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Billy Chapin Dies at 72: Child Actor Starred in ‘The Night of the Hunter’

The actor also appeared in “A Man Called Peter,” “Tension at Table Rock” and “No Business Like Show Business.”

Billy Chapin

United Artists/REX/Shutterstock

Billy Chapin, best known for his role in the 1955 film “The Night of the Hunter,” died Friday after battling a long illness. He was 72.

The news of his death was announced on Saturday afternoon by his sister Lauren Chapin on Facebook.

“It is with a saddened heart that I say goodbye to my precious brother Billy Chapin, wonderful star of movies, television and radio,” wrote Lauren. “He passed away last night after a long illness but now is in the arms of his Savior. Billy was a wonderful brother to both Michael and me…He will be greatly missed.”

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Born on Dec. 28, 1943, in Los Angeles, Chapin first appeared in uncredited roles in films like “Casanova Brown” and “The Cockeyed Miracle.” He then made his Broadway debut in “Three Wishes for Jamie.”

Chapin’s first major on-screen role was in the 1953 baseball film “The Kid from Left Field,” starring Dan Dailey and Anne Bancroft. His most memorable role is “Night of the Hunter” directed by Charles Laughton. He also appeared in “A Man Called Peter,” “Tension at Table Rock” and “No Business Like Show Business.” His last acting credit was in 1959 in the TV series “Fury.”

Chapin is survived by his siblings Lauren and Michael Chapin.

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