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Jackie Butch Jenkins

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Years active  1943–1948
Name  Jackie Jenkins

Role  Child actor
Parents  Doris Dudley
Jackie Butch Jenkins wearing a suit and a tie with a little girl in front of him.

Full Name  Jack Dudley Jenkins
Born  August 29, 1937 (1937-08-29) Los Angeles, U.S
Died  August 14, 2001, Asheville, North Carolina, United States
Movies  National Velvet, My Brother Talks to Horses, The Bride Goes Wild, Little Mister Jim, Summer Holiday
Similar People  Juanita Quigley, Anne Revere, Doris Dudley, Clarence Brown, Donald Crisp

Jackie coogan on the kid

Jackie "Butch" Jenkins (August 29, 1937 – August 14, 2001) was an American child actor who had a brief but notable film career during the 1940s.


Jackie Butch Jenkins smiling and wearing a jacket.

Jackie coogan tribute


Jackie Butch Jenkins with a smiling face.

Born Jack Dudley Jenkins in Los Angeles, the son of actress Doris Dudley, Jenkins made his film debut at the age of six in The Human Comedy (1943) as Ulysses Macauley after an MGM talent scout saw him playing on a Santa Monica beach and admired his high spirits. His performance as Mickey Rooney's younger brother (The Human Comedy) was well received and Jenkins was cast in a succession of films.

He was given star billing for the 1946 film Boys' Ranch. Inspired by the real-life ranch in Texas, which provided a home and education to underprivileged boys, MGM promoted the film as a successor to Boys Town (1938). It co-stars James Craig who also appears in Jenkins' first film, The Human Comedy, as well as in his next film, Little Mr. Jim. Jenkins' other films include National Velvet (1944), Our Vines Have Tender Grapes (1945), My Brother Talks to Horses (1947), The Bride Goes Wild (1948) Summer Holiday (1948), and his final film Big City (1948).

Jenkins was one of several popular child actors at MGM during the early 1940s, and was educated at the studio's school along with other youngsters under contract to the studio such as Elizabeth Taylor, Margaret O'Brien, Claude Jarman Jr. and Darryl Hickman. He was regarded as a "scene-stealer" and was notable among the studio's child stars for not being conventionally "cute". 

He was described by film writers Sol Chaneles and Albert Wolsky as "an audience favourite as an all-American boy [with a] space between his teeth, freckles and a tousled mop of hair – a marked contrast to the pretty children who usually appeared on screen." Pauline Kael wrote approvingly of his effectiveness as a performer, saying that his appearance as a five-year-old who enjoys waving at trains in The Human Comedy helped elevate the film, while his performance in National Velvet made him "the little brother of everyone's dreams". In 1946 exhibitors (movie theater owners) voted him the second-most promising "star of tomorrow".

Later life and death

Jackie Butch Jenkins with a serious face and wearing a black suit and a tie.

Jenkins retired from acting at the age of eleven, after he developed a stutter, and as an adult recalled his film career fondly and without regret. He did state, however, that he had not particularly enjoyed acting and had never expected to make a career of it. Later described as a "businessman-outdoorsman", Jenkins established a successful career away from Hollywood and lived for many years in Dallas, Texas, before moving to western North Carolina in the late 1970s. There he built a home "on the side of a steep mountain", where he resided with his third wife, Gloria. On August 14, 2001, he died at age 63 in Asheville, North Carolina.


  • In 1943 The Human Comedy As Ulysses Macauley
  • In 1944 An American Romance As Thomas Jefferson Dangos - Age 6
  • In 1946 Little Mister As Jim Little Jim Tukker
  • In 1946 Boys' Ranch As 'Butch' Taylor
  • In 1947 My Brother Talks to Horses As Lewie Penrose
  • In 1948 Summer Holiday As Tommy Miller
  • In 1948 The Bride Goes Wild As Danny
  • In 1948 Big City As Louis Keller
  • In 1944 National Velvet As Donald Brown
  • In 1945 Our Vines Have Tender Grapes As Arnold Hanson
  • In 1945 Abbott and Costello in Hollywood As Himself
  • References

    Jackie "Butch" Jenkins