Billy Lee, a child star of the 1930s and '40s probably best known for his starring role in "The Biscuit Eater," a beloved film about two boys and a dog, has died in Beaumont, Calif., of heart failure.
Daily Variety reported in its Tuesday editions that Lee had died last Friday of heart failure in San Gorgonio Hospital. He was 60.
From 1934 ("Wagon Wheels") to 1943 ("War Dogs"), Lee appeared in pictures with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Randolph Scott, Jack Benny, Donald O'Connor and George Burns and Gracie Allen.
For "Cocoanut Grove" in 1938, a story of Fred MacMurray's excursion boat band making it to the big time in Los Angeles, he learned to play the drums. That led him to form the Billie Lee Band. He also was a dancer and toured in vaudeville.
Besides 1940's "The Biscuit Eater" (remade by Disney with a new cast in 1972), Lee was seen in "Hold Back the Dawn," "Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch," "Sons of the Legion," "Boy Trouble" and "Night Work."
Early in his career he also was seen in the "Our Gang" film series.
Lee, whose real name was Billy Lee Schlensker, is survived by his wife, Madeleine, three daughters, a son and seven grandchildren.