At age one he debuted onscreen (playing John Barrymore as a baby) in The Beloved Rogue (1927), then appeared in a number of films as a toddler. He stayed onscreen through his childhood and adolescence, becoming one of Hollywood's favorite child stars. He appeared in many Our Gang comedy shorts and more than 100 feature films. He was less successful as a teenage actor and young adult, and he retired from the screen in the early '50s. He went on to teach and write books about acting, edit Equity magazine, perform on Broadway, in stock, and on TV, write and direct for TV, produce an Oscar-nominated short film (The Boy and the Eagle), and produce industrial shows; he wrote the book Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (But Don't Have Sex or Take the Car) (1984), an insider's account of the hazards of being a child star. He was married to actress Jane Powell from 1988 until his death, at age 89, in 2015.