BILLIE THOMAS Biography - Other artists & entretainers


Biography » other artists entretainers » billie thomas


Billie Thomas (William Thomas, Jr.) (March 12 1931 - October 10 1980) was an African-American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 to 1944.


He was born on March 12 1931 in Los Angeles, California.


After Our Gang was discontinued in 1944, Thomas got some small parts in other films, but soon left show business all together. As an adult, he worked as a film lab technician with the Technicolor corporation.


Although the character he played was often the subject of controversy, Thomas always defended his work in the series, pointing out the fact that Buckwheat and the rest of the black Our Gang kids were treated as being equal with the white kids in the series.


He died of complications from a heart attack on October 10 1980 in Los Angeles, California. He was 49 years old.


Exactly one year after Thomas died, his character was parodied by Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live in a story line where Buckwheat is the subject of an assassination attempt in which the killer is, ultimately, Alfalfa. While the sketch was one of Murphy’s most famous, he was forced to issue a statement of apology to Thomas’ family because of the unintentional bad timing.