Who was Gordon Lee? Well, he’s dead.
He was the fat kid in the original “Little Rascals” series. He played Porky in the 1930’s version of the show. Not only that, but he was a racial pioneer.
Lee recalled a warm friendship with his black costar when they were kids and praised their interracial relationship on screen, saying, “Buckwheat played an absolute equal part in the Gang.”
If it wasn’t for a freak genetic disorder that banished him to obscurity, he likely would have parlayed his talents in the area of race relations to a position in the civil rights movement.
Lee told friends his career ended when a growth spurt made him thinner. “They wanted Porky to be a chunky fellow, so they looked for someone else,” McClain said.
Have no fear though, for a short half-century later, he was back on top. Not as actor, mind you, but instead as a powerful broker in the lucrative Hollywood Memorabilia industry.
In recent years, Lee sold autographed photos of himself as Porky, Tolzmann and McClain said
“Before that he felt like he was forgotten,” McClain said. “It really made him feel good about himself.”
Not quite as good, however, as the feeling that came from being the inspiration behind one of the most infamous and popular ad-campaigns of all time.