Jackie Lynn Taylor, who played one of the Little Rascals in the beloved Our Gang films in the 1930s before becoming a TV anchor and, later, a church minister, has died at 88.
She passed away Monday and had been battling Alzheimer’s disease, her husband, Jack Fries, told the Sacramento Bee.
Born Jacqueline Devon Taylor in the summer of 1925, she won a child beauty pageant in Long Beach, Calif., before her mother, a nurse, took her to a Hollywood casting call.
When she was 9, Taylor played the female lead in five Our Gang movies released in 1934. She memorably played Jane, the girlfriend of gang leader Wally Albright, in Hi-Neighbor, a film of which she was particularly proud.
“We didn’t have scripts,” she told the Bee in 2000. “We were kids who worked together, who played together and who went to school together. We weren’t great actors, but we got along.”
“I think that being a member of the Rascals has kept me young,” she added.
Taylor later got into television news, becoming a co-host at various California stations in the 1950s and doing so well that she was brought in to guest host NBC’s Today show for a week.
In the 1970s, she and her husband moved to Missouri and became ministers in the nondenominational Unity Church. They led congregations in Missouri, Southern California and Nevada until 1993, when they returned to Sacramento.
There, they ministered in retirement communities, where Taylor liked talking to seniors about her Hollywood days – though she never dwelled on the past.
“It’s fine to look back,” she once told the Bee, “but you have to move forward and live in the present.”