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Billy Halop was born in New York City in 1920, and his family was in show business, and he became a performer on radio as a child. In 1935, he got his big break when he was cast as the lead juvenile, Tommy Gordon, in the play version of Sidney Kingsley's "Dead End on Broadway". Both the play and Halop were highly praised, and he stayed with the play for two years, and then went to Hollywood to make the film version with all the other juvenile actors reprising their roles as well. The movie was a huge success (who can forget Halop threatening to give Gorcey the "mark of the squealer"?) and Halop appeared in the early sequels, most notably in "Crime School" (with Humphrey Bogart) and "Angels with Dirty Faces" (with James Cagney and Ann Sheridan) and "They Made Me a Criminal" (with John Garfield and Ann Sheridan). But the studios stopped casting top stars in the movies, and they became B-movies, and Halop thought he had the looks and talent to have a solo career in A-pictures, which caused him to seek out roles without his juvenile co-stars. But better roles were not forecoming, and he mostly appeared in movies featuring "spin-off" groups of the Dead End Kids (but he never appeared with Leo Gorcey after 1939, indicating there was almost certainly some "bad blood" between them). Halop served in World War II, and after he got out he found there were next to no parts for him (one of his few parts was in "Gas House Kids", where he was paired with fellow washed-up former juvenile star Carl 'Alfalfa' Switzer). Halop had had marital and financial problems and was an alcoholic, and he made only scattered TV appearances in the 1950s and 1960s, working at many regular jobs, including as a electric dryer salesman for the Leonard Appliance Company of Los Angeles. In 1960, Halop married for the third time, to Suzanne Roe, who had multiple sclerosis, and he was her caregiver, and doing that encouraged him to go to nursing school and become a registered nurse at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. He came back in the public eye in the 1970s with his role as Bert Munson on the hit TV show, "All in the Family". He passed away in 1976, just 56 years old, but he will forever be remembered for his memorable early roles.
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