Darro, Frankie

Frankie Darro

Born: 22 Dec 1917, Chicago, Illinois as Frank Johnson
Died: 25 Dec 1976, Huntington Beach, California

Frankie Darro attended Lawlor Professional School. At the time he was a well-known child actor.

Even child actors were expected to get some kind of an education, and Frankie received at least some of his at a well-known Hollywood institution called Lawlor’s. The Lawlor Professional School was an unaccredited educational establishment which catered to the Hollywood industry. Here child stars could attend classes between movies (in addition to their required amount of schooling while working on pictures). Some child stars felt out of place in public school, but they felt right at home in Lawlor’s amongst their fellow juvenile thespians. Diana Serra Cary reports in her book Hollywood’s Children that Viola F. Lawlor, the head of the school, considered herself a good disciplinarian, but her authority melted when it came to Mickey Rooney and Frankie Darro, who would sometimes stage impromptu performances for their fellow students. The woman even confided to Diana that she spoiled Frankie because she felt so sorry for him. Frankie lived with his father and his mother now lived in the apartment house across from the school. After that, Diana watched for Mrs. Darro and would sure enough see the woman’s face appear from behind the drawn curtain of the apartment window across the street, watching for her son when school let out every day. Touched by the fact that Frankie was so typical of the child stars who were supporting their parents, Diana told him she was interested in writing his life story. He agreed to cooperate and during several sessions poured out his life story to her, but eventually he lost interest in the project (she reports Frankie had a short attention span, which was not uncommon for young actors).

From the 1935 Lawlor Professionals:
Frankie Darro is listed in this Lawlor Professional School casting book under “Some Stars who have attended our School.”

From the December 3, 1936 Lawlor Journal:
HATS OFF TO – – Jay Ward, Gene Meredith, Harry Woods, Andy Currie and Frankie Darro, for their splendid playing in our recent football game. Jack Brown, for organizing the group and “holding” them together.

Links to other resources about Frankie Darro:

The Frankie Darro Home Page (fan site):
http://members.aol.com/darrofan/

Internet Movie Database listing:
http://imdb.com/name/nm0201660/