Rusty Hamer

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Rusty Hamer
Rusty hamer sherry jackson 1955.JPG
Hamer and Sherry Jackson in 1955
Born Russell Craig Hamer
(1947-02-15)February 15, 1947
Tenafly, New Jersey, U.S.
Died January 18, 1990(1990-01-18) (aged 42)
DeRidder, Louisiana, U.S.
Cause of death
Self-inflicted gunshot wound
Occupation Actor
Years active 1953–1971

Russell Craig "Rusty" Hamer (February 15, 1947 – January 18, 1990) was an American actor best known for his role as Rusty Williams in the popular ABC/CBS situation comedy The Danny Thomas Show (also known as Make Room for Daddy).


Born in Tenafly, New Jersey,[1] Hamer grew up on television as Rusty Williams, Danny Thomas's freckle-faced son on Make Room for Daddy. The series ran for a total of 351 episodes until its demise in 1964.

After the series ended, Hamer appeared occasionally in bit parts on television shows such as CBS's Green Acres, starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, but roles became increasingly sporadic. Hamer attempted a brief return to show business in 1970 as a married medical student in the ABC series, Make Room for Grandaddy, a sequel of Make Room for Daddy, but the program was canceled after one season. Hamer eventually moved to southwestern Louisiana where he worked on an off-shore oil rig and later as a short order cook in his brother's cafe.[2][3][4]

On February 8, 1960 Hamer was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work in television. Hamer's star is located at 6323 Hollywood Boulevard.[5]


On January 18, 1990, Hamer shot himself in the head with a .357 Magnum revolver. He died at the age of forty-two in DeRidder, Louisiana, where he had relocated in 1976 to be near his ailing mother.[6] [2]

John Hamer, the actor's brother, explains the tragedy:

He was a very unhappy, very confused young man. No one does something like that if he isn't confused. I've heard of a lot of child actors who have become unhappy with their lives after they've left the industry.[7]

Hamer's suicide raised awareness of the potential mental fragility of child performers and inspired fellow former child actor Paul Petersen, formerly of ABC's The Donna Reed Show, to establish the support group "A Minor Consideration," which seeks to improve working conditions for young actors and assists former child stars in making the transition from past fame to adult life.[8]


Year Title Role Notes
1953 Fort Ti Jed's Nephew Uncredited
1953 to 1964 Make Room for Daddy Rusty Williams 323 episodes
1954 Four Star Playhouse Dickie Episode: "Vote of Confidence"
1954 Shower of Stars Rusty Episode: "Entertainment on Wheels"
1956 Dance with Me, Henry Duffer
1958 The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour Rusty Williams Episode: "Lucy Makes Room for Danny"
1958 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Rusty Williams Episode: "Lucy Makes Room for Danny"
1958 The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford Himself Episode #3.13
1961 The Red Skelton Show Guest drummer Episode #10.12
1965 The Joey Bishop Show Rusty Williams 3 episodes
1967 The Danny Thomas Hour Rusty Episode: "Make More Room for Daddy"
1969 Green Acres Alfred Episode: "Oliver's Schoolgirl Crush"
1970 to 1971 Make Room for Granddaddy Rusty Williams 24 episodes


  1. ^ Mossman, Jennifer (2001). Almanac of Famous People: Biographies (7 ed.). Gale Research Co. p. 844. ISBN 0-7876-4793-4. 
  2. ^ a b Written at Los Angeles. "Former Child Actor, Hamer, Dies". Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Florida). January 20, 1990. p. 2A. Retrieved February 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ Largo, Michael (2007). The Portable Obituary: How the Famous, Rich, and Powerful Really Died. 0-061-23166-5. HarperCollins. p. 121. 
  4. ^ Kubey, Robert William (2004). Creating Television: Conversations With the People Behind 50 Years Of American TV. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 387. ISBN 0-8058-1077-3. 
  5. ^ "Rusty Hamer". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 
  6. ^ Associated Press. " Rusty Hamer, Actor, 42", The New York Times, January 20, 1990. Accessed December 17, 2007.
  7. ^ "Child television star dies in DeRidder", Minden Press-Herald, January 19, 1990, p. 7A
  8. ^ "In Ten Year's Time". Retrieved 2009-10-03. 

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