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Place of Death
Cause of Death
Contracted Accute Hepatitis after Minor Surgery
Claim to Fame
`Darla` in the Our Gang Series
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Profile Bio Text
Darla made an unplanned singing debut at the Edison Hotel in Times Square, and the crowd roared in appreciation. A Hal Roach agent spotted her, tested her, and signed her to a seven-year contract at $75 a week. She was just 4 years old when she joined the Our Gang series. Hood made her debut in The Bohemian Girl with Laurel and Hardy. From 1935 to 1941, she played Darla in Our Gang, debuting in the 1935 film Our Gang Follies of 1936. Her coquettish character typically was the love interest of Alfalfa, Butch, or (usually) Waldo. One of her most memorable moments was singing a romantic song entitled "I`m in the Mood for Love" in The Pinch Singer.
When she outgrew her role in Our Gang, she appeared in a couple of other movies and attended school in Los Angeles. While at Fairfax High School, she organized a vocal group called the Enchanters with four boys. Shortly after graduation, the quartet was booked by producer and star Ken Murray for his famous "Blackouts", a stage variety show. The group remained with Murray`s Blackouts during its long run in New York and Hollywood.
Hood then went out on her own with singing engagements in nightclubs and guest appearances on TV. She was a regular on The Ken Murray Show from 1950 to 1951. In 1955, she was a leading lady in the act of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. She had a hit record in 1957, "I Just Wanna Be Free," and appeared in the movie Calypso Heat Wave singing a duet with Johnny Desmond. She also recorded two songs with the Ray Whitaker Orchestra, "Only Yours" and "Silent Island," for RayNote Records.
In January 1959, she released a new record, Quiet Village. Joe Rivkin, who discovered her as a child, saw the cover and cast her in her final film role, which was also her first adult role in a movie. She played a secretary in the suspense drama The Bat with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead.
Hood was a guest on such TV shows of the early 1960s as Tell It to Groucho starring Groucho Marx and The Jack Benny Show, where she appeared on October 30, 1962 as "Darla" in a spoof of the old Our Gang shows with Jack Benny (who appeared as Alfalfa). She did singing and voice-over on TV commercials, which included Campbell Soup and Chicken of the Sea tuna. She appeared in her own nightclub act at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, the Copacabana in New York, and the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
During the 1960s and 1970s, she went to many Our Gang/Little Rascals festivals and conventions, meeting and greeting the various generations of fans.
Hood was busy organizing a 1980 Little Rascals reunion for the Los Angeles Chapter of The Sons of the Desert when she underwent minor surgery at a North Hollywood hospital. Following the procedure, Hood contracted acute hepatitis and died suddenly on June 13, 1979. She was 47. The Our Gang community was stunned at Hood`s unexpected passing. Fellow Our Gang member Billie "Buckwheat" Thomas said, "I hate to hear it. It`s a shock. She was an awfully nice person, a fine woman. We got along real good as kids." A little over a year later, Thomas died as well.
Darla Hood is interred at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood.
Fairfax High School, Los Angeles, California
Full Name at Birth
Darla Jean Hood
Her powerful singing voice!
Darla Jean Hood (November 8, 1931 - June 13, 1979) was an American child actress, best known as the leading lady in the Our Gang series from 1935 to 1941. She was born in Leedey, Oklahoma, the only child of music teacher Elizabeth Davner, and James Claude Hood, who worked in a bank.
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Film actress child actress singer
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