Shirley Jean Rickert

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Shirley Jean Rickert
Born (1926-03-25)March 25, 1926
Seattle, Washington
Died February 6, 2009(2009-02-06) (aged 82)
Saratoga Springs, New York
Occupation Child actress
Exotic Dancer
Years active 1927–1952

Shirley Jean Rickert (March 25, 1926 – February 6, 2009) was an American child actress who was briefly the "blonde girl" for the Our Gang series in 1931, during the Hal Roach talkie period.

Career[edit]

At 18 months of age, Rickert won a local baby beauty contest, which emboldened her mother to move the family to Hollywood.[1] She made her screen debut at the age of four in the short How's My Baby (1930), soon followed by her Our Gang debut, Helping Grandma in 1931.[2] Rickert's most notable appearances were in the films Love Business and Bargain Day, in which her spit-curls were the centerpiece of her precocious performance.

After Rickert left the Our Gang series, she had a brief movie career, including starring roles as Tomboy Teri Taylor alongside Mickey Rooney in eight Mickey McGuire comedies,[3] followed by a string of jobs including driving trucks for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. She later worked in burlesque as an exotic dancer, billed as Gilda and Her Crowning Glory (after her long blonde hair),[3][4][5] retiring from burlesque in 1959.[2]

People are so amazed to hear I went from movies into burlesque. Well, I'll tell you, I prefer burlesque because it's not so immoral as the movie business.

— Shirley Jean Rickert, 1955 news article[4]

In the mid-1970s, she became a traveling saleswoman for industrial hardware, surprising potential clients with her starring roles in Our Gang.[3] Later, she performed in local theater productions, helped to maintain a Web fansite, and made occasional public appearances. She also sold her crafts at a local shop with her daughter's family.[3]

Death[edit]

Rickert died in a nursing home on February 6, 2009 after a long illness.[3]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Series
1930 How's My Baby The Baby
Night Work uncredited orphan
Follow Thru uncredited child
1931 Helping Grandma Shirley Our Gang
Love Business
Little Daddy
The Stolen Jools
Bargain Day Shirley Our Gang
Fly My Kite
1932 Love Pains uncredited girl
Once in a Lifetime
1933 Mickey's Touchdown Tomboy Taylor Mickey McGuire
Mickey's Tent Show
Mickey's Covered Wagon
1934 Mickey's Minstrels
Mickey's Rescue
Mickey's Medicine Man
The Scarlet Letter Humility Crakstone
I'll Fix It uncredited girl
'Neath the Arizona Skies Nina
One Hour Late uncredited girl
1935 Straight from the Heart
The Drunkard Julia
I Live My Life uncredited child
1936 Crash Donovan
1940 Five Little Peppers in Trouble Kiki Five Little Peppers
1942 The Major and the Minor uncredited student
Get Hep to Love
1943 Best Foot Forward uncredited dancer
In Old Oklahoma
aka War of the Wildcats
1944 Meet the People
1946 If I'm Lucky
1947 Good News
1951 Royal Wedding
1952 The Pace That Thrills uncredited girl
Singin' in the Rain uncredited dancer
1953 The A-B-Cs of Love Gilda
1954 The Human Jungle uncredited stripper

References[edit]

  1. ^ Shirley Jean Rickert. "An Interview With ..." (Interview). Interview with Mike Fitzgerald. Western Clippings. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Shirley Jean Rickert". The Telegraph. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Shirley Jean Rickert, 82, 'Our Gang' Star, Dies". The New York Times. The Associated Press. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Mosby, Aline (23 July 1955). "Children's 'New' TV Favorite Is 1930 Antique Movie Series". Madera Tribune. UP. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  5. ^ McLellan, Dennis (12 February 2009). "Shirley Jean Rickert dies at 82; child star of 'Our Gang' comedies". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 

External links[edit]