Darla Jean Hood (November 4, 1931–June 13, 1979) was an American child actress, best known as a member of Our Gang from 1935 to 1941. In the animated series of The Little Rascals, she was voiced by Patty Maloney.
Although unconfirmed, this version of the character appears to be 6 years old in the animated series, which was her real age when she appeared in the final Our Gang theatrical short produced by Hal Roach, "Hide and Shriek." Despite being taller than Buckwheat, Darla may be the second youngest regular character in the animated series, ahead of Porky. Unlike in the theatrical shorts, the animated Darla was supposedly described as a tomboy, who would join in on the boys' mischief.
Hood's first film role was in The Bohemian Girl with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. She went on from there to the Our Gang series, where she starred in 50 films. In her first Our Gang appearance, her character was known as Cookie, but had since been known as Darla until she left the troupe in 1941. Although officially paired with Carl Switzer, she was actually afraid of him, and preferred to do scenes with George McFarland. She had an interest in playing the piano as a child, and was also involved in singing and dancing.
As an adult, Hood made television appearances with Groucho Marx, Jack Benny and Mike Douglas. She also appeared with Vincent Price in the 1959 remake of The Bat, among other films, and participated in Our Gang reunions and fan conventions. At the time of her death, she had been organizing a Laurel and Hardy fan convention.
- It was discovered on eBay in March 2018 that an ABC placeholder card for The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show depicted the Rascals, but unlike in the regular episodes, Darla wore white sandals with pink socks, plus her skirt had a big pocket. Darla would be seen wearing sandals with socks in her later years with Our Gang and in some circulating photos.
Here are some of the alternate outfits Darla has worn in the Little Rascals animated series.
- Darla wearing a ballet tutu in "Big Top Rascals"
- Darla wearing a party dress in "Darla's Dream Dance"
- Darla dressed as Alfalfa in "Fright Night"