Reporter Amanda Baumfeld turned in a great obituary about Buddy McDonald, one fo the original Little Rascals. He died this week in a Seal Beach retirement home. Here’s a snippet of Baumfeld’s piece:
What he might not be known for is his endless dedication and work in substance abuse counseling, those who know him said.
In the 1950 s, McDonald developed a drinking problem and ended up in Alcoholics Anonymous. It was a move that ended up being a “significant turning point of his life,” according to his son, Scott.
Soon after, McDonald became a popular speaker at AA meetings throughout Southern California and strived to help people regain control of their lives.
In 1965, he met Leon Emerson, a Downey Municipal Court judge. The two of them thought people convicted of alcohol-related offenses should be sent to AA meetings instead of jail.
I also found an interview with Buddy that ran on a Web site devoted to Laurel and Hardy comedies. The interview is fascinating and describes a robbery conviction from the 1950s:
Question: What did they send you to prison for?
Bud McDonald: Robbery. I was with some other guys, and we robbed a market. I had just come out of the marine corps, served in Guadalcanal. I didn’t know any better, I didn’t have any money to get an attorney, so I took a public defender. He got me to cop a plea. I plead guilty. Later on, when I was sober about a dozen years after Alcoholics Anonymous, a probation officer named Brown in Walnut Park gave me some advice. He was going to law school and we found a law I didn’t know about and together with my sponsor, a man named Carson, they got all my felonies taken back to court and the guilty pleas removed and the not guilty pleas entered. All my citizenship rights and everything else were restored to me.