meeting famous little people

me and a set of famous little people

By Trace A. DeMeyer

I don’t recall the exact year but I was in San Francisco on a buying trip for my store l’quix fix in Portland, Oregon.  I was married to Dave so this may have been in 1986 or 1987. We went to Chinatown for a nice dinner and I think the restaurant name had the word Empress in it. (Yeah, my memory bank is not perfect anymore). Dave and I met the famous actor Billy Barty; we were seated next to he and his wife! Billy talked a long time about his movie career. He had a giant soul in his little body. I knew Billy from his role in the Wizard of Oz and he had just been in a TV movie I’d watched. He was truly famous!

Read this: Billy Barty dies at 76

December 27, 2000

GLENDALE — Friends and family of veteran actor Billy Barty remember him as a man small in stature but big in heart. “He always wanted to solve everyone’s problems, no matter how big or small,” Barty’s friend and publicist Bill York said.

Barty died Saturday morning at Glendale Memorial Hospital. He was 76.

The 3-foot, 10-inch actor had been hospitalized since Nov. 30 with heart problems and a lung infection.Barty was born William John Bertanzetti on Oct. 25, 1924.

He began his acting career in 1927 and has appeared in hundreds of films and television shows. Of note were the movies “Willow” and “Foul Play,” and Sid and Marty Kroft’s television show “Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.” In 1957, he founded Little People of America and in 1975 he founded the Burbank-based Billy Barty Foundation, both of which were advocacy groups for little people, helping them become integrated into mainstream society without being discriminated against.  Barty once said that most people thought little people were only found in show business or the circus.  “The only way to approach the problem is to influence minds while they are young so prejudice won’t appear later,” Barty once said.  Billy Barty Memorial Adoption Fund, which helps little people adopt children with dwarfism.

I also had a meeting with more famous little people. Read about it here:

And read this history if you want to know more about circus freaks and little people:


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