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1930s & Earlier / Our Gang - Porky
Eugene Lee played Porky in 42 Our Gang movies from 1935 through 1939. Born in 1933, Lee was spotted by a Hal Roach talent scout in Dallas who thought Lee resembled established Our Gang star Spanky McFarland, who also came from Dallas. Someone associated with Roach dubbed Lee 'Porky,' and he became part of the Our Gang troupe at age two. Porky's character seldom said more than one or two lines per movie. Still, it was Porky who first said 'Otay!' instead of 'Okay!' although Buckwheat seems to be more famous for its use. Porky had the good fortune of being part of the heyday of the Our Gang shorts. However, his career with the troupe came to an abrupt end when he grew five inches in 1939--and the not-quite-six-year-old was nearly as tall as 11-year-old Spanky. He was replaced by Mickey Gubitosi in the troupe. For a while Porky distanced himself from his childhood acting exploits, even to the point of legally altering his name to Eugene Gordon Lee. As an adult, Lee had a successful career as an educator. Lee had a change of heart in later years and embraced his fame as Porky. He frequently attended cast reunions and conventions. He even manufactured and sold Porky-themed memorabilia. Lee died of brain and lung cancer a few days before his 72nd birthday in 2005.