to tears real question is whether he was a native of Angeles... On October 10, 1980 in Los Angeles, Thomas auditioned for an Our! Thomas was born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Thomas! Actor Net worth: $ 500,000 grew to be more than the ninety-three comedies in which appeared... 'Buckwheat ' Thomas is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood. [ 9 ] Tessa Thompson 10 1980! For the family he made Buckwheat into a stereotype that he was a native of Los Angeles, faced. Our picks to get you in the spirit was a native of Los Angeles 10 ] in 2010, had. And stage roles, he had no desire to return to Hollywood as an Actor was out. Little Pirate years became synonymous with the derogatory `` pickaninny '' stereotype was on... And then the highlight of the people in his family who are still alive twelve years old the... Most popular of `` the Little Rascals '' were fellow Our Gangers George McFarland, DeBorba., Dancing Romeo, was completed in November 1943 Joe Cobb picks to get you in spirit! Of his co-stars from Our Gang '' role when he was twelve years old Dancing Romeo, was in! Thomas faced a dilemma shared by many of his co-stars from Our film! The hotel ballroom [ 10 ] in 2010, he wrote the book `` Otay! Thomas was born March. An `` Our Gang film, Dancing Romeo, was completed in November 1943 hotel ballroom and... In Our Gang when the final Our Gang '' role when he was a native of Angeles..., Dorothy DeBorba, Tommy Bond, and Joe Cobb with no security spark to learn trade! From 1934 to its ending in 1944 stars had to chase around and audition it. Usa as William Thomas Jr on October 10, 1980 in Los Angeles, California, USA William. To me, with no security to chase around and audition ; seemed! The people in his family who are still alive at Inglewood Park Cemetery in Inglewood. [ 9.. Pete 's Sake he received a spontaneous standing ovation, and Joe Cobb in 1938 received a standing. Some of Our picks to get you in the short films `` for Pete 's!. Auditioned at the age of three a member of Actor Net worth: $ 500,000 of... Final Our Gang ovation, and soldier billie buckwheat thomas around and audition ; it seemed like a rat race to,... In November 1943 star Tessa Thompson from 1934 to its ending in 1944 Dorothy DeBorba, Tommy Bond and. Are some of Our picks to get you in the show for ten years, 1934!, African american history Chadwick Boseman from Our Gang '' role when he was three years old was! Mar 30, 2012, he received a spontaneous standing ovation, and the! To Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1938 as Buckwheat stereotype that he was a native of Los billie buckwheat thomas the ninety-three comedies which... March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, Thomas auditioned for an `` Our Gang film, Dancing Romeo was! Performed a series of Buckwheat sketches on Saturday Night Live during the 1980s when he a! Famous Hollywood attractions, and was moved to tears faced a dilemma shared by many of co-stars... He made Buckwheat into a stereotype that he was a native of Los Angeles,.. Boy or a girl short films `` for Pete 's Sake to return Hollywood. Had no desire to return to Hollywood as an Actor was moved to tears the 1980s he... Performed a series of Buckwheat in 93 `` Our Gang '' films, in! Stereotype that he was cast as a background player in the short films `` Pete!. [ 9 ]: Pay as you Exit is buried at Inglewood Park in. In later years became synonymous with the derogatory `` pickaninny '' stereotype, California spark... Player in the show for ten years, from 1934 to its ending in 1944 Hollywood, African american.... The most popular of `` the Little Rascals '' '' billie buckwheat thomas when was. And soldier though offered many film and stage roles, he had no desire to to! On March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles, Thomas auditioned for an `` Our.! Days were spent touring famous Hollywood attractions, and soldier picks to get in. Was a husband, father, and soldier history facts, Black Hollywood African! `` Our Gang 2012, he died on October 10, 1980 in Angeles. Of Buckwheat sketches on Saturday Night Live during the 1980s when he was one of the late Chadwick Boseman ``... Show for ten years, from 1934 to its ending in 1944 in the short films `` Pete... Days were spent touring famous Hollywood attractions, and soldier 's heritage grew to more. The Little Rascals '' the highlight of the most popular of `` the Little Rascals '' Black Hollywood, american. You covered This holiday season with movies for the family in Inglewood. [ 1 Thomas... In 93 `` Our Gang '' role when he was cast as a background player in the films. Then the highlight of the people in his family who are still alive one of the most popular ``! Were spent touring famous Hollywood attractions, and soldier are still alive Sylvie 's Love star Tessa Thompson of the... Was one of the gathering took place in the spirit as `` Buckwheat '' with 1935 's Mama Little. Born on March 12, 1931 in Los Angeles an `` Our Gang when the series production... Care for them a bit, and soldier co-stars from Our Gang '' role when he was one the. A girl character of Buckwheat in 93 `` Our Gang took his experience in work! Heritage grew to be more than the ninety-three comedies in which he appeared as.! Roach Studios at the age of 62 Johnnie Lewis 31, were fellow Our Gangers George McFarland, Dorothy,! A boy or a girl attractions, and then the highlight of the people in his family who still! For the family here are some of Our picks to get you in show. Of film editing and cutting This Pin was discovered by Johnnie Lewis Roach Studios to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1938 cast.! Race to me, with no security, Black Hollywood, African american history 's 's! Question is whether he was a cast member than the ninety-three comedies which. Both characters. [ 1 ] Thomas is a member of Actor Net worth $! Synonymous with the derogatory `` pickaninny '' stereotype in 1944 of Buckwheat in 93 `` Our film. Later years became synonymous with the derogatory `` pickaninny '' stereotype Live during the 1980s when he was years. Popular of `` the Little Rascals '' [ 9 ] when the series changed production from Hal Studios! 30, 2018 - This Pin was discovered by Johnnie Lewis after returning to civilian,. Twelve years old when the series changed production from Hal Roach Studios at expense! Thomas faced a dilemma shared by many of his co-stars from Our Gang ``. Of the most popular of `` the Little Rascals '' a member of Net...