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Eugene Gordon Lee

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eugene Gordon Lee
Porky250.jpeg
Eugene Gordon Lee as Porky
Born
Eugene Gordon Lee

(1933-10-25)October 25, 1933
DiedOctober 16, 2005(2005-10-16) (aged 71)
Other namesGordon Lee
Eugene Gordon Lee
OccupationChild actor
Years active1935–1939
Spouse(s)? (?–1971)[1]
Partner(s)Janice McClain (1992–2005) (his death)[2]
Children1

Eugene Gordon Lee (October 25, 1933 – October 16, 2005) was an American child actor, most notable for appearing in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) comedies as Porky from 1935 to 1939. During his tenure in Our Gang, Porky originated the catchphrase "O-tay!", though it is commonly attributed to fellow character Buckwheat, played by Billie Thomas

Early life

Eugene Lee was born in Fort Worth, Texas and was adopted.[3]

Career

Our Gang

Lee began performing in motion pictures in 1935, after producer Hal Roach noted how much the eighteen-month-old toddler looked like Our Gang star Spanky McFarland (who was also from Texas). The Lee family traveled from Texas to Culver City, California. Nicknamed "Porky" by the studio, Eugene Lee joined the cast as Spanky's little brother. Porky appeared in 42 Our Gang comedies over four years.[3] Lee, McFarland, and Our Gang co-stars Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas, and Darla Hood constituted what is today the most familiar incarnation of Our Gang.

This group moved from Hal Roach Studios to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1938 after Roach sold the series. When Lee grew several inches in height during early 1939 (to the point that the five-year-old was the same height as ten-year-old McFarland), MGM replaced him with Mickey Gubitosi, later better known by the stage name of Robert Blake.

Educator

After leaving the series, Lee retired from motion pictures, and entered public school. As an adult, he became an alternative school educator at Broomfield High School in Colorado. Lee changed his name to Gordon Lee (naming himself after his favorite Our Gang director, Gordon Douglas) to avoid any connection with his former acting career.

Embracing his acting career

In the early 1980s, Lee began appearing at Little Rascals reunions and began a business selling "Porky"-related merchandise. Finally embracing his past, Lee was known to tell Our Gang fans "we are relics of history."[4]

Personal life and death

After retiring from education, Lee moved to Minnesota's Twin Cities[3] to be closer to his son, Douglas.

Janice McClain was his partner for his final 13 years.[3]

On October 16, 2005 after battling lung cancer and brain cancer, he died at the age of 71, nine days before his 72nd birthday.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ Styx, Katrina (January 22, 2014). "Remembering Porky: 'Little Rascals' actor's son now lives in Hastings". River Towns. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  2. ^ McLellan, Dennis (October 23, 2005). "Gordon Lee, 71; Porky of 'Our Gang' Fame". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Gordon Lee, a Little Rascal, is dead at 71. He was unemployed by age 6, and he suppressed knowledge of his film career for much of his life". Star Tribune. October 22, 2005. Retrieved 2012-09-25 – via newsbank.com. For much of his life, Gordon Lee kept quiet about having played "Porky" in 42 films about Spanky and Our Gang, also known as the Little Rascals. But in recent years, Lee, who had lived in the Twin Cities since about 1993, went public with his childhood stardom and enjoyed it. He died Sunday of cancer, said Janice McClain, his partner of 13 years. He would have been 72 on Tuesday, said his friend Tracy Tolzmann of Sunrise, Minn. Born in Fort Worth ...
  4. ^ Maltin, Leonard and Bann, Richard W. (1977, rev. 1992). The Little Rascals: The Life and Times of Our Gang, p. 272. New York: Crown Publishing/Three Rivers Press. ISBN 0-517-58325-9

External links

This page was last edited on 19 April 2021, at 18:38
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