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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended December 29, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 05Jan01

By Rosemary Pollock

Diminutive Mormon Entertainer Billy Barty Dead At 76

GLENDALE, CALIFORNIA -- Billy Barty, the diminutive entertainer who turned the ability to spin on his head into a seven-decade career in show business, died on Saturday, December 23 at the Glendale Memorial Hospital. The 3-foot, 9-inch actor had been hospitalized since November 30, with heart and lung problems. A memorial service was held at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Hollywood, where Barty was a member.

Barty was born William John Bertanzetti in Millsboro, Pa. He founded the Little People of America, an advocacy group for those with dwarfism in 1957. On his foundation's Web site, Barty said," The name of my condition is Cartilage Hair Syndrome Hypoplasia, but you can just call me Billy."

Barty appeared in over 200 films and hundreds of television shows during his career from 1927 at the age of 3 to the present. He earned his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981 and was awarded the Long Beach Film Festival's Humanitarian of the Year Award in October, 2000. "Billy is somebody who has given his whole life to the film industry and the entertainment industry...and has always been a gigantic, tremendous personality and star to me, and always will be," said friend Mickey Rooney.

"Most difficult to overcome are the attitudinal barriers, which little people face - the notion that we are found only in show business or at the circus," Barty once said. In an interview last year with The Associated Press, Barty confronted the idea that people with dwarfism only hold jobs in the entertainment industry. "The general public thinks all little people are in circuses or sideshows," Barty said. "We have doctors, nurses, just about every field covered."

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich appointed Barty to the Los Angeles County Disabilities Commission. Barty served on a federal disabilities commission under former Housing and Urban Develpment Director Jack Kemp. Barty was an active Rupublican who, "was happy to live long enough to see that Bush won," said Antonovich who was a close friend of Barty's for 36 years.

Barty is survived by his wife, Shirley; sister Deede Morse; son, Braden; daughter Lori Neilson and son-in-law David Neilson; and adopted granddaughter, Tina. The family asks that any donations be made to The Billy Barty Memorial Adoption Fund.


Actor, Activist Billy Barty Dies
Los Angeles Times (AP) 23Dec00 A2
By Paul Chavez: Associated Press Writer
[submitted by Eric D. Olson]

Billy Barty dies at 76
Los Angeles Times 27Dec00 A2

Billy Barty Dies at 76
Los Angeles Times 25Dec00 A2

Billy Barty, Diminutive Entertainer
Los Angeles Times 23Dec00 A2

Hollywood mourning the loss of Billy Barty
KNBC TV4 Los Angeles CA 24Dec00 A2


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