Farina Hoskins

Active - 1922 - 1969  |   Born - Aug 9, 1920   |   Died - Jul 26, 1980   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

Named after a breakfast cereal, Farina Hoskins (born Allen Clayton Hoskins) was reportedly discovered by Our Gang veteran Ernie Morrison, who recommended the African-American child actor to Hal Roach. Hoskins made his Gang debut in 1922 and remained with the team until 1931, setting an all-time Our Gang record by appearing in a total of 106 comedies. In the early years, the boy's true gender was inexplicably disguised by his wearing a dress and sporting a rather feminine cornrow hairstyle. Hoskin's sister, Jannie, who played the recurring role of Mango in the series, reportedly stood in for her brother on occasion. As the series progressed, however, Hoskins' attire became increasingly masculine. Always a favorite of Hal Roach himself, Hoskins eventually suffered the same fate as his predecessors, "old age." But he returned, along with Mary Kornman, Mickey Daniels, and Joe Cobb for an encore in 1933's Fish Hookey. There were a couple of non-Our Gang shorts as well, including a Voice of Hollywood series entry in which he was the emcee, but Hoskins' screen appearances effectively ended with a bit in Jean Harlow's Reckless (1935). After serving two tours of duty during World War II, the former child star studied acting on the G.I. Bill but was unable to find work -- even with Hal Roach. Reportedly somewhat disillusioned, he left Hollywood in favor of Northern California, where he raised a family of six and found employment as a social worker.

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