Donald Haines

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.

Donald Haines
Haines in School's Out.
Born(1919-05-09)May 9, 1919
DiedFebruary 20, 1943(1943-02-20) (aged 23)
Cause of deathKilled in action
OccupationChild actor
Years active1929–1941

Early years

Haines was born in Seward County, Nebraska, the son of Karl and Nola Haines. Their family moved to California when he was 9 years old.[1]

Our Gang

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 him giggling his way through his lines. He was intended to originally be a full-time character playing the tough guy and was cast as such in The First Seven Years, opposite Jackie Cooper. 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. 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.

Haines left Paramount to return to Hal Roach Studios just in time for the 1931-32 season. 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.

Later career

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 the film version of A Tale of Two Cities.


Haines enlisted as an aviation cadet in the United States Army Air Forces on December 10, 1941, to serve in World War II.[1] He was killed in action on February 20, 1943 in North Africa. At the time of his death, his rank was first lieutenant. Haines is buried in Inglewood Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.

Selected filmography

Our Gang

Other films


  1. Wagner, Laura (May 2019). "Donald Haines". Classic Images (527): 62–63.


  • Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995, Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p. 89.
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