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Jean Darling of 'Our Gang' fame dead at 93

The American actress was born Dorothy Jean LeVake on Aug. 23, 1922.

By
Annie Martin
Jean Darling (L) with Murvyn Vye and Eric Mattson in 'Carousel.' Photo courtesy of Rodgers & Hammerstein
Jean Darling (L) with Murvyn Vye and Eric Mattson in 'Carousel.' Photo courtesy of Rodgers & Hammerstein

RODERMARK, Germany, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- American actress Jean Darling has died at the age of 93.

The star's son, Roy Bowen, told The Hollywood Reporter his mother died in a nursing facility in Rodermark, Germany, on Friday. Friend and actor Rene Riva also confirmed the news to the New York Times, saying Darling recently fought a lung infection.

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Darling, born Dorothy Jean LeVake in Santa Monica, Calif., in August 1922, was cast at age 4 in Hal Roach's silent Our Gang film shorts. She was one of four surviving cast members who worked during the series' silent era.

The actress went on to portray young Jane Eyre in a 1934 film adaptation of the Charlotte Bronte novel. She later played Carrie Pipperidge in the original Broadway production of Carousel, and appeared in more than 850 performances.

"One only has to look at the remarkable YouTube clip of her singing 'Mister Snow' in 2012 - at age 90 - to get a glimpse of what a great performance she must have given in 1945," Rodgers & Hammerstein president Ted Chapin said in a statement.

Darling married Reuben Bowen, aka Karjar the Magician, in 1954, and settled in Dublin, Ireland, after they ended their 19-year marriage. Bowen died of cancer in August 1980, and the actress is survived by their son Roy and two grandsons.

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