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Darla Hood - JPop.com
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Darla Hood

Darla Hood

Darla Hood


Darla Jean Hood (November 8, 1931 - June 13, 1979) was an American child actress, best known as the leading lady in the Our Gang series from 1935 to 1941. She released a dozen singles in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including "My Quiet Village", a vocal rendition of the exotica classic by Les Baxter. Darla Hood was born in Leedey, Oklahoma, the only child of music teacher Elizabeth Davner, and James Claude Hood, who worked in a bank. Hood's mother introduced her to singing and dancing at an early age, taking her to lessons in Oklahoma City. Read more on Last.fm
Darla Jean Hood (November 8, 1931 - June 13, 1979) was an American child actress, best known as the leading lady in the Our Gang series from 1935 to 1941. She released a dozen singles in the late 1950s and early 1960s, including "My Quiet Village", a vocal rendition of the exotica classic by Les Baxter. Darla Hood was born in Leedey, Oklahoma, the only child of music teacher Elizabeth Davner, and James Claude Hood, who worked in a bank. Hood's mother introduced her to singing and dancing at an early age, taking her to lessons in Oklahoma City. Just after her third birthday she was taken to New York City, where she was seen by Joe Rivkin, a casting director for Hal Roach Studios, who arranged a screen test.

She was then taken to Culver City, California, to appear in the Our Gang movies. When she outgrew her role in Our Gang, Hood appeared in several other movies and attended school in Los Angeles. While at Fairfax High School, she organized a vocal group called the Enchanters with four boys. Shortly after graduation, the quartet was booked by producer and star Ken Murray for his famous "Blackouts", a stage variety show.

The group remained with Murray's Blackouts during its long run in New York and Hollywood. Darla Hood then went solo with singing engagements in nightclubs and guest appearances on TV. She was a regular on The Ken Murray Show from 1950 to 1951. In 1955, she was a leading lady in the act of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen. In 1957, Darla was a regular performer on The Merv Griffin Show for the American Broadcasting Network.

Other credits that year include a hit record, "I Just Wanna Be Free." and a duet with Johnny Desmond in the Sam Katzman movie "Calypso Heat Wave." Between 1959 and 1962 she recorded several singles for the small Ray Note and Acama labels In January 1959 Hood released a new record, ''My Quiet Village" (Ray Note Records). Joe Rivkin, who discovered her as a child, saw the cover and cast her in her final film role, her first adult role in a movie: she played a secretary in the suspense drama The Bat with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead. Hood was a guest on such TV shows of the early 1960s as Tell It to Groucho and The Jack Benny Show, where she appeared on October 30, 1962 as "Darla" in a spoof of the Our Gang comedies with Jack Benny (who appeared as Alfalfa), and The Charlotte Peters Show in St. Louis.

She did singing and voice-over on TV commercials, which included Campbell Soup and Chicken of the Sea tuna. She was also featured in The Little Rascals Christmas Special (1979) as the voice of Spanky and Porky's mother. She appeared in her own nightclub act at the Coconut Grove in Los Angeles, the Copacabana in New York, and the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hood was busy organizing the 1980 Little Rascals reunion for the Los Angeles Chapter of The Sons of the Desert when she underwent an appendectomy at Canoga Park Hospital, Canoga Park, California.

After the procedure, she died suddenly of heart failure on June 13, 1979, at age 47. An autopsy disclosed that Hood had contracted acute hepatitis from a blood transfusion given during the operation, leading to her death. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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