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Jack Hanlon, 96; actor for Buster Keaton, ‘Our Gang’ films

RENO — Jack Hanlon, who had roles in the 1926 silent classic ‘‘The General’’ and in two 1927 ‘‘Our Gang’’ comedies, died Thursday in Las Vegas. He was 96.

As a precocious, freckle-faced youngster, he was a natural as a child actor from 1926 to 1933, said his niece, Wendy Putnam Park of Las Vegas.

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‘‘He was absolutely the sweetest, most charming man,’’ Park said. ‘‘He loved talking about being in the movies if you brought the subject up. He loved sharing stories.’’

After a small role with Buster Keaton in ‘‘The General,’’ Mr. Hanlon played mischievous children in two of Hal Roach’s ‘‘Our Gang/Little Rascals’’ films: ‘‘The Glorious Fourth’’ and ‘‘Olympic Games.’’

Mr. Hanlon also played an orphan in the 1929 drama ‘‘The Shakedown,’’ and got an on-screen kiss from Greta Garbo in the 1930 film ‘‘Romance.’’

He appeared in eight more talkies, including ‘‘Big Money’’ with Clark Gable, in the 1930s before calling it a career at age 16. He rarely made more than $5 a day.

Friend Bob Satterfield told the Las Vegas Sun he watched the “Our Gang” films and ‘‘The General’’ with Hanlon.

‘‘He told me it was like watching someone else, because it was a lifetime ago. . . . Jack led a full life,’’ Satterfield, a Southern California high school activities director and silent-film buff, told the Sun.

Mr. Hanlon became a US Army paratrooper and a mover for Allied Van Lines. He had lived in his own home until October when he moved to an assisted-living center.

‘‘Surprisingly, he was in good physical shape until two months ago,’’ Park said. ‘‘He liked being independent and watching old movies on TV. He basically died of old age.’’

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