Once promoted as 'the male Shirley Temple', he played Billy in 1942's Pride of the Yankees. He played a supporting role in the 1939 film, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
His dancing skills impressed actor Will Rogers, who recommended that he try out for Hollywood roles.
He turned to songwriting after his acting career ended in the 1950's, writing "The Christmas Blues," which was used in the soundtrack for the film, L.A. Confidential.
He had four children: Lamont, Janna, Hayley, and Tina.
He became famous for his role in Pride of the Yankees, which was directed by Sam Wood.