Life And Times


Billy Barty was born October 25, 1924 in Millsboro, Pennsylvania. His real name was William John Bertanzetti. He was an American Actor and a giant who stood only 3 foot nine even as a full grown adult. He was born with what is called cartillage-hair hypoplasia dwarfism according to Wikipedia. However dwarfism wasn’t really understood back inthe 30′s and 40′s.
Billy started acting when he was just a child at the ripe old age of 3 years old.
billy-barty-hollywood-walk-of-fame-starWhen he was a child, he acted in films like Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and The Mickey McGuire Comedies. He had a steady acting career and performed on the vaudeville circuit until he quit acting to go to college. He even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He went on to act in silent films and vaudeville. By the 1950′s Barty had become America’s most famous little person, acting in many films and television shows.

Mickey Rooney and Billy Barty Partnered Up Again.

willow-bartyBilly quickly became America’s most popular little person.  He was able to star in movies like Willow, Foul Play, Rumpelstiltskin and Day of the Locust. Even later as an adult he had the Billy Barty show and starred along side of Mickey Rooney as well as many other minor film and TV roles.

Billy knew that parts for little people in Hollywood were limited in both number and variety.Even though Barty died in 2000 at age 76 from heart  failure he was named the 6th most popular “little person” in 2011. appeared on numerous variety programs,

He was also very active in spreading the word about dwarfism and opened the discussion to make the public aware. He even founded the little people of America as far back as 1957.

After he passed from heart and lung failure in 2000 (he was survived by his wife Shirley and their 2 children) a tribute book was written on his life “Within Reach: An Inspirational Journey into the life Legacy and Influence of Billy Barty” by his nephew and nephews wife.

Famous Quotes


 The name of my condition is Cartilage Hair Hypoplasia, but you can just call me Billy.


The general public thinks all little people are in circuses or sideshows. We have doctors, nurses, just about every field covered.


That’s where it starts and sometimes finishes. My parents never told me I was small, so I never knew any better. They had to sign for me to play football and basketball, but they never said, “No, you can’t. You’re too small.” I’m not the only one who has proved little people can get along in a big world. There are other little people out there who are doctors, lawyers, school teachers, electronics engineers.



“I have a feeling that we have been placed on this earth for a special reason and although I have not fulfilled all my missions, I am trying.”


“We are people with all the hopes, dreams, passions, and faults of everyone else. Eighty percent of us are born into families with no history of dwarfism.”


ALT-complete-lead-generation“Try being my size and going into a public restroom.”


“We are your brothers, your daughters, your friends. We just happened to have been wrapped in a smaller package.”


Auromatic-Leadt-Tools-Review-ALT-1What do you mean, kid? I’m 38.


Billy Barty Life


In 70 years of acting Billy Barty had roles in 200 Plus films. Additionally he played on Vaudeville, tv shows and tv commercials,played in night clubs and various other entertainment specials. Until “The Little Couple” he was probably the most recognized of all dwarfs on the planet. At just 3 foot 9′ he brought more awareness than anyone ever to cartilage-hair hypoplasia or dwarfism. According to Billy,

 “Most difficult to overcome are the attitudinal barriers which Little People have to face – the notion that we are only found in show business or at the circus. Among the ranks of Little People can be found doctors, lawyers, teachers, psychologists and judges, and the only way to approach the problem is to influence minds while they are young so prejudice won’t appear later.”

… and that can even be seen with “The Little Couple” show where they are a doctor and business owner as well as having an immensely popular reality show.

He appeared in his first Hollywood film at the age of 3 in 1927. A friend of his, Shirley Bolingbroke who was a member of the Latter Day Saints, introduced him to missionaries for the LDS. Eventually Billy and Shirley became a couple and married on Feb 24, 1962. Most people do not know that Billy Barty and his family were members of the Church of The Latter Day Saints but he was officially baptized in 1968.

Movies and Filmography


Here is a partial list of some of Billy’s movies. You can find a more complete  list at IMDB.

2000 The Extreme Adventures of Super Dave (Video)
Funeral Eulogist (uncredited)
 1999 L.A. Heat (TV Series)
Morty Feinberg – In Harm’s Way (1999) … Morty Feinberg
1997 The New Batman Adventures (TV Series)
Hips McManus – Double Talk (1997) … Hips McManus (voice)
1997 An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn
Billy Barty
1996 Frasier (TV Series)
Chris – High Crane Drifter (1996) … Chris (voice)
 1991 Life Stinks
 1991 Bride of Violence (TV Movie)
 1991 The Munsters Today (TV Series)
Genie- Genie from Hell (1991) … Genie
 1976 W.C. Fields and Me
 1976 Chico and the Man (TV Series)
Little hold-up man- Too Many Crooks (1976) … Little hold-up man
 1962 The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm
The Court Jester (uncredited)
 1962 My Three Sons (TV Series)
Billy Longfellow- Coincidence (1962) … Billy Longfellow
 1960 Mr. Lucky (TV Series)
Tommy the Midget – Taking a Chance (1960) … Tommy the Midget

 1958 Shirley Temple’s Storybook (TV Series)
Dwarf- Rip Van Winkle (1958) … Dwarf
 1957 Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series)
George- The Glass Eye (1957) … George
 1955 The Colgate Comedy Hour (TV Series)
 1952 The Dennis Day Show (TV Series)
Leprechaun – Episode dated 15 March 1952 (1952) … Leprechaun

 1935 A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Mustard-Seed (as Fairie)
 1935 The Bride of Frankenstein
Baby (uncredited)
 1933 Alice in Wonderland
White Pawn / The Baby (uncredited)
 1933 Footlight Parade
Mouse / Little Boy (uncredited)
 1931 The Dog Doctor (Short)
Little Boy at Curb
1930 Mickey’s Musketeers (Short)
Mickey’s Brother
 1928 The Cockeyed Family (Short)
Gillig’s Younger Son (uncredited)
 1928 Mickey’s Big Game Hunt (Short)
Mickey’s brother
 1928 Follow Teacher (Short)
The Baby
 1927 Mickey’s Eleven (Short)
Baby (unconfirmed)

 1927 Mickey’s Pals (Short)

A Giant Crusader


As mentioned before Billy lived a Giant life. Part of that was his activism and spreading the word about dwarfism. He actively promoted the rights of others with affected by dwarfism and unhappy with the fact that some viewed them as just midget actors.

Finally in 1957 he founded the Little People of America organization. He announced a gathering to be held in Reno Nevada. The first meeting there had all of 21 people but later grew into the organization which by 2010 had over 6,800 members.

The Little People of America was the first North American Organization for little people.Little-people-of-america-logo It is a non-profit organization that gives support, info, and other resources to people and their families that are affected by dwarfism. in order to qualify you must be under 4 foot 10 inches in height.

The organization was initially known as the midgets of America. But later on they made a distinction between midgets and dwarfs and renamed it to “Midgets and Dwarfs of America”.  Those affected with dwarfism voiced forcefully the fact that there were more dwarfs than midgets and the name was changed later on to “the Little People of America”. They have grown:

  1. to over 70 local chapters
  2. they meet regullarly
  3. they have a week long conference
  4. They now have incorporated as of 1984 Canada into the mix and created “Little People of Canada

For those of you who do not know it is usually offensive to call a dwarf a midget.  In fact many of the LPA members have filed complaints with the FCC (federal communications commission) over the use of the word midget when referring to dwarfs on public television.

If you want more information on the Little People of America just do a google search for their website – it looks like this: