Shirley Jean Rickert

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 early talkie period.

Shirley Jean Rickert
Born(1926-03-25)March 25, 1926
DiedFebruary 6, 2009(2009-02-06) (aged 82)
OccupationChild actress
Exotic Dancer
Years active1927–1952

Career

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]

In Shirley's later years in life she became an elementary school teacher at Nanuet Elementary (Nanuet, NY). She taught the 5th Grade. Shirley shared her love for acting with her many students over the years, including them in trips to Lincoln Center as well as many class plays. To her students she was known as Mrs. Cross. She was every bit as sweet as she was in Our Gang. Mrs. Cross left a lasting impression on all her knew her. And if you are wondering, she did let her students know about her fame ;)

Death

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

Filmography

YearTitleRoleSeries
1930 How's My BabyThe Baby
Night Workuncredited orphan
Follow Thruuncredited child
1931 Helping GrandmaShirleyOur Gang
Love Business
Little Daddy
The Stolen Jools
Bargain DayShirleyOur Gang
Fly My Kite
1932 Love Painsuncredited girl
Once in a Lifetime
1933 Mickey's TouchdownTomboy TaylorMickey McGuire
Mickey's Tent Show
Mickey's Covered Wagon
1934 Mickey's Minstrels
Mickey's Rescue
Mickey's Medicine Man
The Scarlet LetterHumility Crakstone
I'll Fix Ituncredited girl
'Neath the Arizona SkiesNina
One Hour Lateuncredited girl
1935 Straight from the Heart
The DrunkardJulia
I Live My Lifeuncredited child
1936 Crash Donovan
1940 Five Little Peppers in TroubleKikiFive Little Peppers
1942 The Major and the Minoruncredited student
Get Hep to Love
1943 Best Foot Forwarduncredited 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 Thrillsuncredited girl
Singin' in the Rainuncredited dancer
1953 The A-B-Cs of LoveGilda
1954 The Human Jungleuncredited stripper

References

  1. Shirley Jean Rickert. "An Interview With ..." (Interview). Interviewed by Mike Fitzgerald. Western Clippings. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  2. "Shirley Jean Rickert". The Telegraph. 19 February 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  3. "Shirley Jean Rickert, 82, 'Our Gang' Star, Dies". The New York Times. The Associated Press. 12 February 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  4. 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.


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