American actor, dog breeder, and hunting guide Carl Switzer was born Carl Dean Switzer. As a young actor, he made his acting debut in the Our Gang short films as Alfalfa. Mr. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, Going My Way, The Great Mike, The Human Comedy, It’s a Wonderful Life, On Our Merry Way, White Christmas, and The Defiant Ones are just a few of the films he appeared in as a child in supporting roles. His television work included six episodes of “The Roy Rogers Show,” guest appearances on “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show,” “Lux Video Theatre,” and “Science Fiction Theatre,” as well as six episodes of “The Roy Rogers Show.” The American actor also had numerous uncredited roles throughout his acting career. A Letter to Three Wives, House by the River, Here Comes the Groom, Not as a Stranger, Francis in the Navy, Dig That Uranium, The Ten Commandments, and Between Heaven and Hell are a few of the films in which they have appeared. As for Carl Switzer’s personal life, he was divorced and had a child. He was shot by a friend in January 1959 and later passed away as a result of the incident involving money. He passed very tragically when he was only 31 years old.
Early Childhood & Life
George Frederick Switzer and Gladys C. Shanks welcomed Carl Dean Switzer into the world on August 7, 1927, in Paris, Illinois, United States. Three siblings were born to him: sister Janice, brother Harold, and a little brother who all perished.
Switzer and his brother Harold began performing together at a young age. They were well-known in their hometown thanks to their performances and musical ability.
The career of Carl Switzer
In 1934, Carl Switzer and his brother Harold went to the Hal Roach Studio’s Our Gang Café where they spontaneously began to perform. After watching their performance, the studio’s producer was impressed and hired them to feature in Our Gang projects. The brothers made their debut with the short film “Beginner’s Luck.”
Soon after, the brothers were chosen to star in a number of the gang’s short films, including 1935’s “Our Gang Follies of 1936,” “Teacher’s Beau,” and “Sprucin’ Up.” Then, in the 1936 Our Gang shorts “The Lucky Corner,” “Arbor Day,” and “Spooky Hooky,” Carl played Alfalfa.
He appeared in a few short films in 1937, including “Reunion in Rhythm,” “Rushin’ Ballet,” “Mail and Female,” and “Our Gang Follies of 1938.” At the age of twelve, Carl Switzer’s time on Our Gang came to an end in 1940. Later, he co-starred in the comedy “Reg’lar Fellers.”
Following this, he appeared in the films “Johnny Doughboy,” “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch,” “Henry and Dizzy,” “There’s One Born Every Minute,” and “The War Against Mrs. Hadley” in supporting roles.
The actor then appeared in the 1943 movies “The Human Comedy” and “Dixie” in uncredited roles.
Later, he appeared in the movies Together Again, The Great Mike, Going My Way, and Rosie the Riveter.
In 1946, Switzer portrayed Freddie Othello in the holiday movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” He appeared in “Gas House Kids” and “Courage of Lassie” the same year. He played Alfalfa in the comedies “Gas House Kids Go West” and “Gas House Kids in Hollywood” the following year.
In 1948, he was then cast in both the drama film “State of the Union” and the comedy film “On Our Merry Way.” He played Frankie Snead in the radio drama “Big Town Scandal” that same year. The American performer appeared in the films “A Letter to Three Wives” and “House by the River” in 1949 and 1950 in uncredited roles.
Switzer made the transition to television in 1952 and joined the cast of “The Roy Rogers Show.” Up until 1955, he took on a number of roles in production. He also appeared in a few movies during this time, including “I Dream of Jeanie,” “Island in the Sky,” “The High and the Mighty,” “Track of the Cat,” “Not as a Stranger,” and “Francis in the Navy.”
After that, he made an appearance in an episode of Lux Video Theatre, Science Fiction Theatre, and The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.
He appeared uncredited in the 1956 movie “Dig That Uranium.” Switzer participated in “The Ten Commandments,” a biblical epic movie, as well as “Between Heaven and Hell,” a combat movie, all in the same year. He joined the cast of the crime movie “The Defiant Ones” two years later.
Bigger Works of Carl Switzer
Alfalfa was played by Carl Switzer in many short films produced by Our Gang in 1938, including “Canned Fishing,” “Came the Brawn,” “Hide and Shriek,” and “Football Romeo.” He played Alfalfa again in the Gang shorts “Duel Personalities,” “Clown Princes,” “Time Out for Lessons,” “Alfalfa’s Double,” “Good Bad Boys,” and “Goin’ Fishin'” from 1939 and 1940.
Individual Life of Carl Switzer
The heir to the grain elevator dynasty Collingwood Grain, Diantha Collingwood, and Carl Switzer went on a blind date in 1954. They got along well and later got married.
Their son Justin Lance Collingwood Switzer was conceived in 1956. A year later, Switzer and Collingwood got divorced.
Death of Carl Switzer
Carl Switzer made the decision to raise a hunting dog for Moses Samuel Stiltz. Switzer offered a reward of $35 for the return of that dog when it went missing. After that, a man located the dog and gave it back to Switzer, who gave him the prize and spent $15 on beverages.
Switzer informed Stiltz that he should give him the reward money on January 21, 1959. The two men got into a brawl when Stiltz chose not to give them the money. When the struggle turned violent, Stiltz shot Switzer once in the groin. Switzer experienced serious internal bleeding and was transported to the hospital, where he was discovered to be dead. He was buried in Hollywood, California, at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Estimated Net Worth
The estimated net worth of Carl Switzer is unknown.
Actor David Switzer’s distant relative was Carl Switzer.
He passed away the same day as actor and director Cecil B. DeMille. Coincidentally, one of Switzer’s final acting jobs was in the last film DeMille directed, “The Ten Commandments.”
Vera-Ellen presents Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby with a picture of her brother Bennie in the 1954 film “White Christmas,” but it’s actually one of Switzer.
Switzer was interred next to his father and brother.