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1930s & Earlier / Chubby - Our Gang
In 1929 Norman (Chubbby) Chaney replaced Joe Cobb as the resident fat boy in the popular Hal Roach-produced Our Gang comedies when they went from silents to talkies. Chaney was supposed to be 11 years old at the time, but later research revealed he was actually born in 1914 rather than 1918. (The 1920 Baltimore census lists him as a six-year-old.) Chaney made 19 Our Gang shorts through 1931 after which his contract was not renewed. He never acted again. Suffering from a glandular condition, Chaney never grew beyond 4'11". His weight ballooned to over 300 pounds. In 1935 he underwent a corrective surgical procedure which decreased his weight to less than 140 pounds. His health was severely affected, though. Chaney died from myocarditis in 1936 at the age of 21. For 76 years Chaney was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave in a Baltimore cemetery--until fans raised $4000 for a granite headstone in 2012.