Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Delmar Watson: Child Actor, Photographer

Delmar Watson, a member of a large family of child actors who later became a highly regarded news photographer, has passed away at the age of 82.

Watson had at least 65 film credits. His roles included Heidi's friend Peter in the Shirley Temple version of HEIDI (1937) and one of the Hopper boys in MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939). Three of Watson's real-life brothers played his brothers in the latter film.

The best-known of the Watson children might be Bobs, who had a leading role as Pee Wee in BOYS TOWN (1938). Billy, Garry, Harry, Louise, Gloria, and Coy were the other members of the family who acted. Only Vivian seems to have no film credits.

Four of the brothers served as Coast Guard cameramen during World War II. According to the Los Angeles Times: "After the war, all six brothers worked as press, newsreel or television photographers. In the 1940s and '50s, a Watson brother could be found at four of the five Los Angeles metropolitan dailies. The brothers were such infamous pranksters that no newspaper would hire more than one at a time because they feared mayhem would ensue, according to several accounts of the family's history."

The Watson Family Photographic Archive is a fascinating website, headlined "Ten Photographers! One Family! One City! One Century!" The site includes photographs and family biographies.

An older website is here.


Blogger Unknown said...

That's fascinating. I enjoyed Bobs in the two Boys Town films and in his brief role in "In Old Chicago" but I never knew about his siblings.

8:10 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Believe it or not, Billy Watson was one of the O'Leary boys as a child, too. :) Gene Reynolds (later the producer of MASH) was the third.

Best wishes,

9:55 AM  

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