Lon McCallister, whose brief but prolific acting career started with small roles in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and developed into supporting roles in popular movies such as Winged Victory, has died. He was 82. He died June 11 of heart failure at his home near Lake Tahoe, Calif., said his brother, Lynn. After appearing in more than 40 films, McCallister left acting at age 30 to invest in real estate. He owned homes and apartment buildings in the Los Angeles area and recently bought property in Lake Tahoe.
The dimpled McCallister was just a teenager starting out in show business when he appeared in films alongside some of the biggest names in Hollywood. At 13, he had an uncredited role in Romeo and Juliet, starring Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard. The film's director, George Cukor, became a close friend to the gay actor and later gave McCallister a supporting role as a pilot in Winged Victory, which was based on the Broadway production.
McCallister's boyish looks got him cast in roles playing wholesome characters, including one of the schoolboys in the 1938 Tom Sawyer film when he was just 15. That same year, he landed a small role in Judge Hardy's Children, which starred Mickey Rooney. Perhaps the film that led to even bigger roles was the 1943 Stage Door Canteen, in which he played a shy GI opposite Katharine Hepburn, Harpo Marx, and other stars of that period. In addition to his brother, McCallister, born Herbert Alonzo McCallister Jr., is survived by his sister, Kathleen McCallister Price. (AP)