Billy Chapin (1943 - 2016)

Billy Chapin, a child actor who was popular in the 1950s, died Dec. 2, 2016, according to multiple news sources. Chapin was 72.

His sister, Lauren Chapin, announced the news Saturday afternoon in a Facebook post, citing a long illness as the cause of death.

"It is with a saddened heart that I say goodbye to my precious brother Billy Chapin," her message reads. "He passed away last night after a long illness but now is in the arms of his Savior. ... He will be greatly missed."

Lauren Chapin was also a popular child actor who starred on the family sitcom “Father Knows Best.”

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Billy Chapin first appeared in movies as an infant and made his stage debut in the Broadway musical “Three Wishes for Jamie.” His first big movie role came in the 1953 movie “The Kid From Left Field.” Chapin played the “diaper manager,” Christie Cooper, in the family movie that also starred Lloyd Bridges and Anne Bancroft.

He is probably remembered best for his role as John Harper in the 1955 classic film “The Night of the Hunter.” The movie was directed by Charles Laughton and starred Robert Mitchum. Although the film was a critical failure and a commercial flop at the time of its release, it is considered a classic today.

Chapin’s last role was in 1959 on the television series “Fury.” He had previously appeared on episodes of “Dragnet” and “Leave It to Beaver.”

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