Known for movies

Short Info

DiedJanuary 21, 1959, Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
SpouseDian Collingwood
MarkOff-key singing of popular (usually Bing Crosby) songs
FactHe died on the same day as Cecil B. DeMille. Coincidentally, one of his final acting roles was an uncredited appearance as a slave in The Ten Commandments (1956), the last film which DeMille directed.

Carl Switzer was born in Paris, Illinois, on August 7, 1927. His parents were Otto Switzer and Edna (née Reifenberg) Switzer. He had two older brothers, Harold and Robert. His early education was at the Paris High School, where he excelled in sports. He was a talented athlete and played football, basketball, and track. After high school, he attended the University of Illinois on an athletic scholarship. He played football for the Illini and was a member of the team that won the 1947 Rose Bowl. He graduated from Illinois in 1951 with a degree in physical education.

Switzer’s career began as a child actor. He appeared in Our Gang (later known as The Little Rascals) from 1929 to 1931. He played the character of Alfalfa, the gang’s leader. In 1935, he appeared in the film Our Gang Follies of 1936. He also had roles in several other films, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1938) and The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939).

After his acting career ended, Switzer became a successful businessman. He owned a real estate company and a construction company. He also worked as a producer and director for television and film. In the 1970s, he directed episodes of the television series The Waltons. He also produced and directed the film The Little Rascals Save the Day (2014), a sequel to the Our Gang films.

Switzer was married three times. His first wife was actress Beverly Washburn, with whom he had two children. His second wife was actress Darlene Conley. His third wife was actress Barbara Stuart. He also had a relationship with actress Marilyn Monroe.

Switzer died on January 21, 1959, in Los Angeles, California, from a gunshot wound. The coroner ruled his death a homicide.

General Info

Full NameCarl Switzer
DiedJanuary 21, 1959, Mission Hills, Los Angeles, California, United States
ProfessionChild actor, Breeder, Guide


SpouseDian Collingwood
ChildrenLance Switzer
ParentsGeorge Frederick Switzer, Gladys C. Shanks
SiblingsHarold Switzer, Janice Genevieve


MoviesThe Defiant Ones, Our Gang Follies of 1938, General Spanky, Beginner's Luck, Hide and Shriek, Gas House Kids, State of the Union, The High and the Mighty, Spooky Hooky, I Love You Again, Arbor Day, Our Gang Follies of 1936, Came the Brawn, There's One Born Every Minute, Rushin' Ballet, Track of the ...
TV ShowsOur Gang

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1Artificially straightened cowlick
2Off-key singing of popular (usually Bing Crosby) songs


1In addition to acting, he worked as a bartender, dog trainer and fishing and hunting guide.
2His marriage lasted four months and produced a son. His family has always kept his son's name secret. His son's name is Justin Lance Collingwood Switzer.
3He had three older siblings, Harold Switzer, Janice "Genness" Genevieve and a brother who died during childhood.
4Despite his trademark off-key singing, in real life he was a very skilled singer.
5In White Christmas (1954), the photo that Vera-Ellen shows to Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye of her brother Bennie is actually a photo of Switzer.
6He died on the same day as Cecil B. DeMille. Coincidentally, one of his final acting roles was an uncredited appearance as a slave in The Ten Commandments (1956), the last film which DeMille directed.
7His father and brother were buried next to him.
8He and his brother Harold Switzer decided to audition for Our Gang but could not gain access into the studio. They went to the Our Gang Cafe and began singing and were quickly signed into Beginner's Luck (1935).
9Distant cousin of David Switzer.
10Was a "problem child" during his tenure in "Our Gang." Switzer was known for staging pranks on both the crew and his fellow child actors (including his on-screen girlfriend Darla Hood, who in real life was apprehensive of Switzer).
11His best friend in the "Our Gang" cast was Tommy Bond, who played his on-screen nemesis Butch.
12His father was often engaged in power struggles with George 'Spanky' McFarland's father (over billing, screen time, star status, etc.). The boys, however, managed to get along fine with one another.
13For all his problems, Switzer did have notable success as an adult as a highly regarded hunting guide, whose regular clientele included Roy Rogers and James Stewart.
14Although one of the most popular members of "Our Gang," Switzer's later life became an almost textbook example of the former child star whose life takes a turn for the worse. Numerous brushes with the law, a broken marriage, and grade-Z film work (when he could get it) all led up to his sudden, violent death in January 1959 at the age of only 31. Eight years later a similar fate befell his brother, actor Harold Switzer, who then operated a company installing and servicing washers and dryers. In April 1967, after killing a customer over a dispute, Switzer drove himself to a remote area near Glendale, California and committed suicide. He was 42.
15Many sources have stated that the image of a dog displayed on his tombstone refers to the hound from the Little Rascals series. This is not, in fact, correct; rather, the image references work as a professional breeder.
16Buried at Hollywood Memorial Park (now Hollywood Forever), 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, California.
17Shot to death by an acquaintance in Mission Hills, California, during an argument over $50 that Switzer felt the acquaintance owed him. The acquaintance pled self-defense, and the judge ruled the death "justifiable homicide." [Source: "The Hollywood Death Book," James Robert Parish, 1992.].
18Was Alfalfa in the "Our Gang" comedies.




The Defiant Ones1958Angus (as Carl Switzer)
Motorcycle Gang1957Speed (as Carl Switzer)
Between Heaven and Hell1956Savage (uncredited)
The Ten Commandments1956Slave (uncredited)
Dig That Uranium1955Shifty Robertson (uncredited)
The Roy Rogers Show1952-1955TV SeriesMike Moore / Dunc Wright / Timmy Horton / ...
Science Fiction Theatre1955TV SeriesPete
Francis in the Navy1955Timekeeper (uncredited)
Not as a Stranger1955Unexpected Father (uncredited)
Lux Video Theatre1955TV SeriesMailer
The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show1954TV SeriesVictor the Delivery Boy
Track of the Cat1954Joe Sam (as Carl Switzer)
This Is My Love1954Customer
The High and the Mighty1954Ensign Keim (as Carl Switzer)
Flight Nurse1953Rifleman (uncredited)
Island in the Sky1953Sonny Hopper (as Carl Switzer)
Schlitz Playhouse1953TV Series
The WAC from Walla Walla1952Pvt. Cronkheit (uncredited)
I Dream of Jeanie1952Freddie (as Carl Dean Switzer)
Pat and Mike1952Busboy (as Carl Switzer)
Here Comes the Groom1951Messenger (uncredited)
Two Dollar Bettor1951Chuck Nordlinger (as Carl Switzer)
Cause for Alarm!1951Guy with Tex (uncredited)
Belle Le Grand1951Messenger Boy (uncredited)
Redwood Forest Trail1950Sidekick Alfie
House by the River1950Walter Herbert (uncredited)
Alias the Champ1949Newsboy
A Letter to Three Wives1949Leo, Second Messenger (uncredited)
Big Town Scandal1948Frankie Snead
State of the Union1948Bellboy (as Carl Switzer)
On Our Merry Way1948Leopold 'Zoot' Wirtz (as Carl Switzer)
Driftwood1947Messenger (uncredited)
The Gas House Kids in Hollywood1947Alfalfa
Gas House Kids Go West1947Alfalfa (as Carl Switzer)
It's a Wonderful Life1946Freddie Othello (uncredited)
Gas House Kids1946Sammy Levine (as Carl Switzer)
Courage of Lassie1946First Youth
She Wouldn't Say Yes1945Delivery Boy (uncredited)
Man Alive1945Ignatius (uncredited)
Together Again1944Elevator Boy (uncredited)
The Great Mike1944Speck
Going My Way1944Herman Langerhanke (uncredited)
Rosie the Riveter1944Buzz Prouty (as Carl Switzer)
Dixie1943Boy in Street (uncredited)
The Human Comedy1943Auggie (uncredited)
Johnny Doughboy1942Alfalfa (as 'Alfalfa' Switzer)
Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch1942Billy Wiggs
The War Against Mrs. Hadley1942Messenger Boy (as Carl Switzer)
There's One Born Every Minute1942Junior Twine (as Alfalfa Switser)
Henry and Dizzy1942Billy Weeks
My Favorite Blonde1942Frederick (uncredited)
Reg'lar Fellers1941Bump Hudson
Kiddie Kure1940ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Goin' Fishin'1940ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Barnyard Follies1940Alfalfa
Waldo's Last Stand1940ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Good Bad Boys1940ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
I Love You Again1940Harkspur Jr.
Bubbling Troubles1940ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
The New Pupil1940ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
All About Hash1940ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
The Big Premiere1940ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Alfalfa's Double1940ShortAlfalfa / Cornelius 'Corny' (as Our Gang)
Time Out for Lessons1939ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Dad for a Day1939ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Captain Spanky's Show Boat1939ShortAlfalfa (uncredited)
Auto Antics1939ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Dog Daze1939ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Joy Scouts1939ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Cousin Wilbur1939ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Clown Princes1939ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Duel Personalities1939ShortAlfalfa (uncredited)
The Ice Follies of 19391939Small Boy (uncredited)
Tiny Troubles1939ShortAlfalfa Switzer (as Our Gang)
Alfalfa's Aunt1939ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Practical Jokers1938ShortAlfalfa (uncredited)
Football Romeo1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Men in Fright1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Aladdin's Lantern1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Party Fever1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
The Little Ranger1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Hide and Shriek1938ShortAlfalfa, alias X-10 (as Our Gang)
The Awful Tooth1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Feed 'em and Weep1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Came the Brawn1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Three Men in a Tub1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Bear Facts1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Canned Fishing1938ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Scandal Street1938Bennie Nordskudder
Our Gang Follies of 19381937ShortAlfalfa
Mail and Female1937/IShortAlfalfa / Cousin Amelia (as Our Gang)
The Pigskin Palooka1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Framing Youth1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Fishy Tales1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Night 'n' Gales1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Wild and Woolly1937Zero
Roamin' Holiday1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Pick a Star1937Minor Role (uncredited)
Three Smart Boys1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Rushin' Ballet1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Hearts Are Thumps1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Glove Taps1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Reunion in Rhythm1937ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
General Spanky1936Alfalfa (as Carl Switzer)
Spooky Hooky1936ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Easy to Take1936Alfred Bottle (as Carl Switzer)
Ellis Island1936Manuel (uncredited)
Pay As You Exit1936ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Two Too Young1936ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Bored of Education1936ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Kelly the Second1936Boy with Stomach Ache (uncredited)
Arbor Day1936ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Second Childhood1936ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Too Many Parents1936Kid Singer
The Lucky Corner1936ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Divot Diggers1936ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
The Pinch Singer1936ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Our Gang Follies of 19361935ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Life Hesitates at 401935ShortBoy at Soda Fountain
Little Sinner1935ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Little Papa1935ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Sprucin' Up1935ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Teacher's Beau1935ShortAlfalfa (as Our Gang)
Southern Exposure1935ShortMessenger Boy (uncredited)
Beginner's Luck1935ShortArizona Nightengale


Little Rascals Varieties1959performer: "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain When She Comes", "Honolulu Baby", "The Object of My Affection", "The Barber of Seville", "Learn to Croon"
The War Against Mrs. Hadley1942performer: "Happy Birthday" 1893 - uncredited
Clown Princes1939Short performer: "The Flying Trapeze" - uncredited
Practical Jokers1938Short performer: "Because It's Your Birthday Today The Birthday Song"
Our Gang Follies of 19381937Short performer: "The Barber of Seville", "The Barber of Seville" Reprise #2, "Learn to Croon", "Follies Conclusion"
Framing Youth1937Short performer: "Just an Echo in the Valley" - uncredited
Hearts Are Thumps1937Short performer: "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" - uncredited
Reunion in Rhythm1937Short performer: "I'm Through With Love" - uncredited
Bored of Education1936Short performer: "Good Morning To You", "Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young Charms" - uncredited
Arbor Day1936Short performer: "Trees" - uncredited
Second Childhood1936Short performer: "Oh! Susanna" - uncredited
Too Many Parents1936performer: "A Little White Gardenia"
The Pinch Singer1936Short performer: "On The Road To California", "I'm In The Mood For Love"
Our Gang Follies of 19361935Short performer: "The Object Of My Affection"
Little Papa1935Short performer: "Go To Sleep, My Baby" - uncredited
Teacher's Beau1935Short performer: "Ticklish Reuben" - uncredited
Beginner's Luck1935Short performer: "She'll Be Comin' Round The Mountain" - uncredited


The Donald O'Connor Show1954TV SeriesHimself

Archive Footage

Biography2003TV Series documentaryHimself
E! True Hollywood Story2002TV Series documentaryAlfalfa
8th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards2002TV SpecialHimself (as Carl Switzer)
Hal Roach: Hollywood's King of Laughter1994TV Movie documentaryHimself
The Our Gang Story1994Video documentaryHimself / Alfalfa / Bump Hudson / ...
When the Applause Died1990Video documentaryHimself
Classic Comedy Teams1986Video documentaryAlfalfa (segment "Our Gang")
Going Hollywood: The '30s1984Documentary
Our Gang: Inside the Clubhouse1984TV Movie documentaryAlfalfa
Hollywood: The Gift of Laughter1982TV Movie documentaryActor - Unidentified 'Our Gang' Film (uncredited)
Henry Fonda: The Man and His Movies1982TV Movie documentaryActor in 'On Our Merry Way' (uncredited)
Rascal Dazzle1980Alfalfa (as Alfalfa)
Little Rascals Varieties1959Alfalfa
The Clubhouse Gang1955TV SeriesAlfalfa
The Little Rascals1955TV SeriesAlfalfa (1955)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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