Richard DeNeut, a child actor who notably appeared in Hal Roach’s Our Gang series in the 1930s and became a successful photojournalist covering entertainment as an adult died on Tuesday at 84 after suffering pneumonia, kidney disease and congestive heart failure.
DeNeut was recruited when he was just 4 years old to join the Meglin Kiddies troupe of child actors, and soon after was cast in a minor role in the Our Gang comedy films, billed as Dickie De Nuet. He appeared in a total of six Our Gang productions, including the sole Our Gang feature, General Spanky. He also appeared in the films City Without Men, The Song of Bernadette, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Boys’ Ranch.
He left acting behind after his teens, but went on to study at Glendale College followed by UCLA, where he became friends with Carol Burnett. He served in the military following his university studies, and was then hired by Globe Photos. He rose to become West Coast bureau chief, overseeing celebrity photography, and retired after 27 years. He also became an author, and among his literary projects he assisted in developing the autobiography of his friend Dolores Hart, who famously abandoned her acting career at 24 to become a Benedictine nun at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut.
DeNeut is survived by his sister, Patricia, and will be buried at the Abbey of Regina Laudis.