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Billy Barty Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (18) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 25 October 1924Millsboro, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death 23 December 2000Glendale, California, USA  (heart failure)
Birth NameWilliam John Bertanzetti
Height 3' 9" (1.14 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Billy Barty was born William John Bertanzetti on October 25, 1924 in Millsboro, Pennsylvania. He began performing at age three and began making pictures in 1927. He played Mickey Rooney's little brother in the "Mickey McGuire" comedy shorts series. He was equally adept in both comedy and drama, and generally gives an added zest to any production he is associated with. He founded the Little People of America in 1957 and the Billy Barty Foundation in 1975. He possessed an immense talent and energetic charm that added a much needed shot in the arm to many series and films. Billy Barty died at age 76 of heart failure on December 23, 2000 in Glendale, California.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Xeresa@home.com

Spouse (1)

Shirley Bolingbroke (24 February 1962 - 23 December 2000) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (18)

Hospitalized overnight for injuries from a motor scooter accident during a parade. [May 1999]
Founder of Little People of America, a support/advocacy organization for people with dwarfism. Although it has been reported that "no one over 4' 10" may join LPA" this is not correct - it is open to anyone affected by dwarfism (including family, friends, and medical professionals who treat little people). However, people over 4' 10" (i.e. not meeting the medical definition of a dwarf) *were* precluded from holding office in the organization until the late 1980s.
Father of a son, Braden Barty and a daughter, Lori.
His funeral was held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Hollywood, California on December 27, 2000.
Billy died at 9:20 a.m. PST at Glendale Memorial Hospital after a two-week stay with lung and heart problems.
He was a noted crusader for the greater public knowledge and social acceptance of dwarfs and was angered at his contemporary with a similar condition, Hervé Villechaize, for hampering his efforts by publicly insisting that he (Villechaize) was a midget instead.
He hosted his own daily kids television show, Billy Barty's Big Show (1963), where he entertained and informed his viewers and studio audiences in between reruns of The Three Stooges films. It was seen weekday afternoons on KTTV Ch.11 in Hollywood, California from the early to mid 1960s.
In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show, spoke of making a movie about it. When somebody suggested casting Billy Barty, Limbaugh said he was dead; however, the next day, Barty, who admitted he listened to Limbaugh's show regularly but had missed it that day, called in to prove otherwise.
Has a granddaughter, Tina.
He was on the Board with former President George Bush to help pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Audio book: "Highlights from Within Reach", available only from the official website. [October 2005]
Majored in journalism at L.A. City College and was both sports editor and public relations director of the "L.A. Collegian" newspaper.
Had an admirable college career in sports: He played both football and basketball, plus ran 50 yards in 7.2 seconds.
Los Angeles KRTH-FM Radio News Director Steve Fredericks once asked the 3-foot, 10-inch-tall actor in an interview whether, if he could suddenly become a "big" person, if he would choose that. After a long and thoughtful pause, Barty said, "No... because I've made all the adjustments.".
Said one of his major pet peeves was when people would try to pick him up as though he were a child.
Ironically, in 1990 producer/writer William Winckler sued Billy Barty in Small Claims Court in Van Nuys, California for money that was owed him on the comedy series "Short Ribbs" (1989), and Winckler won the case against Barty. The press had a "field day" with all the publicity, stories ran through AP, UPI, The Daily News, ABC-TV News Los Angeles by reporter Joe McMann, and news swept throughout the country. Stories of Billy Barty being sued in Small Claims Court appeared in nearly every newspaper in the United States and internationally, on radio news shows, and covered by television news stations. Entertainment Tonight ran a story on Billy Barty being taken to small claims court. Barty himself said it was the most negative publicity he ever had in his life, with headlines such as "Small Billy Barty in Small Claims", "Barty Comes Up Short in Small Claims", etc. Barty added that he got nearly as much publicity as Zsa Zsa Gabor did for slapping a Beverly Hills police officer around the same time (1990). "Short Ribbs" writer Warren Taylor also sued Barty in Small Claims Court and won this case as well.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6922 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on July 1, 1981.
Billy Barty's eldest Nephew Michael Copeland and Michael's wife Debra produced a 236 page Bio-Tribute Book in 2002 entitled "Within Reach - An Inspirational Journey into the Life, Legacy and Influence of Billy Barty". Ironically after they started the project, they were contacted by Peter Jones Productions informing them A&E had assigned them to produce a "Biography" program about Billy's life and asked for help with information and family contacts.

Personal Quotes (5)

The name of my condition is Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia, but you can just call me Billy.
The general public thinks all little people are in circuses or sideshows. We have doctors, nurses, just about every field covered.
[from a 1988 interview] I've never looked at acting as "Ahhh!" and "Gee!" I started in vaudeville when I was five and for me it was just walking on a stage and I'm gonna perform. Later on I was impressed by many things, like when I worked with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in Tough Guys (1986). That was an "Ahhh!" for me. When I look back, even today, I guess I can go "Ahhh!" because I worked with Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell in Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933) when I was nine. Then they were just grown-ups on the stage. As I look back, I'm more awed now than I was when I was actually doing it.
The hardest thing is to erase from minds the stereotypes that people have about people of short stature. You don't see any little people doing newscasts, you don't see any doing sports writing, you don't see any sports announcing, you don't see any coaches, but there are little people who are capable of doing these things, who have proven themselves.
That's where it starts and sometimes finishes. My parents never told me I was small, so I never knew any better. They had to sign for me to play football and basketball, but they never said, "No, you can't. You're too small." I'm not the only one who has proved little people can get along in a big world. There are other little people out there who are doctors, lawyers, school teachers, electronics engineers.

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