Bobs Watson

Bobs Watson

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 27 Jun 1999 (aged 68)
Laguna Beach, Orange County, California, USA
Burial Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Crypt 6593, unit 9, H-6
Memorial ID 6970 · View Source
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Child Actor, Minister. Known as "the Cry Baby of Hollywood" for his ability to shed buckets of tears on a director's command, he is best remembered for his role of Pee-Wee in "Boys Town" (1938). Born Robert Ball Watson in Los Angeles, California, the son of actor J. C. Watson, he was perhaps the best known of the nine Watson children (six boys and three girls) who together appeared in over 1,000 films. His father nicknamed him "Bobs" to distinguish him from another actor named Bob Watson. He began his acting career in an uncredited role in "Life Begins" (1932) as the infant son of Harry, and shows up, mostly uncredited, in such films as "Life Begins at Forty" (1935), "Show Boat" (1936), "In Old Chicago" (1937), and "Maytime" (1937). But it was his role of Pee Wee in "Boys Town" (1938), which would change his life. Not only was he noticed by the critics, he also became good friends with actor Spencer Tracy (who played the role of Father Flanagan in the film) and the real Father Flanagan (who was on the set as technical advisor). Spencer Tracy, who he would forever call "Uncle Spence," would often hug him between takes and talk with him, and he admired how Father Flanagan worked with the other boys, observing how he imparted God's love to them, which would make a lasting impression on him. Although he continued to act, even through his teen years and the twenties, showing up in such films as "Calling Dr. Kildare" (1939), "Blackmail" (1939) and "Hi, Buddy" (1943), he always asked himself if there was nothing more to life than acting. In 1962, at the age of 32, he entered the Claremont School of Theology, becoming a Methodist minister. He would serve God until his retirement in June 1997, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, serving mostly in Burbank, California. He would also continue to act, showing up during the 1960s and 1970s in such television shows as The Lucy Show, The Twilight Zone, The Virginian, The FBI, Green Acres, and the Beverly Hillbillies. He had a small role in his last movie "Grand Theft Auto" (1977) playing himself, and was credited as the Reverend Bobs Watson. He attributed his success in life to Father Flanagan, of whom he once said "Father Flanagan was many things, but mostly, he was a man who didn't care what denomination you were. I was a seven-year-old Methodist, but all he saw was a boy who, like all boys, needed to be loved, and he loved me, and I loved him back. Frankly, I think that is how God intended us all to behave." Reverend Watson passed away in 1999 in Laguna Beach, California, at the age of 68 from prostate cancer.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 15 Nov 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6970
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Bobs Watson (16 Nov 1930–27 Jun 1999), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6970, citing Hollywood Forever, Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .