Rusty Hamer
Born February 15, 1947 (1947-02-15) (age 70)
Tenafly, Bergen County
New Jersey, USA
Died January 18, 1990(1990-01-18) (aged 42)
DeRidder, Beauregard Parish
Louisiana, USA
Occupation Actor
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.



Rusty hamer sherry jackson 1955

Hamer and Sherry Jackson, 1955.

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.[citation needed]

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.[1]


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.[2] 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.[3]

For his contribution to television Hamer earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located on 6323 Hollywood Boulevard.


Year Title Role Notes
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


  1. 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. 
  2. Associated Press. " Rusty Hamer, Actor, 42", The New York Times, January 20, 1990. Accessed December 17, 2007.
  3. "In Ten Year's Time". Retrieved 2009-10-03. 

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