6. Billy Barty
Photo courtesy of Braden Barty
Billy Barty is perhaps most recognizable of all little people.
Barty, who stood 3 feet 9 inches tall, began acting in 1927 at age 3. During the course of his career, he appeared in more than 200 films and starred in vaudville, radio, and television shows. He worked with such legends as Mickey Rooney and Elvis Presley.
Billy Barty (right) in the 1988 movie Willow
Barty was also a dedicated activist to promote the rights of others with dwarfism. In 1957, he gathered with a group of 20 other people “of short stature” in Reno, Nevada, and spent the week sharing ideas and hopes. During this historic meeting, Little People of America was founded. Barty established the organization in hopes of providing support and information for people of short stature and their families, as well as to dispel misunderstandings about little people. Over 50 years after its establishment, Little People of America continues to flourish with more than 6,000 members, 13 districts, and 70 chapters.
Barty received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1981.