Rusty Hamer portrayed Rusty Williams on Make Room For Daddy from 1953-1964 and 371 episodes of the program were aired.
He was born in Tenafly, New Jersey on February 15, 1947.
Hamer was famous for his quips on Make Room For Daddy and he was very adept at it for his early age. He was on the show from the age of six to the age of seventeen which robbed him of a normal childhood.
Child Actors Not Rich Then
Child actors back then were not paid the huge salaries they are paid today and it is doubtful that he received any residuals from the show.
He moved to Deridder,Louisiana because that is where his brother John was living. He settled on some land near Bundick Lake and took a job as a roustabout with an offshore oil company in 1981 but he resigned from the position a year later.
Thomas Offered To Pay Tuition For Hamer
Danny Thomas had offered to pay the way for Hamer to go to college but he refused the offer for some reason. If he had accepted that offer it may have changed his life and prevented his life from spiraling downward as he moved from job to job.
He worked for a time as a short order clerk in his brother’s cafe the Richlighter on Highway 394 southeast of Deridder.
It was downhill for Hamer from 1982 to 1989 as he became delusional and he ended his life on January 18, 1990 with a shot to his head with a .357 pistol.
Hamer’s Death Prompted Start Of Child Star Organization
His tragic death prompted another child star Paul Petersen of the Donna Reed Show to start an organization to help child stars adapt to life after their fame had ended.
The last 25 years of his life were very troubled after spending eleven years of his life before a camera. He was 42 at the time of his death.
Parents Need To Consider Consequences
Stories like this one should make parents think twice before taking their children to an audition for television and movie roles. They need to know the consequences they may be subjecting their child star to in later life.
Momentary fame can sometimes end in tragedy like it did for Rusty Hamer.