William "Billy" Halop (February 11, 1920 – November 9, 1976) was an American actor.
Life and career
He came from a Jewish theatrical family: his mother was a dancer, and his sister Florence Halop was a child actress, who later worked on radio and in television. After several years as a radio juvenile, Billy was cast as "Tommy Gordon" in the Broadway production of Sidney Kingsley's Dead End in 1935, and traveled to Hollywood with the rest of the Dead End Kids when Samuel Goldwyn produced a film version of the play in 1937. Tommy was the leader of the gang which would make appearances in a series of films, first as the Dead End Kids, then as The Bowery Boys and the East Side Kids. Eventually, second banana Leo Gorcey as Bim became the new leader.
In an interview in his later years, he claimed that he was paid more than the other 'Dead End' actors, which had contributed to bad feelings in the group, and that he hated the name 'Dead End Kids'. He also played the vicious bully Flashman in the 1940 Tom Brown's School Days opposite Cedric Hardwicke and Freddie Bartholomew.
From 1934 to 1937, he starred in one of his first radio series, playing Dick Kent the son of Fred and Lucy Kent in Home Sweet Home. After serving in World War II, Halop found that he had grown too old to be effective in the roles that had brought him fame. At one point, he was reduced to starring in a cheap East Side Kids imitation at PRC studios, Gas House Kids (1946). Diminishing film work, marital difficulties, and a drinking problem eventually ate away at Halop's show business career.
Towards the end of his life, in the 1970's, Billy Halop played the character Bert Munson, cabbie driver and close friend to Archie Bunker on the television series "All in the Family", appearing in episodes from 1971-75.
Halop was married at least four times, according to interviews given near the end of his life. His first wife, from 1946 until their divorce on January 14, 1947, was Helen Tupper. On Valentine's Day, 1948, he married Barbara Hoon. Their marriage lasted ten years, until their divorce on March 5, 1958. His third marriage, on December 17, 1960 to Suzanne Roe, who had multiple sclerosis, lasted until their divorce in 1967.
The nursing skills he learned while taking care of his third wife led him to steady work as a registered nurse at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. His fourth marriage, to a nurse coworker, whose name has not been publicized, was quickly annulled after she allegedly attacked him. He later moved back in with his third wife, Suzanne, but they chose not to remarry.
Late in life, Halop supplemented his nursing income with film and television roles, including the recurring role of Bert Munson on All in the Family.
Halop died on November 9, 1976, at the age of 56, from a heart attack and is interred at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.