Billy was born William Job Bertanzetti in Pennsylvania in 1924. His parentswere average sized. For a little guy, he sure overcame a lot of obstacles. Makesme think how lucky and lazy a lot of us really are. At his tallest, Billy was 3foot 9, and a stone cold fox.
Billyï¿½s dad got a job as a machinist for Columbia pictures, and the familymoved out to the West Coast. Billy had a terrific personality, and was agenuinely nice guy. It wasnï¿½t long before his unusual looks landed him partsin a few films. He found steady work after that, but decided to chuck it all in,and go to school to become a sports journalist. After graduating, he returned tothe business, and with television being the big thing, he found even more work.
While constantly finding work, Billy also found time to start up severalgroups to bring the needs of “little people” public. His condition wascalled Cartilage Hair Syndrome Hypoplasia. Billy founded the Little Peopleof America and the Billy Barty Foundation, which providedscholarships for other little people.
In addition to having a kids show called Billy Bartyï¿½s Big Show,Billy appeared in a slew of Sid and Marty Krofft shows, Get Smart, TheWaltons, Peter Gunn, Barney Miller, The Golden Girls, Frasier, and acouple of Elvis flicks. In fact, if you want to know more, check out his listingon the IMDB.
Billy lived in Studio City, in this nice house.
In May of 2000 ï¿½ Billy was injured when he fell off his scooter andfractured his eye socket. He had also had hip replacement surgery. “I feelgood, I just look horrible.”
I met Billy in 1995 ï¿½ and I can say he was a real sweet man. We talked forquite a while about his vaudeville career, and the Krofft shows. Then,occasionally I ran in to him afterwards, and he always remembered me, and wasalways super nice.
Billy died in the Glendale Memorial Hospital ofheart failure Saturday December 23, 2000 at 9:22am. He was married to Shirley,and had a daughter named Lori and a son named Braden. Merry Christmas.
There was a memorial service on Wednesday the 27th at the Churchof Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints in North Hollywood.
Billy was cremated and is buried in Forest Lawn, Glendale.
Thank you to Roger Sinclair for the grave photo and Mike Steen for Billyï¿½sdeath certificate. As usual, you guys are terrific!