Donald Haines

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For the weather index, see Haines Index.
Donald Haines
Haines.JPEG
Haines in School's Out.
Born (1919-05-09)May 9, 1919[1]
Seward County, Nebraska
Died February 20, 1943(1943-02-20) (aged 23)
North African Theater of War
Cause of death
Killed in action, World War II
Occupation Child actor
Years active 1929-1941

Donald Haines (May 9, 1919 – February 20, 1943) was an American child actor who had recurring appearances in the Our Gang short subjects series from 1930 to 1933. He appeared in Our Gang during the early sound days along with Norman "Chubby" Chaney, Allen "Farina" Hoskins, Jackie Cooper, Matthew "Stymie" Beard, Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, and Dorothy DeBorba.

Our Gang[edit]

Haines's tenure began during the early talkies up through the "Miss Crabtree episodes," and then the early Spanky episodes. He would leave with Jackie Cooper for feature films at Paramount only to return a few months later. He was 11 years old when he joined the gang in 1930. His association with the Our Gang series lasted through 1933.

Haines's first short was Shivering Shakespeare, which featured the youngster giggling his way through his lines. He was intended to originally be a full-time character playing the tough guy. So in the next short, The First Seven Years, he played a main character, Speck who was opposite Jackie Cooper. For some reason, his role shifted to a recurring background character. After that, he played a recurring character with occasional lines of dialogue until 1931. At that time he was offered a contract with Paramount that began with a role in a feature called Skippy. Jackie Cooper also was offered a role on that feature along with a contract. Both Jackie and Donald are missing from the final scenes of the second-to-last short made in the 1930-31 season, Bargain Day, owing to their beginning work at Paramount.

Cooper would remain at Paramount. Haines, on the other hand, would quickly leave Paramount to return to Hal Roach Studios just in time for the 1931-32 season. At that point, because children age and grow up, several major characters left the series. This left a depleted Our Gang of only three regulars and a few recurring characters. Haines would resume his role as a recurring character with occasional dialogue for the next two seasons. Haines left the Our Gang series at the age of 15 after appearing in the 1933 short Fish Hooky. Unlike Jackie Cooper, Haines was not as popular as some of the other cast members. It was said on the documentary Our Gang: Inside the Clubhouse that Haines, Sherwood Bailey, and Kendall McComas have all vanished. Haines was one of the early Our Gang cast members to die at an early age.

Our Gang selected filmography[edit]

Later career[edit]

Haines left the Our Gang series in 1933 but continued working as an actor at Hal Roach Studios on many shorts and features until 1940. His work during this time included appearances in the East Side Kids films East Side Kids and Boys of the City as "Pee Wee" and then in That Gang of Mine, Pride of the Bowery, Flying Wild, Bowery Blitzkrieg, and Spooks Run Wild as "Skinny." He also played Jerry Cruncher, Jr. in "A Tale of Two Cities" (1935), released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

World War II and death[edit]

Haines enlisted as an aviation cadet in the United States Army Air Forces on December 10, 1941, to serve in World War II. He was killed in action on February 20, 1943 (North Africa). At the time of his death, his rank was first lieutenant. Haines is buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

References[edit]

External links[edit]