|Harold "Slim" Switzer|
Harold Frederick Switzer|
January 16, 1925
Paris, Illinois, U.S.
April 14, 1967 (aged 42)|
Glendale, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Harold Frederick Switzer (January 16, 1925 – April 14, 1967) was an American child actor, most notable for appearing in the Our Gang short subjects series as an extra. He was the older brother of gang member Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer, one of the series' most popular and best-remembered characters.
Early life and family
Switzer was born in Paris, Illinois, the first son of Gladys C. Shanks and George Frederick Switzer. He and younger brother Carl became famous around their hometown for their musical talent and performances; both sang and played a number of instruments.
The Switzers took a trip to California in 1934 to visit with family members. While sightseeing they eventually wound up at Hal Roach Studios. Following a public tour of the facility, 8-year-old Harold and 6-year-old Carl entered into the Hal Roach Studio's public cafeteria, the Our Gang Café, and began an impromptu performance. Producer Hal Roach was present at the commissary that day and was impressed by the performance. He signed both Switzers to appear in Our Gang. Harold was given two nicknames, "Slim" and "Deadpan," and Carl was dubbed "Alfalfa."
The Switzer brothers first appeared in the 1935 Our Gang short, Beginner's Luck. By the end of the year, Carl was one of the main characters in the series, while Harold had more or less been relegated to the role of a background player. Both Carl and Harold outgrew the series by 1940, with Slim's last appearance in The New Pupil.
Adult years and death
Though not saddled with the same problems his younger brother was faced with due to being typecast as a "child star," Harold had his own problems. For several years, he operated a Speed Queen Company franchise, installing and servicing washers and dryers. In 1967, after killing a customer over a dispute, Switzer drove himself to a remote area near Glendale, California and committed suicide. He was 42.
Swtizer was married to Beverly Osso for over 10 years. The union brought three children: Judith Ann, Tony Frederick and Teddy Berton. Switzer also fathered a child with a Miss Rose named Gladys Lavon.
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