William "Billie" Thomas, Jr., child actor. He is best remembered for portraying the character of "Buckwheat" ("O-tay!") in the Our Gang (aka Little Rascals) short films from 1934-1944. Although the character he played was often the subject of controversy in later years for containing elements of the "pickaninny" stereotype, he always defended his work, pointing out that Buckwheat and the rest of the Black kids were treated as equals in the series.
William "Billie" Thomas, Jr. (March 12, 1931 – October 10, 1980) was an American child actor best remembered for portraying the character of Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) short films from 1934 until the series' end in 1944. He was a native of Los Angeles, California.
William (Billie) Thomas (3/12/1930 - 10/10/1980) played Buckwheat in the Our Gang (Little Rascals) comedy shorts from 1934 to 1944, and was the only cast member to appear in all 52 of the films produced by MGM after the studio obtained rights from Hal Roach in 1938. Thomas served in the Korean War and returned to a career in Hollywood working behind the scenes as a technical editor. #TodayInBlackHistory
Buckwheat was a beautiful little boy. When I cam across this picture, I had a warm feeling and thought, "oh, my friend Buckwheat". As a child, I watched the Little Rascals. All along I thought of the Little Rascals as my friends. I didn't see color or race.