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Mickey Daniels (actor)

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Kornmandaniels

Mary Kornman and Mickey Daniels

Biography

Character: Mickey Daniels
Birthday: October 11, 1914
Place of Birth: Rock Springs, Wyoming
Date of Death: August 20, 1970
Place of Death: San Diego, California
First Short: Our Gang
Last Short: Thundering Fleas
Number of Shorts: 49 (not counting 2 cameos)
History: In the words of Ernie Morrison: "Mickey Daniels was one of the funniest freckle-faced, red-haired boys you will ever find, believe me. Now, I don't say this because I knew him. In fact, it wasn't until after I left the gang and started studying him in motion picture theaters that I realized just how funny he actually was."
One of ten kids, Richard Michael Daniels had been recommended for Our Gang by Gene Kornman, the still photographer for Hal Roach Studios and the father of Mary Kornman. Both the Daniels family and the Kornman family were friends, and the incredibly animated Mickey recieved his first contract with the studio in 1922. His father, Richard Daniels Sr., was a character actor as well, appearing in several of the shorts along with his son. Mickey's brother, Leonard, also worked for the studio in the transportation department for at least twenty years.
After his contract with Our Gang ran out, Mickey attended regular high school during which time he worked in the The Boy Friends series alongside Mary, his Rascals co-stars. Unofficially, the series was possibly meant to be the teenage adventures of the Silent Film Rascals grown up into young adults; several of their co-stars made appearances in the series. They teamed up again two more Our Gang shorts known as Fish Hooky and Reunion In Rhythm where they were paired with their younger counterparts. Mickey worked steadily for Hal Roach after The Boy Friends wrapped, next starring in the inexpensive The Young Friends series. During this time, he lent his face or just his voice through a series of feature films. He was also briefly married to Gertie Messinger, a child actress herself from the Sunshine Kiddies series.
After the war, Mickey became disillusioned with making movies and went to live with his brother, later becoming a part of construction jobs overseas. Something about his film career bothered him to the point that he never spoke about it. He was a part of the construction engineering field in Europe and at Pearl Harbor, a job which later took him to Africa. When he did finally return stateside, he stayed with his brother before heading overseas again. His neice, Marlene Fund, recalls she loved her uncle very much, but his mother would get upset by his carrying on and partying at night that she'd kick him out of the house. His own family recalled Mickey enjoyed drinking, smoking cigars and gambling. In late 1966, an Associated Press reporter tracked Mickey down in Tasmania where he was a materials supervisor for the Bechtel Pacific Corp. at an iron ore mine. Now using the name "Mike Daniels," he was now divorced with his ex-wife, daughter and grandson living in Los Angeles. After that point, the press, his friends and co-stars lost track of him.
In 1991, the missing years of the life of Mike Daniels before his death were finally solved. When he finally returned stateside, he made himself a home out of a San Diego, California motel and acquired quiet employment as a taxi driver for Red Top Taxi Cabs for the last three years of his life. On August 20, 1970, he passed away of cirrhosis in the motel which he called home. As Leonard Maltin discovered for his book, there was no press coverage of this man who once brought laughter to so many children, and sadly, Mickey's cremated remains sat unclaimed for twenty-one years before they were finally recovered.

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