February 15, 1947|
Tenafly, Bergen County
New Jersey, USA
January 18, 1990 (aged 42)|
DeRidder, Beauregard Parish
|Years active||1953 – 1971|
Rusty Hamer (February 15, 1947 – January 18, 1990) was an American television actor best known for his role as Rusty Williams in the popular NBC/CBS situation comedy The Danny Thomas Show also known as Make Room for Daddy.
Born in Tenafly in Bergen County in northeastern New Jersey, a suburb of New York City, Hamer grew up on TV as Rusty Williams, Danny Thomas's freckle-faced son on Make Room for Daddy. As a five-year-old actor, his wisecracking behavior made him a popular character during the airing of the 351 episodes of the program. Thomas, who occasionally could be spotted trying not to crack up in Hamer's scenes, would later publicly praise the child's extraordinary comic timing.
Hamer attempted a brief return to show business in 1970 as a married medical student in the show Make Room for Grandaddy, a sequel of Make Room for Daddy, but the show was canceled after one season. He appeared occasionally in bit parts on television shows such as CBS's Green Acres, starring Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor, but roles became increasingly sporadic. Hamer eventually moved to Louisiana where he worked as a short order cook.
On January 18, 1990, Hamer died at the age of forty-two of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in DeRidder, the seat of Beauregard Parish in southwestern Louisiana. Hamer's suicide raised awareness of the potential mental fragility of child performers. It inspired fellow child actor Paul Petersen, formerly of ABC's The Donna Reed Show, to establish the support group, "A Minor Consideration," which seeks to improve working conditions for young actors and assists former child stars in making the transition from past fame to adult life.
|1953||Fort Ti||Jed's Nephew||Uncredited|
|1953 to 1964||Make Room for Daddy||Rusty Williams||323 episodes|
|1954||Four Star Playhouse||Dickie||Episode: "Vote of Confidence"|
|1954||Shower of Stars||Rusty||Episode: "Entertainment on Wheels"|
|1956||Dance with Me, Henry||Duffer|
|1958||The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour||Rusty Williams||Episode: "Lucy Makes Room for Danny"|
|1958||Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse||Rusty Williams||Episode: "Lucy Makes Room for Danny"|
|1958||The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford||Himself||Episode #3.13|
|1961||The Red Skelton Show||Guest drummer||Episode #10.12|
|1965||The Joey Bishop Show||Rusty Williams||3 episodes|
|1967||The Danny Thomas Hour||Rusty||Episode: "Make More Room for Daddy"|
|1969||Green Acres||Alfred||Episode: "Oliver's Schoolgirl Crush"|
|1970 to 1971||Make Room for Granddaddy||Rusty Williams||24 episodes|
- ↑ Kubey, Robert William (2004). Creating Television: Conversations With the People Behind 50 Years Of American TV. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. pp. 387. ISBN 0-805-81077-3.
- ↑ Associated Press. " Rusty Hamer, Actor, 42", The New York Times, January 20, 1990. Accessed December 17, 2007.
- ↑ "In Ten Year's Time". minorcon.org. http://www.minorcon.org/tenyearstime.html. Retrieved 2009-10-03.