Billy Curtis

Billy Curtis
Born Luigi Curto
(1909-06-27)June 27, 1909
Springfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died November 9, 1988(1988-11-09) (aged 79)
Dayton, Nevada, U.S.
Other names Little Billy, The Singer Midgets
Years active 1938–1988
Height 4 ft 2 in (1.27 m)
Spouse(s) Joann Curtis (m.1948–1988; his death)
Children Tom Curtis
Judy Curtis

Billy Curtis, born Luigi Curto, (June 27, 1909 – November 9, 1988) was an American film and television actor with dwarfism who had a 50-year career in the entertainment industry.


The bulk of his work was in the western and science fiction genres. One of his early roles was uncredited as a Munchkin city father in The Wizard of Oz (1939). He had a featured role as part of the circus troupe in Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur (1942). He also appeared in Superman and the Mole Men (1951), a B-Picture intended as the pilot for the Adventures of Superman TV series.

Curtis's work in westerns included the Clint Eastwood feature, High Plains Drifter (1973) in which he featured as Mordecai, a friendly dwarf sympathetic to Eastwood, he also appeared in the Musical/Western The Terror of Tiny Town (1938). This film is, as far as is known, the world's only Western with an all-midget cast. Many of the actors in Tiny Town were part of a performing troupe called Singer's Midgets, who also played Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz.[1] In 1972 he appeared as Arizona in an episode of "Gunsmoke" titled "Arizona Midnight." He had a starring role in American International Pictures' Little Cigars (1973), about a gang of small people on a crime spree.


Curtis died November 9, 1988, in Dayton, Nevada of a heart attack.

Selected Filmography

List of acting performances in film
Year Title Role Note
1938 The Terror of Tiny Town The Hero
1939 The Wizard of Oz Braggart Munchkin
Three Texas Steers Hercules
1941 Emergency Landing Judge Gildersleeve
1942 Saboteur Midget
Don't Lie Melinda the Chimp
1946 Three Wise Fools Dugan
1951 Superman and the Mole Men Mole-Man
1955 Jungle Moon Men Damu
1957 The Incredible Shrinking Man Midget
1958 The Adventures of Superpup Superpup
1966 Out of Sight Flush Man
Batman Midget Season 1, Episode 17
Season 1, Episode 18
1968 Star Trek: The Original Series Small Copper-Skinned Ambassador Season 2, Episode 10
1972 Evil Roy Slade Toy Cowboy
1973 High Plains Drifter Mordecai
Little Cigars Slick Bender
1980 Loose Shoes Menchkin
1986 The Twilight Zone Creature Season 1, Episode 18


  1. O'Connor, John E and Peter C Rollins. "Hollywood's West: The American Frontier In Film, Television, And History." 2006. American Historical Review. Ed. Professional Development Review. web. 2 October 2015.

External links

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