Robert Ball Watson (November 16, 1930 – June 26, 1999)[1] credited as Bobs Watson, was an American actor and Methodist minister.

Bobs Watson
Bobs Watson in Wyoming (1940).png
Bobs Watson in Wyoming (1940)
Robert Ball Watson

(1930-11-16)November 16, 1930
DiedJune 26, 1999(1999-06-26) (aged 68)
Years active1932–1993
Spouse(s)Jaye Watson (1979–1999) (his death)
RelativesCoy Watson Jr. (brother
Harry Watson (brother)
Delmar Watson (brother)

Early yearsEdit

Bobs Watson (upper left) featured on a theatrical release poster for Men of Boys Town (1941)

Robert Ball Watson[1] was a member of the Watson Family, famous in the early days of Hollywood as being a houseful of child actors. He was brother to Coy Watson Jr., Harry, Billy, Delmar, Garry, Vivian, Gloria, and Louise, all of whom acted in motion pictures.[2]

The family, known as "the first family of Hollywood", lived by the Echo Park area of Los Angeles and Bobs attended nearby Belmont High School.

They were honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce by placing the Watson family star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6674 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, California.[3]

Child actorEdit

Watson was best known for his role as "Pee Wee" in the 1938 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film Boys Town and its sequel Men of Boys Town (1941), both starring Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney.[citation needed] Tracy and Watson became good friends during the making of the first film, and Watson was reportedly Tracy's last visitor before his death in 1967.[citation needed] In 1939, Watson delivered a fine, tear-jerking performance as Pud, Lionel Barrymore's grandson, in the MGM film, On Borrowed Time. Watson later made guest appearances in many television programs, including The Twilight Zone, Lou Grant, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, The Fugitive and Bonanza. In 1963 Watson appeared as Matt Lewis on The Virginian in the episode titled "A Distant Fury."[citation needed]


In addition to working in the motion pictures business, Watson went to Claremont School of Theology to become a Methodist minister, inspired from the movie Boys Town. He retired after 30 years of serving in Burbank and La Cañada, California.


Watson died of prostate cancer in 1999 at Laguna Beach, California.


Year Title Role Notes
1932 Life Begins Edgar, Harry's Son Film debut, Uncredited
1935 Life Begins at 40 Meriwether Son Uncredited
Two-Fisted Eddie - Jimmy's Boxing Partner Uncredited
1936 Show Boat Willie Thomas Uncredited
Mary of Scotland Fisherman's Son Uncredited
Libeled Lady Waif Uncredited
1937 The Great O'Malley Boy Uncredited
Maytime Maypole Singer Uncredited
It Happened in Hollywood Boy Uncredited
1938 In Old Chicago Bob O'Leary as a Boy
Go Chase Yourself Junior Uncredited
Boys Town Pee Wee
Young Dr. Kildare Bob O'Leary as a Boy
Kentucky Peter Goodwin - 1861
1939 Dodge City Harry Cole
The Story of Alexander Graham Bell George Sanders
Calling Dr. Kildare Tommy Benson Uncredited
On Borrowed Time Pud
Blackmail Hank
1940 Wyoming Jimmy Kincaid
Dreaming Out Loud Jimmy
Dr. Kildare's Crisis Tommy, The Crippled Child
1941 Men of Boys Town Pee Wee
Scattergood Pulls the Strings Jimmy Jordan
Hit the Road Pesky
1943 Hi, Buddy Tim Martin
1955 Public Defender Rodger Bissel Episode: Your Witness
1956 Crossroads Episode: The White Carnation
The Bold and the Brave Bob
The 20th Century-Fox Hour Farnum Episode: Smoke Jumpers
1958 Flight 3 episodes
1959 Steve Canyon A / 1c Gotch Episode: The Search
Hennesey Waiter Episode: Pork Chops and Apple Sauce
1959-1961 The Lawless Years Butcher Boy/Mousie/Popcorn Peddler 3 episodes
1960-1961 The Jim Backus Show Sidney 37 episodes
1961 Pete and Gladys Phone Man Episode: Crossed Wires
1962 Saintly Sinners Attendant Uncredited
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Clerk in Newspaper Classified Ad Department
Bonanza Junior
1963 The Lucky Show Calvin Episode: Lucy Becomes a Reporter
The Twilight Zone Man at Dining Room Table Episode: No Time Like the Past
The New Phil Silvers Show Ollie Episode: Birthday Boy
The Virginian Hotel Clerk/Matt Lewis/Clerk 3 episodes
Take Her, She's Mine Western Union Messenger Uncredited
The Fugitive Milt Plummer Episode: Nightmare at Northoak
Grindl Harry Dawson Episode: Twas the Week Before Christmas
1964-1967 The Beverly Hillbillies Fred Penrod/Harry Hogan 4 episodes
1965 The Joey Bishop Show Bernie Stern Episode: Never Put It in Writing
1966 The F.B.I. Walsh 2 episodes
1967 Green Acres Bell Hop Episode: His Honor
First to Fight Sgt. Maypole
The Mothers-In-Law Police Officer Bailey Episode: The Not-Cold-Enough War
Please Don't Eat the Daisies Howard Episode: The Day the Play Got Away
1970 Mrs. Stone's Thing Bartender
1977 Grand Theft Auto Minister Final film
1978-1981 Lou Grant Lind/News Editor/Foreign Editor/Pete Trumbull 4 episodes
1993 The Case of the Wicked Wives Judge Ezra Frank Last appearance


  1. ^ a b Vallance, Tom (July 6, 1999). "Obituary: Bobs Watson". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  2. ^ Los Angeles Times
  3. ^ Pool, Bob. "Star Shines Brightly for Hollywood's First Family; Movies: The Watson clan of former child actors finally receives recognition for its pioneering contribution to films." the Los Angeles Times. April 23, 1999. Metro Part B Metro Desk Page 1.


  • Goldrup, Tom and Jim (2002). Growing Up on the Set: Interviews with 39 Former Child Actors of Film and Television. McFarland & Co. pp. 303–313. ISBN 1476613702.
  • Holmstrom, John (1996). The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995. Norwich: Michael Russell, pp. 171–172.
  • Best, Marc (1971). Those Endearing Young Charms: Child Performers of the Screen. South Brunswick and New York: Barnes & Co., pp. 256–259.

External linksEdit