Jackie Lynn (Jacqueline) Taylor: Rascal for a Year

Jackie Lynn Taylor (Jacqueline Taylor, 1925-2014) was a child actress and local television personality. She is best known for appearing in several Our Gang shorts, usually playing a character named Jane. With Our Gang, she ‘s in Hi, Neighbor!, For Pete’s Sake, The First Round Up, Washee Ironee, and Shrimps for a Day, all released in 1934. She also appeared in two Laurel and Hardy films, Fra Diavolo (1933), and Babes in Toyland (1934), as well as Eddie Cantor’s Kid Millions (1934). A 1934 screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Men was the last film of the childhood phase of her career.

By age ten, she was deemed too tall for little girl parts and ceased to get cast in films. (Darla Hood is said to be her replacement in the Little Rascals line up). In 1948 she married actor/acting teacher Ben Bard, a union that was to last until 1954. Meanwhile, she’d broken into local television then in its infancy. Starting in 1951, she worked in television in local markets (mostly Southern California cities) for over three decades, as a reporter, news anchor, and host of talk and variety programs. In the mid ’60s she married Jack Fries, a former CBS journalist, anchor and producer. In the ’70s and ’80s, the two collaborated on a show called Little Rascals Family Theatre, which Taylor hosted, introducing the classic shorts to new audiences. She also continued to act in live theatre. She was nominated for two Joseph Jefferson awards for two productions she appeared in in Chicago, Joplin (1977), and Dame Lorraigne (1981). Taylor and Fries became ordained ministers in the mid ’70s, and spent much of their final years preaching and doing charitable work.

For more on Our Gang, please check out my 100th anniversary podcast episode here.